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Mark Steyn: Kerry's got a strategy: it's summit for everyone
The Sunday Telegraph (U.K.) ^ | 10/03/04 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 10/02/2004 1:46:20 PM PDT by Pokey78

Those of us who've been sweet on George W Bush for a long time have got used to these moments. In Thursday night's televised debate with John Kerry, he wasn't wrong on the substance, he just didn't have enough of it.

He was in the same state he was in in early 2003, just before launching the Iraq war, when he was tired and punchy and stumbling round the country not making a case against Saddam but just droning the same phrases over and over: "He's a dictator." Smirk. "He gassed his own people." Smirk.

On Thursday, his own people seemed to have gassed him. Bush droned, repeatedly, that Kerry was sending "mixed messages", but his own message could have done with being a little less robotically unmixed. He said: "It's tough. It's hard work. It's incredibly hard - and it's hard work. It is hard work," again and again, round in circles.

And it is, no doubt. It's tough and it's hard work and it's incredibly hard doing the title number of Singin' in the Rain, but Gene Kelly made it seem blithe and effortless and graceful.

And the President of the United States owes his people a performance - in wartime especially. Churchill didn't just communicate the weight of the burden that he carried but also that he had the strength to bear it.

But who needs Churchill? It's not just that Tony Blair or John Howard of Australia could have done the job much more convincingly. Almost any of us armchair warriors could have put down John Kerry's feeble generalisations better than Bush did.

And yes, it's true, if you hadn't been following the election campaign closely till Thursday night, Senator Kerry wasn't as pompous or as boring or even as orange as some of us had led you to believe (his sudden tan had been much remarked on in the days beforehand) - though his lipstick was a slightly distracting shade and he would have been better advised to ease up on what was either his simultaneous signing for the deaf or an amusing impression of the stewardess pointing out the track lighting to the emergency doors. Perhaps the hand movements were just to show off the manicure he'd had during the day, while Bush was out putting his arms round Florida's hurricane victims.

But none of that matters. If John Kerry is so polished and eloquent and forceful and mellifluous, how come nobody has a clue what his policy on Iraq is? As he made clear on Thursday, Saddam was a growing threat so he had to be disarmed so Kerry voted for war in order to authorise Bush to go to the UN but Bush failed to pass "the global test" so we shouldn't have disarmed Saddam because he wasn't a threat so the war was a mistake so Kerry will bring the troops home by persuading France and Germany to send their troops instead because he's so much better at building alliances so he'll have no trouble talking France and Germany into sending their boys to be the last men to die for Bush's mistake.

Have I got that right?

Oh, and he'll call a summit. "I have a plan to have a summit. I'm going to hold that summit. We can be successful in Iraq with a summit. The kind of statesman-like summits that pull people together." Summit old, summit new, summit borrowed, summit blue, he's got summit for everyone. Summit-chanted evening, you may see a stranger, you may see a stranger across a crowded room. But, in John Kerry's world, there are no strangers, just EU Deputy Defence Ministers who haven't yet contributed 10,000 troops because they haven't been invited to a summit. And once John Kerry holds that summit all our troubles are over.

Having met him, I'm sceptical of Kerry's extraordinarily high valuation of his personal charm. But the notion that he'll be able to bring the French on board would seem to be at odds with Jean-Pierre Rafarin, the French prime minister's aside to a representative of Le Figaro the other day that "the Iraqi insurgents are our best allies". In a summit showdown between Chirac and Rafarin on the one hand and Kerry on the other, I bet on the Gallic weasels.

In his pre-baked soundbite of the night, Kerry said: "Well, you know, when I talked about the $87 billion, I made a mistake in how I talk about the war. But the President made a mistake in invading Iraq. Which is worse?"

Interesting question. The play-by-play pundits thought it brilliant, but I beg to differ. It would have been a better line if he'd said: "But the President's made a mistake in how he's fighting this war. Which is worse?" There may be a majority that thinks post-Saddam Iraq has been screwed up; there's not a clear, exploitable majority that thinks toppling Saddam was a disaster, and Kerry can't build one in the next month.

But it would still have been a lousy line for this reason: "Talking about" stuff is all Kerry's got. He has no executive experience, he has never run a state, never founded a company, built a business, made payroll. Post-Vietnam, all he's done is talk and vote. For 20 years in the US Senate: talk, vote, talk, vote. So, if his talking and voting are wrong, what else is there?

Speaking as a third-rate hack, I'd say that as a general rule articulacy is greatly over-rated. But, if articulacy is the measure, how come Kerry can't articulate an Iraq policy any of us can understand? By contrast, for an inarticulate man, Bush seems to communicate pretty clearly.

He communicates the reality of the September 12th world, a world where you can't afford to err on the side of multilateral consensus and Hague-approved legalisms and transatlantic chit-chatting and tentativeness and faintheartedness about the projection of American power in America's interest. Mr Kerry thinks he can rebuild the polite fictions of September 10.

A majority of the American people - albeit not as big a majority as it ought to be - gets this. John Kerry still does not. Which means he lost the debate. He got a technical win on points from the pundits, but this election won't be won on points. It's primal. The pundits keep missing this.

They thought Kerry was good in the debate, just as he was good in his convention speech, because on both occasions he was tactically artful. But that's not going to cut it. We're post-Clinton: you can't triangulate your way to victory.


TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: firstdebate; kerry; kerryforeignpolicy; marksteyn; steyn
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1 posted on 10/02/2004 1:46:20 PM PDT by Pokey78
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To: Howlin; riley1992; Miss Marple; deport; Dane; sinkspur; steve; kattracks; JohnHuang2; ...

2 posted on 10/02/2004 1:50:27 PM PDT by Pokey78
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To: Pokey78

This looks like the same article that is in the Chicago Sun-Times.


3 posted on 10/02/2004 1:52:47 PM PDT by quidnunc (Omnis Gaul delenda est)
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To: Pokey78

Thanks, Pokey! This is better than the Sun-Times article.


4 posted on 10/02/2004 1:55:47 PM PDT by UnklGene
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To: Pokey78

Thanks, Pokey! This is better than the Sun-Times article.


5 posted on 10/02/2004 1:55:49 PM PDT by UnklGene
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To: drpix

Picture needed!


6 posted on 10/02/2004 1:56:06 PM PDT by MEG33 (John Kerry has been AWOL on issues of national security for two decades)
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To: Pokey78

One of the clearest expositions I've read of the incoherence of Kerry's Iraq policy. I wish I had confidence that the undecided electorate would get and understand this simple message from Steyn.


7 posted on 10/02/2004 1:57:43 PM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: Pokey78

"They thought Kerry was good in the debate, just as he was good in his convention speech, because on both occasions he was tactically artful. But that's not going to cut it. We're post-Clinton: you can't triangulate your way to victory."


Thank you, Mark Steyn.


8 posted on 10/02/2004 1:58:11 PM PDT by MEG33 (John Kerry has been AWOL on issues of national security for two decades)
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To: Pokey78

Let us not forget that while F'n was getting his nails manicured the President was out visiting with the citizens of Floriduh who had been clobbered by multiple hurricaines. While F'n has been spending his time avoiding the duties of a U.S. Senator the Commander in Chief is NEVER off the clock!


9 posted on 10/02/2004 2:00:50 PM PDT by Thom Pain (Quisling - from Vidkun Quisling (1887-1945), a synonym for "traitor")
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To: Pokey78
Having met him, I'm sceptical of Kerry's extraordinarily high valuation of his personal charm. But the notion that he'll be able to bring the French on board would seem to be at odds with Jean-Pierre Rafarin, the French prime minister's aside to a representative of Le Figaro the other day that "the Iraqi insurgents are our best allies". In a summit showdown between Chirac and Rafarin on the one hand and Kerry on the other, I bet on the Gallic weasels.

Speaking as a third-rate hack, I'd say that as a general rule articulacy is greatly over-rated. But, if articulacy is the measure, how come Kerry can't articulate an Iraq policy any of us can understand? By contrast, for an inarticulate man, Bush seems to communicate pretty clearly.

Steyn spares no one in this article but clearly defines the truth.

10 posted on 10/02/2004 2:02:37 PM PDT by mylife (The roar of the masses could be farts)
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To: Pokey78
JOHN FRENCH KERRY'S SECRET PLAN: IS IT A FRAUD OR A DELUSION?</FONT


11 posted on 10/02/2004 2:03:21 PM PDT by drpix
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To: quidnunc
This looks like the same article that is in the Chicago Sun-Times.

No, it's far longer than the one you posted.

12 posted on 10/02/2004 2:05:00 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Pokey78

I agree that this election is primal. I just think a lot of real undecideds will go into the voting booth and vote for Bush. The terror threat will hit them like a sudden sweat just as the go to vote, and they'll be afraid to vote for Kerry. They really don't know Kerry, but they do know Bush has kept us free from attack for 3 years.


13 posted on 10/02/2004 2:05:47 PM PDT by tell me
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To: Dog Gone

HA!


14 posted on 10/02/2004 2:06:16 PM PDT by Pokey78
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To: drpix

Great picture of the summit!


15 posted on 10/02/2004 2:07:27 PM PDT by MEG33 (John Kerry has been AWOL on issues of national security for two decades)
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To: KB4W

ping


16 posted on 10/02/2004 2:14:57 PM PDT by arbee4bush (Then, in a clattering crescendo of keystrokes, the issue exploded in cyberspace.)
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To: Pokey78
Those of us who've been sweet on George W Bush for a long time have got used to these moments.

How true, but don't tell that to the Panic Brigade.

17 posted on 10/02/2004 2:18:47 PM PDT by Madame Dufarge
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bump


18 posted on 10/02/2004 2:21:30 PM PDT by GretchenM (A country is a terrible thing to waste. Vote Republican.)
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To: Dog Gone
Dog Gone wrote: (This looks like the same article that is in the Chicago Sun-Times.) No, it's far longer than the one you posted.

The Sun-Times article is 1074 words, the one in The Telegraph is 1094 — only a 20-word difference.

19 posted on 10/02/2004 2:21:34 PM PDT by quidnunc (Omnis Gaul delenda est)
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To: Pokey78

BTTT


20 posted on 10/02/2004 2:23:12 PM PDT by spodefly (A bunny-slippered operative in the Vast Right-Wing Pajama Party.)
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To: Thom Pain

SO TRUE! And we love him for it . . . HOWEVER . . . now Twinkie is ready to give him a makeover that will put Pepe Pompadour in the shade . . .

First, the next debates or town meeting . . . he will not be scheduled anything so strenuous that day. This time, HE will have the day at the spa. If he insists, he can still cut his nails with his pocketknife, but nothing else is negotiable . . . there WILL be a massage by a reputable Republican massage therapist . . there WILL be a bit more poufing and shaping his hair . . . (help me here, Laura!) . . then, there's a little whirlpool bath and an afternoon nap . . of course, the Crest Whitestrips will have been experimented with cautiously so as not to look like Pepe's Chiclet teeth . . .

Then, he, too, will be wearing the Good Feet Store's custom made arch supports which, as a bonus, add an inch to the height without using elevator shoes; thicker soles on the shoes gladly given by some Republican shoe magnate . . . of course, NO MAN TAN, just a little bit of real sun for a real man . . . but carefully, we don't want to sunburn . . .
. . Never fear, HE gets to choose the suit and tie! . . and, oh yeah, STAND UP STRAIGHT (Barbara help me here!) . . then he can just stand there and blubber, but he will look so good no one will care!!


21 posted on 10/02/2004 2:23:13 PM PDT by Twinkie
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To: quidnunc; Pokey78

stop it you guys!

The more folks that read Steyn the better.

Steyn often rewrites off the theme of his work for different papers.

;^)


22 posted on 10/02/2004 2:27:41 PM PDT by mylife (The roar of the masses could be farts)
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To: Pokey78; annyokie

Okay, Now since Mark has stated it, it was a fact. Bush WAS off. The FReepers screamed how wonderful he was, but it is not true. His message was great! However, he did not do well..

Was it because Kerry was tipped off ahead of time about the questions and Bush knew it, or was it because he was suppose to look like a dolt to throw them off for the next debate??


23 posted on 10/02/2004 2:28:27 PM PDT by netmilsmom (Does a clean house indicate that there is a broken computer in it?)
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To: netmilsmom
was it because he was suppose to look like a dolt to throw them off for the next debate??

I had considered that as well.

24 posted on 10/02/2004 2:32:14 PM PDT by mylife (The roar of the masses could be farts)
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To: quidnunc

And one was needlessly excerpted and one was not.


25 posted on 10/02/2004 2:34:52 PM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: netmilsmom

I have to agree that Dubya was off, and got flamed for saying so. I am unclear as to whether Kerry was tipped off. I am looking forward to the next two debates when W gets his game back (I hope!)


26 posted on 10/02/2004 2:37:54 PM PDT by annyokie (Now with 20% More Infidel!)
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To: Pokey78
"...As he made clear on Thursday, Saddam was a growing threat so he had to be disarmed so Kerry voted for war in order to authorise Bush to go to the UN but Bush failed to pass "the global test" so we shouldn't have disarmed Saddam because he wasn't a threat so the war was a mistake so Kerry will bring the troops home by persuading France and Germany to send their troops instead because he's so much better at building alliances so he'll have no trouble talking France and Germany into sending their boys to be the last men to die for Bush's mistake.

Have I got that right?..."

My God, Steyn nails it !
Mark is such a wordsmith.

We're post-Clinton: you can't triangulate your way to victory.

<
27 posted on 10/02/2004 2:38:59 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: mylife
Speaking as a third-rate hack, I'd say that as a general rule articulacy is greatly over-rated. But, if articulacy is the measure, how come Kerry can't articulate an Iraq policy any of us can understand? By contrast, for an inarticulate man, Bush seems to communicate pretty clearly.
Steyn is too modest; he's a second-rate hack at the very least.

Kerry demonstrated that he is glib, but he doesn't have a program - for the very good reason that GWB would latch onto and implement any truly promising program the moment it was articulated.

What remains is mere criticism for the sake of criticism. Kerry is everywhere, and nowhere. As an inspection of a transcript of the "debate" would inevitably confirm.

But it is not true that we don't know what Kerry would do about Iraq. Kerry would alienate all the existing allies and not attract any new and effective ones. He would do a Mogadishu, and bug out, blaming Bush for having gotten us in in the first place. Bush may muddle for a long time in Iraq, but the casualty rate would allow is to go on indefinitely. Eventually the Iraqis will develop a government which its people respect.


28 posted on 10/02/2004 2:40:55 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which liberalism coheres is that NOTHING actually matters but PR.)
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To: Pokey78
.
To understand John Kerry is to understand his dad. Richard Kerry wrote in his book, The Star-Spangled Mirror, published in 1990:
"Americans are inclined to see the world and foreign affairs in black and white. They celebrate their own form of government and denigrate all others, making them guilty of what he calls 'ethnocentric accommodation' -- everyone ought to be like us. As a result, America has committed the 'fatal error' of 'propagating democracy' and fallen prey to 'the siren's song of promoting human rights,' falsely assuming that our values and institutions are a good fit in the Third World. And, just as Americans exaggerate their own goodness, they exaggerate their enemies' badness. The Soviet Union wasn't nearly as imperialistic as American politicians warned. Seeing the Soviet Union as the aggressor in every instance, and the U.S. as only reacting defensively, relieves an American observer from the need to see any parallel between our use of military power in distant parts of the world, and the Soviet use of military power outside the Soviet Union. . . . Third world Marxist movements were autonomous national movements -- outside Moscow's orbit."

More quotes and facts on the John F. Kerry Timeline.

They connected the dots in 1998 but Senator Kerry and MSM can't seem to connect the dots in 2004.

Here is an easy to read chart of what the media was saying pre-911 (and after): Connect the Dots...Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden
.

29 posted on 10/02/2004 2:41:23 PM PDT by christie (John F. Kerry Timeline - http://www.archive-news.net/Kerry/JK_timeline.html)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion

yes Steyn is Modest.

Im GWB is as well.


30 posted on 10/02/2004 2:43:15 PM PDT by mylife (The roar of the masses could be farts)
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To: Pokey78

Maybe cause Bush was touring Fla and being a president for the last year and Kerry spends his time getting Botox and Tans


31 posted on 10/02/2004 3:33:20 PM PDT by uncbob
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To: Twinkie

there WILL be a massage by a reputable Republican massage therapist . SOUNDS GOOD TO ME!


32 posted on 10/02/2004 3:36:57 PM PDT by Jank
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To: Pokey78
Newsweek and the partisan media think they can help Ketchup Boy triangulate his way to victory. It ain't over yet and Mark Steyn shouldn't underestimate the lengths to which Danron and Co. will go to put John Kerry in the White House come January.
33 posted on 10/02/2004 3:51:16 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Pokey78
Summit old, summit new, summit borrowed, summit blue, he's got summit for everyone. Summit-chanted evening, you may see a stranger, you may see a stranger across a crowded room.

Ok, I fold. Next to Steyn I will never be more than a 3rd rate hack writer.

34 posted on 10/02/2004 3:58:44 PM PDT by AndyJackson
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To: scholar; Bullish; linear; yoda swings

Ping


35 posted on 10/02/2004 4:03:31 PM PDT by knighthawk (We will always remember We will always be proud We will always be prepared so we may always be free)
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To: annyokie

I tried posting to agree with you that night, but my computer was so slow that I could only read.
He was off, something was up. If anything, I think Karen Hughes told him NOT to rebutt anything that Kerry stated and he was frustrated by it. Come on, the least of us could have come back on some of those!


36 posted on 10/02/2004 4:08:40 PM PDT by netmilsmom (Does a clean house indicate that there is a broken computer in it?)
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To: Pokey78
We're post-Clinton: you can't triangulate your way to victory.

Hope he's right...

37 posted on 10/02/2004 4:28:04 PM PDT by irv
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To: Pokey78
Summit old, summit new, summit borrowed, summit blue, he's got summit for everyone.

Steyn is so droll and he just sets me off laughing. Honestly, this man should be writing current history plays. He would rival Shakespeare's productivity and wit.

38 posted on 10/02/2004 4:51:11 PM PDT by Ruth A.
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To: quidnunc

"...Dog Gone wrote: (This looks like the same article that is in the Chicago Sun-Times.) No, it's far longer than the one you posted.
The Sun-Times article is 1074 words, the one in The Telegraph is 1094 — only a 20-word difference..."

Awwwwww....

Feeling Dissed, Oh Retentive One?

So Sorry.


39 posted on 10/02/2004 4:59:18 PM PDT by moonhawk (NYT headline, 11/03/04: KERRY WINS SILVER!)
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To: Pokey78

Once again in your debt, Pokey....

As he made clear on Thursday, Saddam was a growing threat so he had to be disarmed so Kerry voted for war in order to authorise Bush to go to the UN but Bush failed to pass "the global test" so we shouldn't have disarmed Saddam because he wasn't a threat so the war was a mistake so Kerry will bring the troops home by persuading France and Germany to send their troops instead because he's so much better at building alliances so he'll have no trouble talking France and Germany into sending their boys to be the last men to die for Bush's mistake.


40 posted on 10/02/2004 5:01:10 PM PDT by moonhawk (NYT headline, 11/03/04: KERRY WINS SILVER!)
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To: netmilsmom

FR was waaaaaaaaaaaaaay slow this morning, too. At least I got all my weeding done. ; )

I am looking forward to him kicking butt in the next two. Oh! and Cheney waxing the floor with Edwards on Tuesday.


41 posted on 10/02/2004 5:24:10 PM PDT by annyokie (Now with 20% More Infidel!)
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To: annyokie
We got all the winter clothes that don't fit to Salvation Army, bought new church dresses and packed the summer clothes.
Daddy went to a Simply Music seminar to see if we will sign the girls up for it.
We had Chinese for dinner and I settled into the "Free Dominion" FReeper guestroom and met Backhoe there! I guess FR is going down again tonight. It's pretty cool being with the Conservative Canadians, eh!
42 posted on 10/02/2004 5:37:29 PM PDT by netmilsmom (Does a clean house indicate that there is a broken computer in it?)
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To: Pokey78
Kerry does have a clear position on Iraq. It's just that the rest of us are so clouded by our pro-American stance that we refuse to engage in the mental gymnastics necessary to comprehend it. Kerry, as nearly as I can tell, is for the war but against the troops. He believes that we're fighting on the wrong side. Bush is too stupid to plan for war, so our troops must be at fault for entering the war on the wrong side. We should ally ourselves with the terrorists. Remember the courageous patriotism of Benedict Arnold at West Point, New York?
43 posted on 10/02/2004 5:45:55 PM PDT by dufekin (President Kerry would have our enemies partying like it's 1969, when Kerry first committed treason.)
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To: Pokey78
President Bush was tired and annoyed, but after 90 minutes of his answering slanted questions, the best the Dems could take away were screen caps of his facial expressions. He did not give them one sound bite that they could turn against him.

At least not one that I have heard broadcast.

While Kerry gave up some gems - "global test" - the winner!
44 posted on 10/02/2004 6:02:53 PM PDT by maica (Kerry: I'm tan from the sun. Bush: I'm George from the earth.)
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To: Dog Gone
LOL!
45 posted on 10/02/2004 6:09:22 PM PDT by Roscoe Karns
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To: Pokey78

BTTT


46 posted on 10/02/2004 7:03:49 PM PDT by hattend (I'm on the Mark Steyn Ping List! I'm somebody!)
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To: Pokey78
LOL

Kerry... Saddam was a growing threat so he had to be disarmed so Kerry voted for war in order to authorise Bush to go to the UN but Bush failed to pass "the global test" so we shouldn't have disarmed Saddam because he wasn't a threat so the war was a mistake so Kerry will bring the troops home by persuading France and Germany to send their troops instead because he's so much better at building alliances so he'll have no trouble talking France and Germany into sending their boys to be the last men to die for Bush's mistake.

Have I got that right?

47 posted on 10/02/2004 7:52:59 PM PDT by GOPJ (The effect of‘MSM bias’ is the Democratic party and the press sustain each other’s delusions. Steyn)
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To: Pokey78
Mark Steyn is a very good writer. He is also a very good word-smith. I wonder how much of a thinker he really is.

I have a question for him...

How will the question of sovereignty over the Temple Mount, Jerusalem and the Holy Land finally be decided ?

He is a good Jewish boy, so I wonder if he knows about the 12th Article of Faith ?

(Mark, if you read this, send me a reply.)
48 posted on 10/02/2004 7:59:05 PM PDT by Bandaneira (The Third Temple/House for All Nations/World Peace Centre...Coming Soon...)
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To: quidnunc
The Sun-Times article is 1074 words, the one in The Telegraph is 1094 &#8212; only a 20-word difference.

True. But the big difference is that this one is not unnecessarily excerpted.

49 posted on 10/02/2004 8:33:39 PM PDT by upchuck (Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.)
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To: quidnunc

Why don't you just throw yourself on the floor and have a good old temper tantrum? You'll feel better, and maybe mommy will get you some cookies and milk.


50 posted on 10/03/2004 7:47:35 AM PDT by watchin (Democratic Party - the political wing of the IRS)
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