Skip to comments.Kerry's got a summit: It's summit for everyone
Posted on 10/02/2004 7:50:47 PM PDT by Caged in Canuckistan
Kerry's got a strategy: it's summit for everyone By Mark Steyn (Filed: 03/10/2004)
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.
Darn, the title is supposed to be: "Kerry's got a strategy: It's summit for everyone"
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".
Steyn for secretary of state!
"Kerry's got a strategy: It's summit for everyone"
TeRAYsa also has a strategy: It's SHOVE IT for everyone.
Kerry and the liberals believe they can negotiate with the Islamofascists, and make them stop murdering.
When negotiating with terrorists, the first concession is yours:
That's when you acknowledge that they have a valid point.
The rest of the negotiations are merely the terms of your surrender.
Mark, I dislike having to say this, but sometimes, you are a "third-rate hack."
Where you wrote, "with John Kerry, he wasn't wrong on the substance, he just didn't have enough of it."
Mark, read the Debate Record again, if you bothered reading it at all. Kerry had no substance. He uttered statements that are known in common knowledge as lies. He was full of logical fallacies.
Read what our President said very specifically about summits. Summits are happening without Kerry's interference.
Kerry lost the debate, big time. The only positive response he received was the applause of all the, uh, dilations excited by emotions in reaction to the comparison between his voice and our President's voice. But many of our best and strongest men have voices that would not be used for drama heroes.
But when it matters the most, our USA is not a nation of hysteria. Logical reviews of the Debate are on the way. Sorting logic from effeminate manipulation requires more time and "work," and President Bush will win the Election by a landslide.
Read the Record, Mark, and write another one.
Love how he worded that!
I demand an expanded tagline, so that I can put this quote in it.
And I also demand that Steyn and Coulter have 12-15 children, in order to ensure that conservatives have WMDDs (Weapons of Mass Democratic Destruction) in future elections.
Mark and Hugh Hewitt should have an interesting debate Monday. Steyn thinks Bush flopped. Hewitt thinks Bush creamed Kerry on substance, time and time again.
Caged in Canuckistan:
If you know Mark or anyone else up there who writes, the link behind the following leads to a copy of the Debate Record (copy from the White House--quotations, eh) that should load quickly. ...hope that helps.
I have to admit, I was kind of down on Bush's performance (well, I actually only saw the last 15-20 minutes of the debate).
Then I listened to Hugh's show Friday, and I'm cured. I had to hear Bush's "body blows" a few times and not be distracted by body language, but I came away realizing that Kerry hosed himself. Bush walked away with the win.
The Umbrellas Of Summits <set to the tune of Michel Legrand's celebrated score: "We'll have the umbrellas of summits. Let's call summits for every occasion. There's a summit for every one. In winter, fall, spring, and summer, there are summits galore. We'll have summits covered by umbrellas. And we'll have umbrellas of summits. There will never be an end to summits. For I know all the problems of this world can be resolved by summits. Summits - we need them all and I've got a summit for any one who needs one. We'll have the umbrellas of summits."
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