Mark Barrett Gets it Right on John Kerry!
For the past four years now, the best voice on Iraq has been John Kerry. Starting with his floor statement on the Iraq War Resolution vote, through his opposition to the launch of the war before Bush pulled the trigger, right up to today, nobody has been more consistently accurate and engaged about what to do about Iraq than John Kerry.
But we can’t say that. We can’t notice that one person, again and again, gets it right.
Well, to begin with, he voted for the IWR. In the shorthand used by the brain-dead people who cover politics, that’s equivalent to voting for the war even though there was no actual vote to start the war. George Bush pulled the trigger on his own. But that’s too complicated for the pundits, so they simply say that John Kerry voted for the war, and of course anybody who voted for this war isn’t somebody we should listen to.
There’s also the fact that he lost to George Bush in 2004. Never mind the context, the Republican prostitution of 9/11, the cynical $300 tax cuts handed out to every voter, the slanderous attacks on Senator Kerry’s war record, and most importantly the wholesale lies told by the Bush administration about their own failing war policy. John Kerry lost the election, so that means he’s a loser. And we don’t take advice from losers in this country. We take advice from winners like George Bush.
More recently of course there’s the botched joke. Never mind that it was a mugging by the Bush administration and a piling on by the press that turned the story into a front-page saga. How dare John Kerry defend his good name? We don’t take advice from people who aren’t willing to have their noses rubbed in filth whenever the President and the press decide they need a break from confronting the realities of the Iraq War.
Then there’s the 2008 election, and how other candidates might not fare too well in comparison with Senator Kerry’s engagement on the issue. Hillary Clinton spent most of the past three years in hiding. Barack Obama didn’t have to vote on the IWR, but he and his disciples will tell you he was against the war from the beginning. Same goes for Al Gore. Those are all people we need to protect, and we can’t protect them if we notice that John Kerry has been right about Iraq while they’ve been playing politics.
Maybe the worst crime John Kerry has committed, however, is that he’s answered the questions people have asked in the context of the moment. And that’s a very serious crime. That’s a flip-flopper’s attitude, unlike the cool-hand certainty and unshakeable resolve of our victorious decider, George Bush. Unbelievably, John Kerry keeps modifying his advice as the facts change on the ground, which is obviously a sign of weakness and indecision. Why is it so hard for John Kerry to do what George Bush did and pick one inviolate course of action that’s perfect for every possible situation?
Finally, we can’t notice that John Kerry gets it right more than he gets it wrong because we don’t want him to run for president again. He had his chance, and now it’s time to pick somebody new that can help us forget about how right John Kerry was when we decided not to elect him in 2004. He’s not saying that himself, of course, because he’s focused on bringing the troops home and finding a political solution to the problem. But most of us here in the United States really haven’t felt the effects of the war, so we’re much more concerned with how we can get a good, guilt-free night of sleep. And we can’t do that if John Kerry doesn’t go away and let us forget.
So let’s just keep saying that nobody’s willing to have a serious discussion about Iraq, so we don’t have to notice that John Kerry has been having a serious discussion for four years, and getting it right all along. Let’s just keep saying there’s nobody who knows what’s going on or what to do about it, because that means we don’t have to know what’s going on or what to do about it.
And isn’t that the easy way out of Iraq we’ve all been looking for?
– Mark Barrett