October 20, 2004

PERLSTEIN SYNDROME:

We Hold This Dirt to Be Self-Evident (Michael Kinsley, October 17, 2004, Washington Post)

The people running the Bush campaign are political alchemists: They can take anything and turn it into dirt.

Still naive, even after Swift boats and everything else, I couldn't believe that Bush's "nuisance" salvo would work. In fact, when I first heard the accusation (on a right-wing radio talk show), I couldn't even understand it. John Kerry, quoted in a New York Times Magazine profile a week ago, said that he hopes to see the threat of terrorism reduced some day to the level of a minor nuisance. The Bush campaign immediately launched a big offensive on the theme that Kerry thinks terrorism is merely a nuisance.

Huh? Isn't there a difference between hoping that something will happen and thinking that it has happened already? Do you have to be mired in logic to suspect that these two states of mind are pretty much the opposite of each other?


What's most interesting about this next in a series of hysterical ravings by sometimes thoughtful Democrats is that in order to fuel his attack Mr. Kinsley not only has to mischaracterize Senator Kerry's own words:Kerry's Undeclared War (MATT BAI, 10/10/04, NY Times Magazine)
''We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance,'' Kerry said. ''As a former law-enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life.''

...but the entire premise of his two year old candidacy, Clash of the titans: Will an Al Gore–Richard Gephardt presidential-primary fight ruin the Democrats in 2004? (SETH GITELL, Boston Phoenix)
Massachusetts senator John Kerry, who’s certain to run, has been content to define the war on terrorism as a law-enforcement and intelligence effort.

There's a perfectly coherent, maybe even compelling, case to be made for ditching the effort to democratize the Middle East and just focussing on preventing any more attacks on our own soil--that Mr. Kerry has made the case poorly and that it is unpopular with the American voter is the Senator's fault, not that of the Republican attack machine.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 20, 2004 11:00 AM
Comments

Still naive, even after Swift boats and everything else, I couldn't believe that Bush's "nuisance" salvo would work. In fact, when I first heard the accusation (on a right-wing radio talk show), I couldn't even understand it.

Translation: I am a complete moron, who doesn't understand politics, has no clue about the American people, and certainly shouldn't be writing about either for the Washington Post. Please kick me very hard in the posterior.

Posted by: Timothy at October 20, 2004 11:12 AM

>''We have to get back to the place we were,
>where terrorists are not the focus of our
>lives, but they're a nuisance...''

i.e. "Where only the common rabble get killed, and Their Betters (who by the way Served In Vietnam) are not inconvenienced."

Posted by: Ken at October 20, 2004 1:25 PM

Typical Kinsley : that lovely mix of anger, tinny self-righteousness, and condescension that makes him such a joy to read.

Posted by: joe shropshire at October 20, 2004 1:51 PM

Don't forget the dash of petulance.

Posted by: Governor Breck at October 20, 2004 2:21 PM

That's the word I was looking for.

Posted by: joe shropshire at October 20, 2004 2:30 PM

>Mr. Kerry has made the case poorly and that it
>is unpopular with the American voter is the
>Senator's fault, not that of the Republican
>attack machine.

"BUT A GOD CAN DO NO WRONG!
SO SAY ALL LOYAL JEFFAH!"

Posted by: Ken at October 20, 2004 8:31 PM

Petulance is too nuanced: Kinsley is just prissy.

Posted by: jim hamlen at October 21, 2004 11:46 PM
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