Saturday, September 18, 2004

Where were you then? Where are you now?

I now get WSJ Opinion Journal's Best of the Web delivered by email (It's free, so you can too). In the first item on Friday's roundup, James Taranto quoted an email from one of his readers:
Your excerpt of Kerry's interview by Imus reminded me of something that has puzzled me about Kerry for a while. Whatever you may think about his 1971 testimony to the Senate, there was one thing admirable about it: It was unequivocal, clear, and direct; Even today, almost two generations later, no listener can be left with a doubt about what he meant.

To my knowledge this is the last time he ever talked like that. It has been my experience that the great majority of people learn from their mistakes, in particular when they are young. I have also observed that many people learn the wrong lessons. While Kerry could have learned, "Don't ever get in the wrong side of America" or, "Patriotism matters to voters," the lesson he learnt was "Be slippery."

Taranto then adds:
The only lesson Kerry seems to have learned since 1971 is that it isn't a good idea to demonize American servicemen as war criminals. (Though he remains too stubborn to apologize for having done so then.) But his relentless badmouthing of the war effort--without offering any clue as to how he would wage the war differently, or even a clear statement that he is determined to win--can only demoralize our soldiers and please our enemies. Which is exactly the effect his antiwar activism had in 1971.

This reminds me of something I heard Glenn Beck say on the radio this week. A caller was trying to say that President Bush and Senator Kerry were the same in that they both did things in the past that they are not proud of doing. The caller is mistaken, of course, and Glenn pointed out why. He said that President Bush has said "When I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible." I'm sure that is true for many of us, and it's admirable to admit it.

On the other hand, as the above email implies, as Glenn pointed out, and as the Kerry Campaign will not stop pointing out, Kerry's argument is "I defended American then, I will defend American now" with the understood additional prepositional phrase "in the same way." Kerry isn't ashamed of what he did in Vietnam (nor should he be). But neither is he ashamed of what he did after Vietnam.

Glenn's point: I don't want a President who claims to be the same person he was 30 years ago. I think the President's growth of character should be on the upswing.
And he's exactly right. Even as young as I am, I recognize that I don't want to be the same person in 5 years as I am right now, let alone 30 years from now. Additionally, I vigorously defend accusations that I am the same person that I was 5 or 7 years ago. On some level, we should all want to grow as people, growing in character, intellect and, hopefully, faith.

As I said before, even Bill Maher thinks that President Bush has changed after finding Jesus and growing up. Meanwhile, John Kerry bases his campaign on the fact that he's the same as he was then. Okay, Senator, we believe you. You've convinced us, but it's not gonna help you out come November.