Thursday, October 14, 2004

Silent Responsibility

Best of the Web comments on Lawrence Henry's article in the American Spectator:
By common consensus, last night's performance, in a debate supposedly devoted to domestic policy (though some foreign-policy questions did come up), was his best in any of the three debates. Many observers have also said that in the second debate, Bush performed better in the second, domestic half, than he did in the first half, which concentrated on foreign policy. Why would this be, given that foreign policy is supposed to be the president's strong point, while domestic issues purportedly favor Dems?
Lawrence Henry, an online columnist for The American Spectator, points to a reason why Bush's foreign-policy performance might have been weaker than his supporters would have liked: Because the president "actually is in the game of world politics," there are things he can't responsibly say. Examples:

When Senator Kerry insists that the United States is ignoring the threat of Iran, or that the United States is "distracted" in Iraq when the "real threat" is in Iran, could the President say this?

"What makes you think we're not doing anything about Iran? We already have special forces teams deployed all over Iran working with the democratic opposition to the mullahs. And we're already at war with Iran. It's a proxy war, going on right now in Iraq."

Nope. Can't say that.

Neither can President Bush make the obvious response to Senator Kerry's repeated accusation that the United States has "turned its back on its traditional alliances" and "failed to bring aboard our traditional allies" in the war on terror.

"What countries are you talking about there, Senator? France, maybe? Did you know that France was bribed by Saddam Hussein through the Oil for Food program, to the tune of X billion dollars? And that France sold weapons to Saddam right through our war in 2003?"

Not when the United States still depends on French cooperation for fighting terrorism in North Africa.

This is true. There is only so much the President can say because when he does win, he still has to deal with the same world powers and he needs to maintain useful relations. He can't going around degrading alliances and calling the Iraqi PM a puppet. I would think that Kerry would feel this way too, but I guess he thinks that if he got into office he could blame all of his problems on President Bush rather than on his inability to be respectful of leaders in Englad, Australia and Poland.