Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Getting Nasty: The Bush team, desperate to damage Kerry, is trying to ride out the senator's latest gaffe for longer than it can float.

Sen. Kerry said that some foreign leaders are secretly hoping that he will be elected U.S. president. But he didn't say which ones.

He didn't have to. We all know the leaders of France, Russia, and Germany aren't too happy about what Bush is doing. But we also know the leaders of North Korea, Al Qaeda, and a former leader of Iraq would prefer to face Kerry than Bush. I'm not trashing Kerry here, but he would go much easier on our enemies than Bush would. The debate underway is over exactly how much force we should use to confront our enemies, and that will be settled in the election.

So Kerry wanted to get some credit for being popular with some Europeans. That's fine. And he also didn't want to name the names so as not to create an international incident. That's good, but that also left him open to all the Kim Jung Il jokes.

This all came to a head when a Bush supporter began heckling Kerry at a town-hall meeting, demanding to know the names of the leaders, going so far as to calling the senator a liar. I didn't see the exchange, but I'm sure Kerry was frustrated when he blurted out "That's none of your business." Poor choice of words on Kerry's part, but he didn't owe that heckler anything. Shouting at politicians and calling them liars doesn't further political discourse, it stifles it. And Kerry was justified in blowing the guy off.


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