Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Focus: The Bush campaign is attacking Kerry over his Vietnam record. That, of course, is just silly considering Bush avoided military endeavors in Vietnam by passing time in the Texas Air National Guard. Kerry earned medals. Attacking that will just remind people of that fact.

But at the same time, I really don't care that John Kerry spent four months in Vietnam. Lots of guys served honorably in Vietnam. The guy at the end of my block sitting next to a cup holding a cardboard sign probably served honorably. That does not a president make.

Kerry, in the opinion of this voter, made a mistake at the Democratic National Convention when he harped on his Vietnam record and said nothing about what he's done since then. While Americans like war heroes, we are also sick of Vietnam and the pain associated with that era. Kerry's insistence that he be judged by his record in Vietnam gives his opponents an excuse to attempt to trash that record.

Now Kerry is arguing that although he hasn't accomplished anything noteworthy in 20 years in politics, he's going to win the war in Iraq with fewer troops by getting more allies involved -- even though our allies don't have many troops to offer, and Bush spent almost a year leading up to the invasion begging other countries to get involved.

This is an opportunity for Bush. He's at his strongest when he has a single focus and campaigns on it. But recently he has been campaigning on nothing but his past accomplishments. I think he's done well, but that's not enough of a reason to give him four more years.

He didn't propose any goals during his last State of the Union address. He's going to have to make up for that by introducing something dramatic at the Republican National Convention. And I'm not talking about a flat tax or getting rid of the IRS. I'm talking about something people care about -- like what's next in the War on Terrorism.

It's not enough to say we'll continue to round up Al Qaeda suspects. That's a given. Americans want to know what the next focus will be. That doesn't mean we need to invade anyone. But that doesn't mean we can't start talking tough to Iran and Syria, and to start a plan of action to get something accomplished.

Bush has shown a lot of courage during his term in office. But lately the he's lost his political courage amid all the heckling from the Left. If he bows down to that pressure and refuses to tell us where he wants to lead us next, then maybe he doesn't deserve another term. I'm still waiting.


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