View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Tuesday, January 27, 2004

E. J. Dionne Doesn't

In the meantime, E.J. Dionne reports on the "regiments," more likely platoons, or veterans who he believes give John Kerry foreign policy credibility.

Bob Kerrey in a telephone interview pointed to two factors that have made war service more important to Democratic voters. "Unlike '92, '96 and 2000, Democrats are asking the question: Who can be commander in chief?" This helps both Clark and Kerry, he said. John Kerry gets an additional boost because "he both opposed the war — and he went." Antiwar Democrats admire the first while veterans know that Kerry appreciates "what it means to serve."

Some would say that the Democrats, seemingly focused on "electability," realize that military credibility is something that matters to the electorate as a whole, even if they themselves don't care much about it. I don't recall Dean's Battle of the Slopes at Aspen hurting him much at the time it came out. While Kerry went, it's not clear that his opposition to the war developed until it became to his political advantage. And it apparently extended as far as the appearance of tossing away his medals...

Kerry wants to refight Vietnam, for which conservatives now have an answer. He calls our support of the Contras and the government in El Salvador, "Reagan's illegal war in Central America." Let him go tell the voters in Nicaragua that, after they keep defeating the Sandanistas at the polls, in elections inconceivable without our military support for the opposition to that dictatorship. And who knows what his actual position on the Iraq war (and whatever comes next) may be? It seems he not only wants to refight the original Vietnam, but all the other non-Vietnam Vietnams since then. Bring it on.

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