Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Now we remember why Kerry hasn't been doing interviews...

If you are prone to woofing your cookies after a few turns on the merry-go-round, you may want to skip this post.

I'll give Diane Sawyer credit where credit is due. She conducted a fairly tough interview with John Kerry on Good Morning America this morning, which is part & parcel of why it became his latest embarrassment in a campaign strewn with them. Remove formatting from selection

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DIANE SAWYER: Was the war in Iraq worth it?

JOHN KERRY: We should not have gone to war knowing the information that we know today.

JAS: But we didn’t go to war knowing the information we know now. How could we? We didn’t know it yet, numbnuts. You seem to think that clairvoyance is a prerequisite for the presidency, even though you yourself didn’t display this trait by voting to authorize the war. Christ, where was this soothsaying ability two months ago when the Swiftboat Vets kneecapped you?

DS: So it was not worth it.

JK: We should not — it depends on the outcome ultimately — and that depends on the leadership…

JAS: Yes or no, Senator, was it worth it? Everything you've said for the past three weeks has said, "No, it wasn't." Yet when confronted with the simplest, most basic distillation of your Iraq angle, you can't give a straight, much less binary, answer. The President wouldn't have any trouble answering that question. Perhaps that's why he's been kicking your ass.

And what's this "depends on the outcome" business? Doesn't a successful outcome inherently depend upon our willingness and determination to see the mission through? Yet you've already written the whole thing off as a failure and are bellowing that we should get out. The latter would make the former a self-fulfilled prophecy. Just exactly how is that "leadership"?

JK: …And we need better leadership to get the job done successfully, but I would not have gone to war knowing that there was no imminent threat — there were no weapons of mass destruction — there was no connection of Al Qaeda — to Saddam Hussein! The president misled the American people — plain and simple. Bottom line.

JAS: You knew then there was no “imminent threat” because the President never said there was one – though your own running mate did. And you voted to authorize war.

Saddam shipped his WMDs, along with his nuclear scientists, to Syria in January 2003. This happened as a result of the President taking a multi-lateralist approach to building an alliance for “disarming” Saddam.

There was a connection to al Qaeda – does the name Abu Musab Zarqawi ring a bell?

No less than the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded in its report this summer that the President did not “mislead” the American people. And by your own rhetoric, he couldn’t possibly have done so unless he was clairvoyant and a cartoon villain of the caliber of Snidely Whiplash.

DS: So if it turns out okay, it was worth it?

JK: No.

JAS: Oh? I thought you said it “depended upon the outcome.” So do you not care about the outcome?

DS: But right now it wasn’t [ … ? … ]–

JK: It was a mistake to do what he did, but we have to succeed now that we’ve done what he’s — I mean look — we have to succeed…

JAS: It was a "mistake" to remove the dictator you claim you're glad we removed, and you say we have to succeed now by bringing in phantom allies who have already said they won't help us, and withdrawing from Iraq, which would guarantee our failure. Got it.

JK: But was it worth — as you asked the question — $200 billion and taking the focus off of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda? That’s the question…

JAS: See what happens when you take so many different positions that you lose track of which one you’re supposed to take at any given moment? Or was the above simply another “inarticulate moment”?

“$200 billion and taking the focus off of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda” is not the question, Senator. The cost reference is a pathetic red herring, and “the focus” hasn’t been taken off of al Qaeda because this conflict is bigger than just pursuing a single terrorist group. Such groups’ state sponsors need to be taken out as well. Saddam Hussein was one of them. Syria and Iran are the other two in that region, and you want to foolishly appease them. Just exactly how does that make America safer?

JK:…The test of the presidency was whether or not you should have gone to war to get rid of him. I think, had the inspectors continued, had we done other things — there were plenty of ways to keep the pressure on Saddam Hussein.

JAS: Name one. (He never did - as usual.) Twelve years of inspections “and other things” kept no appreciable “pressure” on Saddam, and simply wasted billions of American tax dollars by compelling us to maintain substantial forces in Saudi Arabia (one of bin Laden’s bones of contention) to interdict Iraqi airspace. And as your good friend and colleague John McCain pointed out in his GOP convention speech, the UN sanction regime was collapsing.

So tell us again, Senator: how would leaving Saddam Hussein in power have made America safer?

DS: But no way to get rid of him.

JK: Oh, sure there were. Oh, yes there were. Absolutely.

DS: So you’re saying that today, even if Saddam Hussein were in power today it would be a better thing — you would prefer that . . .

JK: No, I would not prefer that. And Diane — don’t twist here.

JAS: But Senator, you now claim that Operation Iraqi Freedom was "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time." And war was the only means of getting rid of Saddam. Ergo, you are saying that it would be a better thing for Saddam to still be in power.

And aside from that, what have you got against Chubby Checker?

JK: You have to protect our troops and you have to have an election.

JAS: You voted against "protecting our troops" a year ago, remember? And just last week you were dismissing the planned January elections in Iraq as "unrealistic" for no other reason than that President Bush and Prime Minister Allawi were touting them. Do you really expect voters to believe that you essentially endorse the Bush Iraq policy but it's been "wrong every step of the way" because George W. Bush was running it? "Where's the beef," Senator?

JK: My goal is to get our troops out of Iraq in my first term and I have no plan for long-term basing or for long-term presence.

JAS: What about Syria, Mr. Kerry? And Iran? Oh, that's right, you're going to buy them off by giving them bleeping nuclear fuel. Sorry, my mistake...

JK: This Administration has never denied that, as a matter of fact. I do.

JAS: "This Administration" has never denied that you look like Mr. Sweet Potatohead, either. So what?

JK: Well, first of all I've never said that I expect France or Germany to put troops on the ground...

JAS: Other than for the past eight months. Maybe withdrawn American troops were going to be replaced by Darth Tyrannus' droid army? Do you have a secret deal with Chancellor Palpatine you'd like to share with us?

JK:…but there are plenty of things that they can do & it depends on the relationships.

JAS: No it doesn't, Mr. Kerry. They hate George Bush, but they hate him as much because of the country he leads as him personally. They' wouldn't be so overjoyed to have you as his replacement that they'd pull a foreign policy about-face overnight and take over a mission you've done your self-serving best to smear with PR feces just because you asked them to with your pinky stuck out at right angles to your bone china teacup. They've already said this, repeatedly. Haven't you been paying attention?

JK: Secondly, I'd never expect them to say that now while a sitting president is there. No diplomat in no country and no government's going to do that.

JAS: Nod-nod, wink-wink. "The world will transform itself into paradise, and will be at America's beck and call once John 'God' Kerry is sitting on the throne."

By the way, you dribbled Grey Poupon on your tie. No, really. Look for yourself...

JK: I'm not attacking [Prime Minister Allawi]. Not attacking him at all. I - he's a strong man - I hope he's successful. I'm going to help him be successful. I'm simply telling the truth about what is happening in Iraq, Diane.

JAS: Can't backpedal fast enough, can you, Senator? You could have simply apologized, you know. But you can never admit your mistakes, even as you castigate the President for refusing to admit the errors you promiscuously attribute to him. Are you going to try to claim that Joe Lockhart's "Alawi is Bush's Charlie McCarthy" slur wasn't an attack? Or that it wasn't a more overt echo of your own?

JK: See, what the Republicans do - and they love to do — and they're very good at it and they've spent millions of dollars doing it, is just find a little [flip-flopping] sentence here and find a little sentence there and take it out of context. That's why I look forward to this debate.

JAS: Seen this video yet, Senator? It's over eleven minutes long. Even your rambling run-on sentences aren't that windy.

JK: [The infamous “I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it” gaffe] just was a very inarticulate way of saying something and I had one of those inarticulate moments late in the evening when I was dead tired in the primaries and I didn't say something very clearly. But it reflects the truth of the position, which is, I fought to have the wealthiest people in America share the burden of paying for that war. It was a protest. Sometimes you have to stand up and be counted, and that's what I did.

JAS: So your roaringly hypocritical classism was so overarchingly important that it took precedence over protecting our troops in harm's way? Your priorities are grotesquely misaligned.

You know, your colleague Joe Biden says that the reason you voted against the Iraq/Afghanistan emergency appropriation was because at the time, Howard Dean was handing your head to you. And you cast that "nay" vote after pledging in an earlier interview that you would vote for it. So tell us, Senator, just how far down your list may "protection of the troops" be found?

Oh, and when you had that "inarticulate moment," it was in the middle of the day. Which wouldn't matter in and of itself if you would simply admit that both the comment and that vote were mistakes. As long as you remain in servitude to that towering ego of yours, you'll continue to be the lightning rod of national lampoonery.

JK: [The guys I windsurf] with are 'regular folks - they're carpenters and electrician's guys who work on the island. If [the Bushies] want to have fun with it, that's fine.

JAS: They're "having fun with it" because of transparently phony dodges like that one, and because you appear to be the only person in America who doesn't realize either the transparency or the phoniness.

JK: What matters is, are the American people doing better under George Bush, and they're not.

JAS: Better than what? Bush inherited a burgeoning recession and a growing Islamist terrorist threat. Today it's been over three years since we've been attacked, we've taken two nations away from the enemy, and the economy is growing faster than it has in twenty years.

As Ronald Reagan said at the end of his White House tenure, "Not bad; not too bad at all."

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Can you imagine what Tim Russert or Brit Hume would do to this guy? And if they get the chance, wouldn't NBC or Fox be out of their minds not to put it on pay-per-view?