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Monday, September 27, 2004

Hitting Rock Bottom: Jay Nordlinger's Reflections on the Kerry Campaign

The Kerry campaign has reached rock bottom. I'm not talking about its standing in the polls — I don't care about that, so much. I'm talking about its moral status. Its behavior during Prime Minister Allawi's visit to the United States was appalling. The contempt that these people — the Kerry people — threw on Allawi was beyond belief. I feel like a McCarthyite when I think, "Are they on the other side? They seem desperate for our endeavors in Iraq to fail. They seem to be rooting against us." But I think it.

Of Allawi, Joe Lockhart, the Kerry mouthpiece, said, "You can almost see the hand underneath the shirt today moving the lips." That's the sort of thing you can read in the official Syrian press — or are they more discreet now?

Allawi himself was forced to declare, "I am a tool of nobody." And catch the magnificent sarcasm at the end of this statement: "I don't know what is rosy and what is not rosy. I am painting a picture that I know. I am the prime minister of Iraq, and I am talking about Iraq — I know what is happening there. I know the details. . . . I have only been out of Iraq for five days, so I don't think that in the last five days things have changed dramatically."

In the mid-1980s, when he visited Washington, Jose Napoleon Duarte kissed the American flag. That caused a lot of the Left to choke. And now Allawi is thanking America — and much of the Left is fuming.

I think we can safely generalize that they enjoyed neither the liberation of Afghanistan nor the liberation of Iraq. Because it is better that those two countries be unfree than that a Texas evangelical conservative do the freeing.

George W. Bush needs to stick it to Kerry in that first debate — not merely play defense. He needs to find a way of saying, "What kind of democrats are you Democrats? I mean, don't you hope we succeed? Does the Taliban out, and Karzai et al. in, and Saddam Hussein out, and Allawi et al. in, embarrass you? Sure, Kofi Annan and the thugocracies of the U.N. are against us. But where do you stand? Does our relative unpopularity at the U.N. embarrass you?"

Get 'im, W. This is no time to act overly "presidential." Your job is to shame these people — a job for which they have given you plenty of material.

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