Charles Krauthammer’s column today suggests that Kerry’s war service may constitute a “trump card” allowing Democrats to seize the war issue: “2004 is a war election.” Like Rocket Man, Krauthammer intimates that the war in Iraq may be politically disadvantageous to Bush: “For 2 1/2 years it looked as if the political beneficiary of 9/11 was President Bush. But Bush, never a believer in hoarding political capital, spent his post-9/11 and post-Afghanistan popularity on Iraq. The big political beneficiary of 9/11 turns out to be Kerry.”
Krauthammer acknowledges that “the two greatest wartime presidents in American history were Lincoln, who served at most four months in the Illinois militia, and FDR, who served not at all. Moreover, there are a lot of impressive warriors you would not want near the presidency. Douglas MacArthur for one. Wesley Clark for another.”
Krauthammer asserts as a general rule that in wartime, “when the bad guys are after you — say, after they kill 3,000 of your countrymen in one day — you like the idea of a national leader who has no compunction about killing.” Krauthammer seems to be suggesting that Kerry fits the profile of that national leader. But Kerry certainly does not strike me that way, while President Bush has already established his credentials on that score.
I believe this is the least persuasive Krauthammer column I have ever read, based as it seems to be largely on Israeli political parallels. The column, however, echoes points Rocket Man has made here previously and is worth a look.
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