Dean Esmay poses this question to conservatives: If Kerry is elected, will they try to support him if he does the right thing, or will they degenerate into partisan backbiting as Democrats did after 2000? My answer is “both.” We will support him if he does the right thing but attack him in ways that will seem partisan if (when) he does not. For example, if Kerry stays the course in Iraq, he should not be attacked when mishaps occur or second-guessed over every questionable tactical decision. In the unlikely event that Kerry initiates new military actions for which he can make a case in the context of fighting terrorism, conservatives clearly should rally behind him since, heaven help him, many liberals will not. And conservative support should not diminish if the intelligence that contributed to his decision turns out to be flawed or if a few soldiers engage in abusive behavior.
On the other hand, if Kerry fails vigorously to prosecute the war on terrorism — and that includes failing to take appropriate preemptive action — conservatives must attack him, though never dishonestly. The same is true if he wastes military resources fighting wars on behalf of the “international community” that don’t advance our interests in the current struggle. And if Kerry gives the EU or the UN veto power over our ability to wage war, then partisan criticism (or the bi-partisan kind, in the unlikely event that Democrats join in) should be the order of the day.
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