Debra Saunders is a talented editorial writer and columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. When John Kerry stopped by the Chronicle’s offices for an interview with the paper’s editorial board, Saunders grilled Kerry on his claim that his vote in favor of the congressional authorization of war against Iraq was a result of George Bush’s deception. Kerry’s discussion of this question with Saunders is a remarkable example of the childish irresponsibility Noemie Emery finds characteristic of Kerry’s political career in the Weekly Standard article linked below:
When Kerry met with The Chronicle Editorial Board on Friday, I had the chance to ask the senator how he could have expected Bush to behave differently in light of what Bush had said.
Kerry’s answer reminds me of the angry customer in the Federal Express ad, who, clad only in a towel and a loofah mitt, calls a company to complain that FedEx delivered his package as scheduled, which he should not have expected, and by the way it inconveniently interrupted a “complicated exfoliation.”
Kerry’s answer was that Washington insiders believed that Bush didn’t mean what he said. “I think that you had a hard-line group (then Pentagon adviser) Richard Perle, (Deputy Defense Secretary) Paul Wolfowitz and probably (Vice President Dick) Cheney. But when Brent Scowcroft and Jim Baker (former advisers to the first President Bush) weighed in, very publicly in op-eds in the New York Times and the (Washington) Post, the chatter around Washington and (Secretary of State Colin) Powell in particular, who was very much of a different school of thought, was really that the president hadn’t made up his mind. He was looking for an out. That’s what a lot of people thought.”
What about what Bush said to the U.N.? That was “rhetorical,” Kerry answered. And “a whole bunch of very smart legitimate people” not running for president thought as he did. “So most people, actually on the inside, really felt that (Bush) himself was looking for the way out to sort of satisfy Cheney, satisfy Wolfowitz, but not get stuck.” Kerry continued, “The fact that he jumped and went the other way, I think, shocked them and shocked us.”
So Kerry was “misled” because he believed that Bush didn’t mean what Bush said. Talk about your dirty tricks…
Rather than as an example of Emery’s point about Kerry, Kerry’s explanation might better be taken as an example of what the man facing Kerry meant with his t-shirt stating, “Your mouth keeps moving but all I hear is ‘BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.'” Saunders’ column is “Kerry’s complicated exfoliation.” (Courtesy of Little Green Footballs.)