The uses of periodical literature

Reader Tim Mattson writes:

Read the [October] Atlantic Monthly article by James Fallows on Iraq and Bin Laden, “Bush’s Lost Year.” [Only the opening of the article is included on the Atlantic’s site.] Kerry’s positions on these subjects were almost directly lifted from the Atlantic, especially his line quoting Powell and his criticism of Tora Bora. Any American who reads the Atlantic could have given Kerry’s [positions in the debate].
This demonstrates two things about Kerry. First, he lacks any personal vision for American foreign policy. He simply took the latest issue of the Atlantic and adopted it as his own foreign policy. Second, it demonstrates that Kerry has missed so many Senate Intelligence Committee meetings that he is getting all his foreign policy information from a source available to the public at large. One would hope for more from a presidential candidate.

Berkeley economics professor Brad DeLong has posted excerpts of the Fallows article in “James Fallows: The lost year.”
Professor Peter Schramm of No Left Turns has also directed us to the excellent column on the debate by Joseph Knippenberg: “Kerry needed a debate home run, but only got a single.”
HINDROCKET adds: The connection between the Fallows piece and Kerry’s debate positions has not eluded the mainstream media. Check out this UPI “analysis” piece by David DeGennaro

Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry believes that the war in Iraq has distracted the nation from the larger war on terror, and he is not alone. Only hours before Sen. Kerry made the point before the American public Thursday night in the season’s first presidential debate, prominent journalist and commentator James Fallows said the same thing in a talk at the New America Foundation, a non-partisan public-policy institute.

Needless to say, DeGennaro believes that Fallows and Kerry are correct. He views the conventional wisdom that Kerry “won” the debate as evidence that the American people are convinced:

Fallows said Thursday that this question of whether Iraq is an essential part of the war on terror or an obstacle to it is the axis on which the election will turn and that Kerry needed a “heroic performance” to articulate this idea clearly and decisively to America.
Kerry seems to have accomplished that through solid debating rather than heroics.
Three national polls showed respondents saying Kerry performed better in the debate than Bush.

UPI ignores, of course, the Gallup data we cited yesterday, indicating that while 53% of respondents said Kerry “performed better” than Bush in the debate, by a whopping 11-point margin, those same respondents also said they thought Bush would do a better job on Iraq, and by a 10-point margin, would do a better job as commander in chief.
UPDATE: Mattson writes to modify his original message as follows:

What I wrote to you was clearly over the top and a gross exageration and dismissal of Kerry. I was writing when I was mad and I wrote something that was clearly not right. There is probably at most a grain of truth in the assertion that John Kerry adopted his Iraq policy from the Atlantic.
When I read the October Atlantic today I was really struck by how similar the Atlantic’s position was to Kerry’s. Basically Kerry started the debate by blasting the war in Iraq on the grounds that it was a diversion from the war on terror and kept us from finding Bin Laden. These are precisely the points made in the Atlantic. It seems that Kerry went from an Iraq policy that no one could comprehend to endorsing the position taken by the Atlantic.
I would cite specifically:
How the War in Iraq Undermined the War on Terror (article)
Powell quote, 79
Humvee quote, 82
The Long Hunt for Osama (article)
Criticism of Tora Bora, page 92
With the exception of the Tora Bora thing, these may be well known quotes.


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