Wednesday, November 10, 2004

# Posted 11:00 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

REALITY-BASED: Kevin Drum writes that
If Democrats are going to engage in navel gazing, our gaze really ought to be directed toward the one topic we continue to avoid like the plague: becoming more credible on national security. That's where Kerry and the Dems lost the election. Like it or not — and I can almost hear the outrage brewing already in the comment section over the mere fact that I'm mentioning this — fighting terrorism is the major swing issue of the day, and perceived Democratic weakness toward terrorism is likely to remain our biggest electoral albatross for quite a while.

It's remarkable, really, that in the last week an awful lot of commenters have seemed blithely willing to recommend that Democrats appease the Christian right on things like abortion choice and gay rights, which are core issues for liberalism. At the same time, though, they're silent on the possibility of changing our tune on terrorism, which isn't. John Kerry made significant inroads when he spoke plainly about hunting down terrorists and killing them, as he did in the first debate, but he was never really willing to much further than that.

Why? Why didn't he make a bigger deal out of his plan to increase the size of the Army by 40,000 troops? Why didn't he make a bigger deal out of his desire to get tougher with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan? Why didn't he make a bigger deal about George Bush's unwillingness to confront the Arab world over their continued funding of radical madrassas?

Beats me. Those were all part of Kerry's official national security package, but you didn't hear much about them either on the campaign trail or in the debates.
Maybe that's because Kerry just didn't care about all of those things. He's a multilateralist at heart, and getting tough is the last things he knows how or wants to do.
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