W.W.K.D. - WHAT WOULD KERRY DO ?
Much of the contest between Kerry and Bush has boiled down to how Kerry would be different on the War on Terror from Bush. Liberals like Kevin Drum claiming he'd be far more competent and effective, hawks like myself thinking Kerry is likely to be clueless and viscerally inhibited from taking action. Then there are people who are disgusted with Bush over Iraq and are trying to rationalize voting for Kerry in hoping that he won't sink to our worst expectations.
There's some truth to that because much of the DC bureaucracy serves presidents of either party, remaining there from administration to administration. This bureaucratic stasis tends to provide about 80 % continuity in American foreign policy as they drag presidents through passive resistance to line up behind the status quo.
Overall, this is a good thing because the world would dislike erratic zig-zagging by the United States even more than they dislike hard-line Neocon policy. As amazing as it may sound today, the Kremlin welcomed the election of Ronald Reagan because after four years of Jimmy Carter' incomprehensible ( to Soviet eyes) naivete, steady opposition they were familiar with and thought they understood beat a situation where the Politburo knew a miscalculation could easily occur.
In general however, only an exceptionally vigorous chief executive or one blessed with an earth-shattering circumstances - can do more than simply tinker at the policy margins and this on only one or two issues during their time in office. So, everything's fine right ?
Well, Jeff at Caerdroia is saying " Think again ":
"I'm hearing a lot of people lately "reasoning" that Kerry will be just fine, because he "can't afford" to pull out of Iraq, "knows better" than to do so, or some other claptrap. I just have this to say: if John Kerry is elected president, it will be my fondest hope that he has noble goals for America and succeeds - particularly that he succeeds in defeating terrorism and preventing the spread of nuclear weapons to terror-supporting states.
But, and this is a rather large "but", I don't expect it. When Bill Clinton was running for President in 1992, it was obvious to anyone paying attention that he was a relentlessly self-obsessed womanizer and a compulsive liar. Whether or not you think he was a useful or effective president, it's pretty hard to deny he's exactly what he seemed like during the campaign.
Similarly, Kerry has been quite consistent on a few points of both policy and character. A Kerry administration would shrink from conflict where America's interests were at stake, would abandon our coalition partners and suck up to the French and Germans instead, and would give the UN an effective veto over US foreign policy. Kerry would shrink the military, stop or dramatically slow procurement of new weapons and equipment, hobble our intelligence services, allow Iran to get nuclear weapons and quite probably withdraw from Iraq before actually securing a victory there. Kerry would always choose bigger government and higher taxes over all other considerations, and would do his best to enact the most Leftist agenda ever attempted by a president. All the while, he would smugly enthuse about how all of us proles just don't understand his intelligence and nuance. Kerry will claim that everything good is his doing, personally, and everything bad is the failure of some underling or political opponent.
Go ahead and vote for him if you think that's best, but don't go acting all surprised later"