Tuesday, January 18, 2005

John Kerry's Inaugural Address

In today's Washington Post, E. J. Dionne, engages in a little fantasy turn as President Bush's speechwriter, and ends up writing John Kerry's inaugural address.

"I remain deeply committed to democracy in Iraq. Can anyone doubt that the Iraqi people and the world are better off without Saddam Hussein in power?"

So far, so good.

"But I also know that the strategy we pursued has not brought about the results I hoped for.

"I wish we had sent more troops at the outset and created order in a nation that had already suffered too much. I wish we had not pretended that the transformation of Iraq would be easy. I wish we had won more international support. I wish we had not made claims about weapons of mass destruction that turned out to be false -- claims that undermined the credibility of the great nation I lead.

"In my second term, I intend to pursue the honorable goals of our policy in new ways. By admitting our mistakes, I hope to open a new page in our relations with our longtime but now estranged allies."

Since the start of the campaign season last year -- and particularly during the debates -- the left has had some weird obsession with getting the president to say he made a mistake. But this is nothing more than "gotcha" politics. They pretend that such a statement would promote healing, but if you think for one moment that the left wouldn't emblazon such a statement in 255-pt type above the fold on the front page of every major daily newspaper, you're kidding yourself. What the left doesn't understand -- or doesn't care about -- is how such a statement would be used by our enemies. And at home, the president saying that he made a mistake would cause a thrill of delight to shiver down the spines of nearly every Democrat in Congress -- or it would if they had spines.

But not even E. J. Dionne could be so naive as to think that such a statement would unite the country. On the contrary. The long knives that the Democrats have unsheathed against this adminstration would be wielded openly.

Aside from the repeated refrain of "Mistakes were made," the rest is a rehash of John Kerry's stump speeches: get rid of tax cuts, win international support, reconcile with France, "two Americas," yadda, yadda, yadda. Dionne's "What Bush Could Say" turns out to be exactly "What John Kerry Would Have Said."

(Except for the whole "I made mistakes" part.)


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