Kerry in '08? Forget It

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Memo To:
Sen. John F. Kerry
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Check with Teddy

You may know
that I voted for you in November, as I posted my endorsement here
as a memo on the margin. I hadn’t voted for a Democratic presidential
nominee since 1964, when I went for LBJ over Barry Goldwater,
but I went for you because I thought you might be able to get
us out of Iraq sooner than a re-elected President Bush. Even though
you never really stood still on Iraq during the campaign –
maybe this, maybe that – I had at least figured you would
work with the United Nations and our NATO allies to come up with
an exit strategy.

Three months
have come and gone since Election Day, Senator, and I’d hoped
you would at least sound some Iraqi exit themes, but you have
not. I tuned in your appearance this morning on Meet The Press
and, to tell you the truth, I was not only disappointed, but astonished
that you have become more supportive of the war and its rationales,
not less. You clearly seem to think you lost because you were
not tough enough, not macho!

It’s also
obvious you now have concluded you ran a wonderful, winning campaign
but that Bush won because we were in the middle of a war. You
practically told Tim Russert that the voters preferred you, but
did not want to change horses in midstream. Pardon me, Senator,
but you are full of baloney. The voters went for the President
because you were mushy on the war and mushy on domestic policy,
and yet I still voted for you! I don’t regret it, because I wanted
to have my vote for you count against the war, but I will not
do it again.

The breaking
point came when Tim Russert ran an excerpt of a speech Teddy Kennedy
gave on Thursday on why we have to pull out of Iraq. He says we
should start by announcing soon after today’s elections that we
are yanking 12,000 home of the 157,000 troops who are there. Tim
asked if you agreed and you said flat out, "No, No."
You said you agreed with Teddy conceptually, but disagreed with
him pragmatically!!! It’s the same old, same old: "I voted
for it, before I voted against it?"

Here is the
core of Kennedy’s speech, which I’m sure you read in its entirety
before you went on Meet the Press – especially given the
fact that he was your biggest booster last year in the race to
the presidency:

The reality
is that the Bush Administration is continuing to pull the strings
in Iraq, and the Iraqi people know it. We picked the date for
the transfer of sovereignty. We supported former CIA operative
Iyad Allawi to lead the Interim Government. We wrote the administrative
law and the interim constitution that now governs Iraq. We set
the date for the election, and President Bush insisted that
it take place, even when many Iraqis sought delay.

It is time
to recognize that there is only one choice. America must give
Iraq back to the Iraqi people. We need to let the Iraqi people
make their own decisions, reach their own consensus, and govern
their own country. We need to rethink the Pottery Barn rule.
America cannot forever be the potter that sculpts Iraq’s
future. President Bush broke Iraq, but if we want Iraq to be
fixed, the Iraqis must feel that they, not we, own it.

Gosh, how
I wish you had said that. There’s a lot of blather today from
our press corps about how wonderful, how ecstatic, the people
of Iraq are today just because they voted in Sunday’s elections.
And we all hope the event will lead to better days ahead in Iraq
and the Middle East. But you are still doing what you did last
year in the campaign – mushing up your own position so that
you can have it both ways. I’m afraid that’s the way you are and
you will never change. So do me a favor, and forget about running
in 2008.

1, 2005

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