EVEN MORE BAD NEWS FOR KERRY. You know things are not going well for the Democrat when even the Washington Post criticizes him. In an article today by Jim VandeHei, the Post chronicles Mr. Kerry’s flip flops on Iraq in recent weeks.
In early August, Mr. Kerry said he might have gone to war with Iraq had he been president. Then, his national security advisor said “in all probability” Mr. Kerry would have gone to war. Then, on August 24, the campaign issued a retraction.
Mr. K has also flip flopped on troop reduction. He began his campaign saying it was “impossible to predict” when troops could come home without talking to commanders in the field. Then he said the best idea might be to increase the number of troops. This summer he said his goal would be to reduce troops. In August, he told NPR he could significantly reduce troops in the first six months of the administration. In the last few days, he backpedaled (VandeHei’s word) saying he would reduce troops starting in six months and try to bring them all home within four years.
Why do flip flops matter? First, they matter because the voters cannot tell where the man stands on an issue to decide if they would vote for him. This is showing in the polls, as more and more people say they do not know what his positions are.
It also shows in the USA Today-Gallup poll showing the President has doubled his lead over Mr. Kerry on the issue of handling Iraq. He is favored 54% to 41%. This has happened, by the way, while the press has continually harped on the fact that the President is vulnerable on the Iraq issue, continues to splash every negative item on the front page of the paper, and continues to omit any good news. You have to go on the internet to find out the good news.
I think, however, that the flip flops raise an even greater issue. I believe some Americans perceive this. That is, the flip flops actually mean that Mr. Kerry does not really have a position on these issues. He does not really have an alternative plan or a better suggestion. His position is that he wants to be President and George W. Bush is in his way.
All politicians, at times, hold their finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing. But on the Iraq issue, the public feels that the President went to war because he believed it the right thing to do even in the face of political risk. They believe Mr. Kerry is trying to fashion a message that will sell, rather than a principle in which he believes.