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Maybe, maybe not?

From the incomparable Mark Steyn on the second presidential debate:

And, if you want to know the real difference, after 90 minutes of debate it came in the final exchange of the night: "The truth of that matter," said Bush, "is, if you listen carefully, Saddam would still be in power if he [Kerry] were the President of the United States."

Kerry replied: "Not necessarily."

That's John Kerry: the "not necessarily" candidate. Saddam might not necessarily be in power. He might have been hit by the Number 37 bus while crossing the street at the intersection of Saddam Hussein Boulevard and Saddam Hussein Parkway in downtown Tikrit. He might have put his back out with one of his more vigorous concubines and been forced to hand over to Uday or Qusay. He might have stiffed Chirac in some backdoor deal and been taken out by some anthrax-laced Quality Street planted by an elite French commando unit.

But, on the other hand, not necessarily. That's the difference: Bush believes America needs to shape events in the world; Kerry doesn't and, even if he did, because he doesn't know how he'd want to shape them the events would end up shaping him. There would be lots of discussion. Frenchmen would be involved. And, in the end, President Kerry could claim that however things turned out was what he wanted all along because, on Saddam and Iran and North Korea and a whole lot more, who the hell can say with confidence what Kerry wants anyway? How it would all turn out is anybody's guess.

On the other hand, Kerry does have a plan. I know, because he said so.


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Comments (3)


On the other hand, Kerry does have a plan. I know, because he said so.

Yes he does. It's the Richard Nixon plan to end the Vietnam war.


And, in the end, President Kerry could claim that however things turned out was what he wanted all along because

Sounds a lot like Bush's modus operandi on just about every issue.

Anyway, I don't really see the problem with saying "Not necessarily." A president who would do absolutely the same thing in every situation no matter what the external circumstances is, simply, a bad president.

Does Bush plan on using military force against Iran in his next term? Do you think that is a question to which a simple "Yes" or "No" answer can be given?

What is Bush's plan on Iraq?

Bush's plan on Iraq is to use force to help stabilize the country, build up an indiginous force, hold elections, and then ultimately declare victory and leave.

Bush may have poor follow through, but at least you know what he's aiming for.

The point about "Not necessarily," besides the sheer humor value, is that it perfectly sums up Kerry's campaign. Not so much flip-flop, as Bush portrays it, but wishy-washy, as one of the town hall questioners phrased it. Kerry won't commit to ousting Saddam; he won't commit to Howard Dean's rejection of the war. He won't commit to anything. It's the "wrong war," but Kerry still won't quite firmly say that he wouldn't fight it.

So you get the lawerly caveat ("nuance") of "not necessarily," because after all, Saddam might have died of natural causes.


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