Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Several liberal newspapers seem to be holding their noses as they endorse Sen. John Kerry. Yet it’s not their stated reservations about Mr. Kerry that should concern us, but their shallow and misguided reasons for supporting him.

The Washington Post and Los Angeles Daily News editorial endorsements of Mr. Kerry, alone, demonstrate why liberals must never be entrusted with our national security.

Both papers, amazingly, concede that the war on terrorism and national security are the most important issues the next president will have to confront. Both admit that Mr. Kerry has been wishy-washy on these subjects. But both, ultimately, conclude that Mr. Kerry is the better choice, essentially, because he promises to do better. In other words, we should base our decision on some of Mr. Kerry’s words, not his other words or actions to the contrary.

Precisely what does Mr. Kerry promise to do so differently from President Bush? To restore unity at home and heal our alliances abroad, of course. Now don’t you feel better?

Note the liberal disconnect here. These papers have the presence of mind to recognize that our national security is the paramount issue. But they have the profound obscurity of mind to believe that sweet-talking corrupt “allies” is the panacea for the war on terrorism.

Here The Post acknowledges the importance of our national security: “None of these issues would bring us to vote for Mr. Kerry if he were less likely than Mr. Bush to keep the nation safe. But we believe the challenger is well equipped to guide the country in a time of danger.”

Why do they believe that? Certainly not for these reasons: “We have been dismayed most of all by Mr. Kerry’s zigzags on Iraq, such as his swervings on whether Saddam Hussein presented a threat. As Mr. Bush charges, Mr. Kerry’s description of the war as a ‘diversion’ does not inspire confidence in his determination to see it through.” And certainly not because “he wrongly opposed the first Persian Gulf War.” And certainly not because they ask, “But is he decisive enough?”

Rather, The Post is reassured because “Kerry has repeatedly pledged not to cut and run from Iraq.” And, “he pledges both to fight in Iraq and to reach out to allies, to hunt down terrorists, and to engage without arrogance the Islamic world.”

Again, trust Mr. Kerry’s empty promises, though they are manifestly contrary to his record and to other statements he has made.

The Los Angeles Daily News, after likewise admitting that our national security is the most important issue, unpersuasively endorses Mr. Kerry because he is “the candidate best able” “to wage an effective war on terrorism” by “restor[ing] national unity and repair[ing] our damaged international alliances.”

Why is he better able than Mr. Bush to fight the war on terrorism? Because he “promises to do it smarter.” He promises? Even they don’t seem to believe their own words, as they go on to observe, “Whether [Mr. Kerry] can live up to those promises remains to be seen, and his own contradictory comments about the war and a lackluster 20-year career in the Senate raise some fair doubts.”

Like The Post, the Daily News is asking us to ignore Mr. Kerry’s past and the transparent inconsistency of his present positions like “he won’t give foreign powers a veto,” even though everything else he says indicates he will do just that. How is that “smarter”?

But most revealingly, the Daily News says, “Kerry offers us the chance for a new beginning. … Kerry offers the change that America needs for the next four years. But more importantly, at a time when the nation and the world need it most, he offers hope.”

There you have it. Though Mr. Kerry has given us no legitimate reason to be confident in his promises to be tough on terrorism, we should find comfort in his romantic rhetoric about strong alliances and his offer of “hope,” whatever that means.

This is liberal mushiness at its best. The stark reality is that we need to approach the war with deadly force, not campfire sing-alongs with double-minded “allies.” Well-meaning nations don’t need to be talked into joining this just war against the terrorists.

No matter how you cut it, other than the Iraqis themselves, the United States is going to bear the brunt of the costs and casualties in this war. We don’t need someone who will lie to you and tell you otherwise.

What we need is someone who not only talks tough against terrorists sometimes, but all the time, and whose actions and record are consistent with his statements. That someone is President Bush.

David Limbaugh is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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