' Bob Tyrell
Jewish World Review Oct. 21, 2004 / 6 Mar-Cheshvan, 5765

Bob Tyrrell

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The Fantasist Candidate


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | I see that the convalescing Bill Clinton is about to leave his Chappaqua infirmary to hit the campaign trail for Democratic presidential candidate, Jean-François Kerry. Reportedly the reinforcements will arrive next week. Most likely the ex-Boy President will not hit the campaign trail too thunderously. Having recently undergone quadruple bypass surgery, he remains a bit tender. But he will put in a good word for the whole Democratic ticket that now strains to save America from the Bush Madness. You know the Democrats' line: an economy reminiscent of Herbert Hoover's, the Bible Belt threatening our easy-going hedonism, Bush's legions brutalizing all the peace-loving peoples of the Middle East.


Boy Clinton with characteristic obliquity has spoken from both sides of his mouth on the war in Iraq, but those of us who follow his cavortings fastidiously recall that he and his lovely wife Bruno were the first Democrats to say that ousting Saddam was a "diversion" from the war on terror. Thus began one of the liberal Democrats' favorite dodges from taking resolute action against America's enemies, to wit, they call out their intellectualoids to bog us down in tendentious arguments about the nature of our enemies, their whereabouts, their true intentions, and the proper way to pacify those enemies. Both the Clintons and Senator Kerry would deal with them ferociously though at the United Nations, the Hague, or why not the Cannes Film Festival?


My guess is that Clinton will not get terribly detailed in his criticism of President George W. Bush's war on terror or even his war in Iraq. His record on terror is not terribly good.


In his mammoth autobiography My Life (the wags call it My Lies) Clinton heaves off precisely one paragraph on airport security during his Administration, though he had ample warning that threats were afoot similar to the assault that came on September 11, 2001. For instance, on December 4, 1998, according to The 9/11 Commission Report, the President received a Presidential Daily Brief whose headline read: "Bin Ladin Preparing to Hijack U.S. Aircraft and Other Attacks." Last July 23 the New York Post noted chillingly that the December 4 briefing "cited information indicating that bin Ladin and his allies were preparing an aircraft hijacking and other attacks in the United States to free three jailed Arabs, including the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Ramzi Yousef, and 'Blind Sheik' Omar Abdel-Rahman." The Playboy President did nothing.

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The first World Trade Center Bombing was but the first of a series of terrorist provocations that failed to sober up the Boy President. There were also the attacks on the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, the American embassies in Africa, and the USS Cole. Nor did he do much to enforce U.N. sanctions against Saddam.


Foreign policy and American national security are the most important issues in Campaign 2004. Since September 11, 2001, they have been the most important issues in the country. A former draft dodger and a Vietnam War resister are not very compelling figures in debating those issues. There are numerous reasons why Senator Kerry, though starting with a large base in the Democratic Party, has not been able to move ahead in this race. But the fundamental reason is that he is oblivious to the concern his fellow Americans have about terror and national security. Kerry is a fantasist, aloof in a narcissistic cloud. The American people perceive that there is something wrong with him.


At some point Democratic leaders are going to have to ask themselves how they get stuck year after year with such improbable presidential candidates. In 1992 they had a draft dodger with more skeletons in his closet than a grave robber. In 2000 they had another of their fantasists who could not beat a little-known Republican governor despite his Administration's claims to peace and prosperity. This time around they have a candidate who is so lacking in judgment as to have based much of his campaign on his behavior of 35 years ago, behavior that he should have recognized as at best controversial. How could Kerry have been so clueless as to have thought that veterans and other advocates of strong defense would elect him in time of war? Nothing in his record reveals him as a strong leader. In fact he was a mere also-ran until Howard Dean self-destructed.


The Democratic opponent slipping behind in the polls today is neither a George McGovern from 1972 nor a John F. Kennedy fighting the Cold War. He is at one with the Draft Dodger of 1992, though without the charm.

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JWR contributor Bob Tyrrell is editor in chief of The American Spectator. Comment by clicking here.

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09/20/04: The 'Shark Tale' Mafiosi
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06/24/04: If they only mastered the art of lying
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06/03/04: Once again the conservative fuddy duddies are vindicated
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05/20/04: Pasty prison pastimes
05/13/04: Loss of perspective
05/06/04: Right in the Krischer: Rush Limbaugh's tormentor has yet to hear from everyone on the First Amendment right
04/29/04: It is 1992 all over again, and I rejoice
04/15/04: There seems to be two George W's
04/08/04: Kennedy & Kerry
04/01/04: Sen. Jean Francois' fun and games are only starting — poor Dems
03/25/04: What really explains the rancor arising in this election year?
03/19/04: College daze
03/11/04: The understandably confused are confused
03/04/04: Hillary, the loyalest of the loyal
02/19/04: Hannity's optimism
02/12/04: The moron vote
02/05/04: At least Lieberman stood for something
01/29/04: Surprised by the government vendetta against Rush?
01/15/04: Eight Angry Men
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01/02/04: It’s lying time again
12/29/03: Alternative "Person of the Year"
12/18/03: Dean and me
12/11/03: Long live Bob Bartley
12/04/03: "Hit 'em when they're down!"
12/01/03: The Wright Stuff
11/13/03: How wrong the naysayers and the utopians have been
11/06/03: Will I be banned from America's campuses?
10/30/03: They don't care about restraint
10/24/03: "The Reagans" and the evidence of a historic life
10/17/03: The Moron Vote
10/09/03: The politics of groping and the groping of politics
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09/26/03: Funny Girly-Boy
09/18/03: Send Arafat to Paris!
09/15/03: The soi-disant party of Latinos comes down hard on a successful Latino
09/05/03: Placating the carpers
08/29/03: A melange of one-issue enthusiasts will win?
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07/25/03: They underestimate not only the president, but the American people
07/18/03: The irascible, bigoted Harry Truman was a product of his times
07/11/03: A grand affair of hot colors and surprisingly sedate audience participation
07/04/03: In search of anti-Americanism and the perfect bullfight
06/26/03: Calling on London
06/20/03: Too upsetting for the evening news?
06/12/03: Rain(es)ing Clintoon myths
06/05/03: Hillary-ous is pathetic
05/29/03: Shakedown
05/22/03: End of the last great persecution of the 20th century?
05/15/03 :‘Grey’ turns to grim at Times
05/08/03: The only intellectual force in Western history to gain moral superiority by being wrong
05/01/03: Dinning with Tom Wolfe: More lessons in nusual aspects of American life, hitherto ignored
04/28/03: Ambuscade at scholarly frontier
04/21/03: Stars in search of a galaxy
04/10/03: Baghdad Bob and Tom Daschle
03/31/03: When the media itself becomes the story
03/20/03: Revealed! Estrada is a gifted linguist -- a Japanese-American fluent in Spanish
03/14/03: Genuinely in charge
03/10/03: Stalin and Saddam
03/05/03: They just cannot stomach a protracted alliance with the Bushies
02/25/03: Identity gridlock
02/18/03: People calling Dean a fruitcake are underestimating his political savvy
02/13/03: The new political establishment
01/30/03: The time is now
01/27/03: Witnessing self-love by people completely incapable of self-criticism
01/21/03: Of course our kiddies are depressed
01/13/03: Why is it that Official Washington still believes that a tax reduction means a revenue reduction?
01/02/03: Missing Moi
12/27/02: The grizzled and menacing-looking senator in Confederate drag is … a Dem
12/24/02: Uprooting Christianity in the Holy Land
12/20/02: Under fire, Lott showed an ignobleness that is embarrassing
11/26/02: Bartley's enemies have been routed
11/14/02: Clarence Thomas and the segregationist Mississippi sheriff
11/07/02: I muffed up
10/31/02: Is the American university turning its back on change, on progress?
10/24/02: So why aren't the Dems buoyant?
10/17/02: Mourning the loss of the "yellow-belly"
10/10/02: American politics at its most ignominious
10/03/02: A man above the law, a bully
09/26/02: Is Bob Greene a victim of an anti-Clinton backlash?
09/19/02: I knew Mafiosi and …
09/12/02: Chickens and poseurs
09/05/02: Sympathizing with the Europols
08/29/02: 9-11 did not change us forever
08/22/02: Public persons frivoling with serious matters
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08/01/02: Believing the unbelievable
07/25/02: The congressional posse comitatus
07/18/02: Cosmopolitan Arab fashion
07/11/02: What the prez actually knows
07/04/02: The vindication of a truly original thinker
06/27/02: The perfect book for Hillary
06/20/02: To say that they were ordinary is not to slight them
06/13/02: Daschle must begin to act like an adult
06/06/02: Lack of "intelligence" --- and sheer stupidity
05/30/02: Revealing a carefully guarded media secret
05/23/02: In these times, thank Heaven for Clinton!
05/16/02: Fast Times at the Church of the Nativity
05/09/02: "Name the Prettiest Suicide Bomber"
05/02/02: Vindication for the Boy Scouts
04/25/02: A topic almost no other columnist will touch
04/18/02: 'Conventional Wisdom' --- and those who defy it
04/11/02: Let the Sun shine in
04/05/02: Hooded men of color in sheets
04/01/02: A McCain-Feingold Act for Hollywood
03/21/02: Yakkin' on Yates
03/15/02: No role for Paul Volcker in Enron: the movie
03/07/02: My membership in the Communist Party U.S.A.
02/27/02: This award is bestowed by 'contrarians'
02/21/02: Mike Tyson: Made for Washington?
02/14/02: Enron as underdog?
02/07/02: Freed from the presence of money -- hard or soft -- most politicians would be just as bad
01/31/02: Needed: Bush to make a preemptive strike against his enemies …. Ones who'd like to see him fail even during war
01/24/02: Hucksters will move on to make their next marks
01/17/02: Debonair prez should begin to do the High Life
01/10/02: Move over Twinkies --- "the acne medicine made him do it!"
01/03/02: Leaving the Nazis looking comparatively humane
12/27/01: A "self-made journalist"
12/20/01: Calamities and unanticipated benefits
12/13/01: America's grief ought not to give comfort to those who caused it
12/06/01: Leahy, the strict civil libertarian!? A short-term exploiter of the Constitution is more like it
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11/26/01: So, why don't more folks hate us?
11/15/01: America's quagmire and other certainties
11/09/01: No longer the smug statists, the prodigal Keynesians?
11/01/01: The New Seriousness
10/25/01: Bright lights and the Taliban
10/18/01: Is bin-Laden propaganda from Western intelligence?
10/12/01: No yellow ribbons
10/05/01: Bubba's back --- again!
09/28/01: Exposing peacetime's frauds
09/21/01: So protected, we're vulnerable
09/14/01: At Barbara Olson's home
09/11/01: Duh! All conservatives are racists
08/31/01: Arafat's terrorists have created their own hell
08/24/01: Time for some political prophecy
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08/10/01: Visiting the source of the White House braintrust
08/03/01: Morality and reality
07/31/01: Blinded by success?
07/24/01: The latest Kennedy capitulation in Massachusetts
07/13/01: Talk about tawdry
07/06/01: Delighting in the Dictator
06/29/01: The G-dphobes
06/21/01: Fashionable Washington is sempiternally in a stew
06/15/01: The limits of hypocrisy
06/08/01: Flagging our general apathy

© 2001, Creators Syndicate