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Jewish World Review Feb. 2, 2004/ 10 Shevat, 5763

Mark Steyn

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The Kerry biography: He's risen without trace |
For Howard Dean's Iowa concession speech, the decibel level was off the meter but the content was unexceptional — a list of states of the union, in no particular order, but still reasonably accurate. For his New Hampshire concession speech, the decibel level was much reduced but the content was a lot wackier. As Gov. Dean told his dwindling army of groupies:

''The biggest loss that we've suffered in this country since George Bush has been president is our loss of our sense of community.''

Really? The loss of ''our sense of community'' is a bigger loss than, say, the loss of 3,000 civilians?

Howard Dean was speaking from a script, and after the previous week's debacle, you can bet his remarks were examined beforehand by his various campaign gurus. And apparently not one of them thought that this was an odd formulation, and that in itself is sadly revealing. In the Democratic consciousness, Sept. 11 has shriveled away, dwarfed by the greater evil of George W. Bush and his assault on ''our sense of community.''

Well, Dean's done: Like his fellow Vermonters Ben and Jerry, he couldn't manage the transition from a niche boutique specialty to a mass brand. He's been whipped by John Kerry. But just because the Massachusetts senator is a mediocre establishment weathervane pol whose rhetorical style is a model of sonorous monotony doesn't mean his statements aren't just as goofy as Dean's. When I caught him on the stump in New Hampshire, he was still using his line about how, instead of building a ''legitimate coalition,'' Bush ''built a fraudulent coalition.''

''Fraudulent''? Kerry makes much of his rapport with veterans, but I'd love to see him tell the brave British, Australian and Polish troops who helped liberate the Iraqi people that their participation was ''fraudulent,'' just as I'd love to see Maureen Dowd, who dismisses the coalition as ''a gaggle of poodles and lackeys,'' tell Britain's Desert Rats or the big beefy Fijians escorting Iraqi currency exchange convoys that they're ''poodles.'' Indeed, I'd gladly fly Kerry and Dowd first-class to Iraq and put them up in the best hotel in Basra (separate rooms, I hasten to add) just for the privilege. The reaction of these allies might even startle Kerry's features from their present allegedly Botoxicated immobility.

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But just to make it simple: The G-7 comprises the world's major industrial democracies. Aside from America, there are six other countries. Three — the United Kingdom, Italy and Japan — have troops in Iraq. Three — France, Germany and Canada — do not. So a majority of G-7 nations are members of this ''fraudulent coalition.'' Eleven of the 19 NATO members have contributed troops to the ''fraudulent coalition.'' Thirteen of the 25 members of the newly enlarged European Union have forces serving in the ''fraudulent coalition.''

So, when John Kerry pledges to rebuild America's international relationships, what he means is that he disagrees with the majority of G-7 governments, NATO governments, European governments and key regional players in Asia and the Pacific, as well as the people of Iraq.

On the other hand, Kerry's position has the support of a majority of the Arab League.

So the question all self-respecting multilateralists need to ask themselves this November is whether America can afford the immense damage that would be done to its key international relationships by electing an arrogant Massachusetts cowboy with a reckless tendency to shoot from the lip. It's all too easy to picture the Ketchup Kid swaggering into a G-7 summit, his nimble fingers reaching for his E-Z-Squeeze bottles and squirting the red stuff over the British, Italian and Japanese delegations while Jacques Chirac shouts ''Bravo!''

President Bush tried gently in his State of the Union speech to draw attention to the contribution of America's allies. Perhaps, like Dean listing states, he would have been better to shriek them out: ''AND WE'VE GOT TROOPS FROM UKRAINE!! AND WE'VE GOT TROOPS FROM HONDURAS!!! AND WE'VE GOT TROOPS FROM THAILAND!!!! EEEAAAAAARRRRGGGHHHHH!'' But it's doubtful whether even that would penetrate the psychological isolationism of the Democratic candidates. They're the ones who are disengaged from the world, not Bush.

In that sense, Kerry is the perfect embodiment of the nullity of the modern Democratic Party. It was once said of the British TV host David Frost that he'd ''risen without trace.'' That's John Kerry, a man who's risen without trace, from lieutenant governor to senator and maybe to president, with no accomplishment to show for it other than his own advance in status. Kerry the soldier was a brave man in Vietnam. But Kerry the politician uses his military record as cover for his public service record, which boils down to a quarter-century of finger-in-the-windiness passed off as bold and courageous. How typical the senator is of Vietnam veterans I leave for others to judge. But he's an all too apt embodiment of the Vietnam era: of the fatal lack of resolution that damaged America's standing in the world and emboldened its enemies. And, if Kerry genuinely believes that Tony Blair is ''fraudulent,'' it helps explain a lot of what's wrong with the modern Democratic Party, which would be in much better shape if it was headed by a Blair rather than a Kerry.

No doubt the senator would say that's not what he means. No doubt he has some convoluted answer to explain that when he sneers that Blair and Australia's John Howard are ''fraudulent'' allies it is in fact a sign of his great respect for them. That seems to be his standard explanation — that all his big votes mean the exact opposite of what they appear to. His vote against the first Gulf War was, he says, a sign of his support for the first Gulf War. Whereas his vote in favor of the Iraq war was a sign of his opposition to the Iraq war. And his vote against funding America's troops in Iraq is a sign of his support for America's men and women in uniform.

On the same principle, I think the best way voters this November can demonstrate their support for Kerry is by voting against him. Just a suggestion.

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JWR contributor Mark Steyn is North American Editor of The (London) Spectator and the author, most recently, of "The Face of the Tiger," a new book on the world post-Sept. 11. (Sales help fund JWR). Comment by clicking here.

01/26/04: Mad Dr. Dean jolts Kerry campaign to life
01/21/04: Undoing the party herd
01/13/04: llIegals the political 'untouchables'
01/05/04: Don't leave Saddam trial to the 'jet set'
12/30/03: Doers and disparagers
12/23/03: Spates of denial
12/16/03: Defiant? He's a Ba'athist who won't bath
12/10/03: Rummy speaks the truth, not gobbledygook
12/02/03: War on terror can't stop with Iraq
11/24/03: It's not Vietnam and Bush is no Kennedy
11/12/03: There is a Cold War between the US and the EU
10/28/03: Muslim paranoia: Enemies made us impotent!

10/28/03:The CIA scandal is important not because it put an agent's life at risk — it didn't — but because it shows that US Intelligence is either obstructive or inept
10/08/03: Palestinian death cult
09/29/03: Bring on the capitalists
09/22/03: Here comes General Clark, his policies will follow shortly
09/17/03: Don't wait for government protection
09/11/03: Predators aren't looking for peace
09/02/03: This is Hillary's moment — You go, girl!
08/29/03: There are now calls for greater UN involvement in Iraq. Thatís the last thing the country needs
08/26/03: There's only one hyperpower — so everything is our fault
08/04/03: The White Man's Burden
07/29/03: Bill Clinton got this right
06/25/03: It's Mullah time!
05/07/03: What counts is what a guy does when he's not talking
04/30/03: It's named UNSCAM for a very good reason!
04/14/03: Movers and shakers have moved on to the next 'disaster'
03/25/03: Give Saddam credit
03/18/03: 'Eurabia' will have to look after herself
02/27/03: Death wish
02/19/03: The curtain will come down on the peaceniks
02/10/03: Let's quit the UN
02/03/03: Columbia reality-check
01/29/03: Go forth and multiply
01/09/03: America's fake identity crisis
12/31/02: GOP underperforms, but Dems are laughable
11/26/02: A bombing pause --- for 12 months!?
10/30/02: Stop making excuses for Muslim extremists
09/27/02: The more inventively you try to ''explain'' the Islamist psychosis as a rational phenomenon to be accommodated, the more you risk sounding just as nutty as them
08/23/02: Battered Westerner Syndrome inflicted by myopic Muslim defenders
08/09/02: Friends in low places
08/02/02: Armageddon out of here
07/26/02: Enjoy the ''scandal'' while you can, lads
07/16/02: Arafat is toast; Bush knows it --- so why doesn't the rest of the world?
07/10/02: Hey, FBI: So, denial really is a river in Egypt!
06/20/02: A fight to the finish
06/11/02: Rock, royalty a good match
05/31/02: Unless we change our ways ... the world faces a future where things look pretty darn good
05/24/02: Sweet land of liberty: Britain and Europe have free governments, but only in the US are the people truly free
05/14/02: Extreme hypocrisy in the pursuit of 'peace' is ...
05/10/02: The home office of extremism
05/01/02 Slipping down the Eurinal of history: France, the joke is on you
04/23/02 It's time to snap out of Arab fantasy land
04/16/02 Mideast war exposes 'ugly Europeans'
04/09/02 Arafat has begun his countdown to oblivion. Now it's time to crush the Palestinian uprising
03/27/02 The good, the bad and the Gallic shrug
03/20/02 Grand convocation of the weird

© 2004, Mark Steyn