Hugh Hewitt - Principal Contributor
Hewitt is senior member of the CaliforniaRepublic.org editorial
board. [go to Hewitt index]
the War, Lead the World
A wartime President...
[Hugh Hewitt] 2/11/04
"Win the war, lead the world":
That's my suggestion for the Bush-Cheney 2004 slogan. It summarizes
the key message of the
coming campaign and contrasts nicely with John Kyoto Kerry's
view of the globe.
Josh Marshall and
some other pundits think the president's interview on "Meet the Press" was a mistake, which is why Josh
and his colleagues are scribblers and not running campaigns.
Most people haven't even seen the interview, but they have heard
its key messages: "I am a war president," "I did
the right thing in Iraq" and "I have been hearing the
National Guard nonsense since I first ran for governor, and it
is a bogus charge. I showed up. I was honorably discharged."
The first two are
the defining messages of 2004, the latter just one that needed
to get out once from the president. The
cranks won't be satisfied, but who cares. Not the president – he's
running a war.
Walter Shapiro gets
it: "The Democratic candidates, who
have been speaking mostly to audiences filled with partisans,
have fostered the notion that Bush is incapable of defending
his record as president. But in the Russert interview, Bush once
again exceeded the low expectations of his partisan critics.
Not only did the Oval Office setting underscore the power of
incumbency, but Bush, for all the obvious tension in the room,
came across as likable and presidential." Game, set, match.
Kerry's problem is
that he is campaigning on a premise that the war is either
over or that it never began – that terrorism's
threat has been exaggerated. I think a healthy majority of Americans
disagree with Kerry's assessment and that they won't trust him
to wage war with a ferocity they expect against an enemy that
has already killed thousands of Americans. Kerry's consistent
record is of misunderstanding the nature of threats to the United
States and of underestimating the necessary resolve and the necessary
tactics and weaponry to meet those threats.
Kerry also misunderstands
the essential dynamic of this campaign when he intones "Bring it on." The president won't "bring
it on." He's the incumbent. Kerry has to "bring it" to
the president, and the only way to do it is for Kerry to continue
to criticize the conduct of the war which, again, a strong majority
of Americans approve of. Perhaps he'll attack the polices that
led to the disarmament of Libya next? Or advocate for a return
to the golden era of U.S.-North Korean relations under Clinton-Albright?
Kerry seems set on
a strangely nostalgic course: An anti-war campaign by a senator
who voted for the war. Which is a bit like
the war-hero who came back from war only to testify – falsely – to
the war crimes he and his colleagues committed. I get the sad
sense that Kerry's going to be campaigning against himself for
the next nine months – the sort of self-indulgent psychodrama
that the self-absorbed among the boomers love, but which the
rest of us view as narcissism.
I think most of the voters will conclude we really can't afford
Hamlet as president and thus will reject Kerry decisively. We
are in a war. The war goes on. Win the war. Lead the world. Vote
Bush-Cheney in 2004.
Principal Contributor Hugh Hewitt is an author, television
and syndicated talk-show host of the Salem Radio Network's Hugh
Hewitt Show, heard in over 40 markets around the country.
He blogs regularly at HughHewitt.com and he frequently contributes opinion pieces to the Weekly
But Not Of
by Hugh Hewitt
by Hugh Hewitt
for God in America
by Hugh Hewitt