Friday, September 03, 2004

Answering Josh Marshall

Looking for liberal reaction to Bush's speech tonight, I surfed to Talking Points Memo. As of this posting there is nothing on Bush's speech, but Josh Marshall has laid down a weird challenge:
I don't know if George Pataki or the others can point to where John Kerry said he would only attack terrorists after they attacked us first.
Well, Josh, perhaps you didn't find Kerry's acceptance speech at the Democratic convention very memorable, so let me remind you of a key line. In an effort to prove his strength on terror, Kerry said,
I defended this country as a young man and I will defend it as President. Let there be no mistake: I will never hesitate to use force when it is required. Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response.
Zell Miller and George Pataki simply pointed out that we've already been attacked.

Update: A Marshall urges me via e-mail to read Kerry's speech closer: "Does he say he'll only attack if attacked first?"

Let's look at what Pataki said at the convention (since that was what Marshall was referring to in the first place):
Where does Senator Kerry stand on all this? In Boston, he said that in the future "any attack would be met with a swift and certain response."

Well, respectfully Senator, that's not good enough.

We've already been attacked, time and again.
Pataki quoted Kerry verbatim, then showed why Kerry's approach is not good enough. Pataki's point is valid, even essential.

We have been attacked. We are at war against terrorism. Kerry should be talking about how he will win this war, rather than describing a future response to a possible future attack. We no longer need to wait for provocation; the provocation is there. Waiting could be deadly.

Perhaps this is a fundamental difference between the mindsets of the two candidates. Bush understands that waiting for a future attack could be deadly to us; he believes the war is on and we need to take it to the enemy. Kerry has not been persuasive that he believes this, certainly not through his comments at the convention.