Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Will image of consistency outweigh record of vacillation?

John Kerry at the debate last Thursday portrayed himself as consistent on Iraq:
I've had one position, one consistent position, that Saddam Hussein was a threat. There was a right way to disarm him and a wrong way. And the president chose the wrong way.
But his record belies his purported consistency. Consider two representative Kerry comments. The first is from the Democratic primary debate, May 3, 2003:
I think it was the right decision to disarm Saddam Hussein, and when the President made the decision, I supported him, and I support the fact that we did disarm him.
The second is from a September 6, 2004 speech where Kerry famously called the invasion of Iraq,
the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time.
How can you reconcile those statements with a "consistent" view of Iraq? You cannot. Unless people are not paying attention.

The frightening aspect of all this for me is that to the casual observer, Kerry can seem quite consistent and strong in any given speech, as he indeed seemed at the debate. Even a cursory look at his record dispells this consistency, but will the electorate, or more precisely the undecided portion of the electorate, study his record? If someone is still undecided now, I propose that that person has not studied the candidates' records and is unlikely to do so. Which means a consistent image in a few debates may carry more weight than a record.

I'm frightened.