Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Quelle Horreur

The Republicans, desperate to find something - anything - that sticks, are now screaming like banshees over John Kerry's statement that some foreign leaders privately told him that they supported him.

Yes, I know that most people’s reaction is “Huh? So what?”

But it's not a bad tack for the Republicans to take, actually. Assuming that it's true, Kerry obviously can't name the names of these foreign leaders - it would be betraying a confidence. So the Republicans are trying to use his inability to get specific to make him look defensive and dishonest. He can't be specific and as long as he keeps refusing to be specific, they'll keep attempting to make hay out of it, and turn into a Patented Republican Mini-Scandal (TM).

Perhaps the smartest thing to do is to turn it around: does anyone seriously question that some foreign leaders support Kerry? Of course not. George W. Bush has done an astoundingly effective job of alienating almost the entire world, and everybody knows it. The only surprise is that there are still a few foreign leaders who support him. So there is real risk in the Republicans using this as a political weapon: it potentially highlights one of Dubya's big weaknesses: his relationships with foreign leaders, which stink.

Kerry can use this particular tempest in a teapot to point out the obvious: he doesn't have to name which foreign leaders support him, of course many foreign leaders support him and everyone with an ounce of sense knows it. The foreign leaders who support Bush are few in number, and dwindling daily.

What the neocons are probably hoping is that Kerry will name names – and of one of those names will turn out to be (horreurs!) French.

But the neocons inhabit their own little delusional world, and don't quite realize that normal people don't have apoplexy every time the French are mentioned.

They are - in some little twisted corner of their brains - hoping they can spend the next 8 months screaming "The French Like Kerry!" as though sane human beings would consider that a terrible thing.

But they don't, of course. And the "Freedom Fries" crowd isn't about to vote for John Kerry anyway.

Getting support from European Foreign Leaders - and we all know that many of them DESPISE George W. Bush - is a feather in Kerry's cap. Instead of being defensive, Kerry should use it to highlight Bush's systematic shredding of our world alliances.

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