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Most Excellent Mark Steyn
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The new conventional wisdom is that it was the sheer meanness of the Republicans that earned them the bounce, and so Kerry's hitting back saying he's not going to be criticised by a President and Vice-President who weren't in Vietnam. If you didn't serve in Vietnam, you can't criticise John Kerry. On the other hand, if you did serve in Vietnam and you criticise John Kerry, that just means you're a "Republican smear artist". Either way, don't criticise John Kerry, because, if you do, he'll spend his next 10 campaign rallies droning on about how he's not going to take criticism.
The Kerry campaign is a bore that's degenerating into a laughing stock.
"Bush-despising" is no doubt very comforting to McCrum's beleaguered literati but in the end it's little more than snobbery - fine for cocktail condescension but utterly inadequate for an election campaign. You can't beat something with nothing, and Kerry is about as spectacular a nothing as you could devise - a thin-skinned whiny vanity candidate who persists in deluding himself that Bush's advantage is all down to "smears" and "lies" and "mean" "attacks". It's not.
Bush's something is very simple: his view of the war on terror resonates with a majority of the American people; when he talks about 9/11 and the aftermath, they recognise themselves in his words; they trust his strategy on this issue. For an inarticulate man, he communicates a lot more effectively than Senator Nuancy Boy.
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"This Russian school business works for the Republicans," a Democrat griped to me over the weekend. Alas, it does - because it's a reminder for those who need it that the war on terror isn't some racket cooked up to boost Halliburton profits but a profound challenge to America and the world.
Could what happened in Beslan happen in the US? Two months ago, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported on a fellow called Mohamad Kamal Elzahabi, a suspected terrorist who'd fought with his fellow jihadi in Chechnya and somehow wound up in Minnesota, where he'd applied for licences to transport hazardous materials and drive school buses.
Absolutely READ IT ALL.