If Kerry had an Iraq policy that made sense, perhaps he could be making hay out of this. In fact, I want to offer a clipping from a parallel universe, one much like our own except for a different John Kerry campaign strategy:
EAST HAMPTON, NY (IP) -- Democratic Presidential nomineee John Kerry laughs when told that most voters don't realize that he served in Vietnam, winning three purple hearts, a bronze star, and a silver star.
"Why should they? That's several wars ago," Kerry laughs. "Old stuff. I'd much rather people be talking about my detailed plan to rebuild Iraq, using an oil trust mechanism that would give the Iraqi people a stake in reconstruction. That's why I focused on that in my acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention. What was I going to do, rehash events from 35 years ago?"
Kerry's friends say that, like other veterans, he's been known to tell a few tall tales about his service over beers with others who served, but that he seldom talks about his combat experience otherwise. "He's put that behind him," says his wife Teresa. "And he thinks it would be unbecoming to make a big deal about his service when others, like [Senator] John McCain or [former P.O.W.] Paul Galanti went through so much more."
"I would have invaded Iraq regardless of the WMD issue," Kerry observes. "Saddam Hussein was a threat, and a menace to his own people. And a free, democratic Iraq will be the first step toward addressing the 'root cause' of terrorism -- despotic Arab regimes that spew hatred to distract their people from their own tyranny. But as I said last year, the reconstruction needed more resources. That was why I voted for the $87 billion in reconstruction money, but urged the Bush Administration to ask for more, to do it right."
Kerry also takes a dim view of leftist filmmaker Michael Moore. "I think that his film 'Fahrenheit 9/11' was scurrilous and dangerous to the morale of our troops. That's why I asked that he be excluded from the Democratic Convention, despite Jimmy Carter's wishes. And that's why he wasn't seen there. In a time of war, we don't need guys like that. We can win this campaign based on our ideas, not propaganda films. That's also why I told Chris Matthews to 'stuff it' when he tried to make an issue out of President Bush's National Guard service."
Kerry's detailed plans for Iraq, and for carrying the war on terror to Al Qaeda and its backers elsewhere, seem to have left the Bush Administration floundering. Sources close to the Bush campaign say that some Bush operatives are considering an attack on Kerry's Vietnam record, but many are skeptical. "I don't think that'll work," says cyber-pundit Glenn Reynolds, who calls Kerry's Iraq plan promising. "Most voters have no idea Kerry was even in Vietnam. He never talks about it, so where's the traction? It's ancient history."
Others are even harsher. "They can't attack the message," says Matthew Yglesias of The American Prospect, a liberal publication. "So they're attacking the messenger. That's because they don't want to talk about Kerry's real accomplishments, the ones Kerry touted at the Convention, like his role in busting BCCI, the terrorists' money laundry. Kerry's talking about that, and his plans for Iraq, and they're talking about Vietnam? Who cares about that? Pathetic."
I'd actually prefer that parallel universe.
UPDATE: Tom Carr observes: "The Kerry 'Parallel Universe' wouldn't be so parallel if you replaced all the instances of Kerry w/Lieberman...including on the ballots. *sigh*"
Yeah. And reader Dave Schuler emails: "You'll make me weep. Why can't our reality be more like that beautiful fantasy?"
Beats me. Because Kerry couldn't have gotten the nomination if he'd sounded like Lieberman?
ANOTHER UPDATE: N.Z. Bear comments on this scenario.