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Thursday, October 14, 2004

One Hand Tied
I wondered (as I know many people did) why in the first debate President Bush seemed unwilling to say some things that would have buttressed his case for decisions he made. This American Spectator article posits exactly the point that's been rattling around in my head.
But consider President Bush's situation -- the situation of any President in wartime, faced with an ad-lib partisan debate. There are far more things he can't say than those he can, because the President actually is in the game of world politics. What he says could fracture alliances, end relationships, start wars. And some of his best ripostes are barred to him because of that.
I'll give just one example (there are other excellent ones in the piece). When Kerry charged that under Bush America "turned its back on its traditional alliances" and "failed to bring aboard our traditional allies" in the war on terror. It would have nice to hear the President say,
"What countries are you talking about there, Senator? France, maybe? Did you know that France was bribed by Saddam Hussein through the Oil for Food program, to the tune of X billion dollars? And that France sold weapons to Saddam right through our war in 2003?"
But a president shouldn't say those kinds of things. Bush makes that point well when he chides Kerry for speaking ill of our current allies. (Proof that Kerry is not ready for the office.) The President was willing to restrain himself for the good of the country, Kerry will hold back nothing to win - the country's good be damned!

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