Presidential debates usually are overrated, but the 2004 foreign-policy contest was informative. Although John Kerry is not an attractive personality, he knows the issues. George W. Bush knows his lines.
Americans undoubtedly were relieved when the President declared, “I know that Osama bin Laden attacked America.” Apparently, he has learned something while in office.
To his credit, the President opposes sending troops into the Sudan, questions the usefulness of the United Nations, and rejects U.S. membership in the International Criminal Court. The President, however, does not recognize the mess he has created in Iraq. He will not acknowledge that his arguments for invading Iraq were erroneous. And he will never, ever admit that he has made a mistake.
Indeed, it is hard to know what Bush really believes. The President offered slogans rather than facts. For instance, he repeatedly insisted that Kerry could not serve as commander in chief after saying that Iraq was “the wrong war at the wrong time at the wrong place.” That is, even when it becomes evident that a war was based on falsehoods, the peace was bungled, and the conflict was creating more terrorists, a president must claim the contrary. Americans must not think that their rulers have erred. It’s North Korean-style governance.
Kerry danced around...