Last night, President Bush made a forceful case for staying the course in Iraq and boldly tied that goal to his own re-election….
So far, Bush has the upper hand in this argument. Even as he and John Kerry muddle toward an awkward role for the United Nations in Iraq, Bush is doing so while maintaining the appearance of certitude about his course. Meanwhile Kerry hasn’t figured out how to define a clear alternative. Unlike his bold (but all too brief) call to honor the democratic process in Haiti, Kerry is trying to have it every which way but sideways on Iraq. Unfortunately, that sliver of Americans in the confused middle on this election are more likely to be swayed by certitude than caution. And you can’t beat something with nothing.
That should be the it’s-the-economy-stupid of this election: You can’t beat something with nothing.
Iraq could defeat Bush if Kerry has a strong alternative. But with nothing, Bush wins.
Micah analyzes polls on Iraq and sees a more complex picture than some: We do want to do right there:
There’s a deeper pattern at work here, in my view. Many Americans believe that the United States can be a positive force in the world. It’s part of our founding mythology