The Nudnik File

Nudnik - n. U.S. colloq. Esp. in Jewish usage: a pestering, nagging, or irritating person

Saturday, October 09, 2004


              Adults and Children
Throughout the first three debates, something very clear has emerged - the views of how to deal with terrorism, one of the most important issues of this election differ greatly. For Kedwards, fighting terrorism means finding bin Laden, and then presumably putting him on trial. For Bush and Cheney, fighting terrorism means ensuring that terrorists don't have a place to hide anywhere in the world; and if that means we need to take down more Islamofascist regimes, so be it. Kedwards view is September 10th thinking, a Clintonian approach to terrorism that led to increased attacks on the US, but at least the US was popular with Europe and the fight was relatively easy - no huge expenditures on military or other defense related matters. Bush and Cheney understand that 9/11 changed the way we must view terrorism; they recognized that Podhoretz's evaluation of the War on Terror as World War IV is correct, and they have proceeded accordingly, despite the discontent that this produced in Europe and on the East River.

Mark Steyn, looking at the Vice-Presidential debate, doesn't believe that Americans will return to a September 10th thinking, no matter how tempting it may be.
And yet, if you're as invested as the Democrats are in reconstructing the cardboard facade of Sept. 10, I can understand why you'd think Pretty Boy did a grand job last Tuesday. That's what my tennis/football analogy boils down to: One team's playing by Sept. 11 rules, the others are running a Sept. 10 campaign. I find it hard to believe that 51 percent of folks in states totaling 270 electoral votes are willing to cast a delusional ballot to return to the fictions of Sept. 10. But, if they are, so be it. If a majority of Americans want to pretend that the U.N. isn't a sewer of corruption and that the French are America's allies, not Saddam's, well, we'll just have to live with the consequences.

Asked about his qualifications to be vice president and thus -- in the event of John Kerry being felled by a grisly windsurfing tragedy -- president and commander in chief, John Edwards talked about what ''the American people want in their president and in their vice president.'' First, he said, ''they want to know that their president and their vice president will keep them safe.''

Oh, phooey. That would be a neat line if the American people had all got lead-poisoning and hired you to file the all-time class-action suit on their behalf. But no president can guarantee safeness in unsafe times. What he can do is demonstrate the necessary will to roll back the threat and exterminate it, and encourage the American people to maintain that resolve, too -- as Churchill did in Britain's darkest hour, after the fall of France and with German invasion imminent, when he told the people ''you can always take one with you.'' In time of war, free peoples don't stay free if they look to a smooth-talking shyster-president to shelter them in the embrace of the nanny-state.

The strongest force in international affairs is inertia. It's everywhere: a continuous pressure from the U.N., the EU, the Chinese, the Arab League, the State Department and half the federal bureaucracy to do nothing about anything -- do nothing about the Sudanese genocide until everyone's dead, do nothing about Iran's nuclear program until it's complete and the silos are loaded, do nothing about anything except hold meetings and issue statements of concern. To resist the allure of inertia will require enormous will, not just from the president but from the American people. After the vice presidential debate, it was said by many on the right that Dick Cheney came over as the grown-up and John Edwards as the callow youth. But that goes for the audience too. Cheney treated the American people as grown-ups, Edwards condescended to the electorate as a nation of coatless girls. He's wrong, I hope.
|| Nudnik 10:47 AM
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