Thursday, March 18, 2004

Soft on Defense

Dick Cheney gave an excellent defense of the administration's record on foreign policy and made the case for re-election yesterday at the Reagan Library. Among the highlights were the arguments that the U.S. is indeed at war and that seeing that war to victory means strengthening America's defense and maintaining confidence in America's principles. Cheney mentioned that America will always seek international support for fighting terrorism, but will never ask permission to defend itself. Some proof that our strategy is succeeding in altering a dangerous part of the world is the decision of Gahdafi in Lybia to disavow weapons of mass destruction.

Regarding John Kerry's assertion that foreign leaders prefer him to George Bush, Cheney made the commonsense remark that the American people (or is it the electoral college?) should elect the president, not foreign leaders. Cheney also criticized Kerry's record on national security, pointing out that Kerry voted against the Gulf War in 1991 and highlighting inconsistencies in how Kerry characterized that coalition at different times. Cheney also mentioned the inconsistencies of Kerry for voting for the use force against Saddam Hussein more recently and then saying that he only meant to allow the threat of using force. On Kerry's disparaging remarks about the current coalition, Cheney said, "He speaks as if only those who openly oppose America's objectives have a chance of earning his respect." Kerry has been consistently against military spending: "Over the years, he has repeatedly voted against weapons systems for the military. He voted against the Apache helicopter, against the Tomahawk cruise missile, against even the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. He has also been a reliable vote against military pay increases--opposing them no fewer than 12 times."

Democrats are trying desperately to shake the tag of "soft on defense." Cheney shows that this candidate cannot shake it. If they wanted to shake it, they should have nominated Joe Lieberman or brought Sam Nunn out of retirement. Actually, even Al Gore would be better on national security than John Kerry. From the Democrats, we will hear much whining, denying, finger-pointing, and general bellyaching for the next few months. All the GOP should do is incessantly repeat the points of this speech.


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