Joe Klein on Johnny Cambodia's lame campaign
The real story is quite simple. Bush seems to believe what he says and Kerry doesn't quite...Of course, as Andrew points out, Kerry cannot appear to be good at war because this would alienate the Moore Democrats and the rest of the left who hunger for defeat.
A much stronger argument was available, given the recent events in Iraq: Bush has chosen not to fight in the Sunni triangle, and the war cannot be won until he does. "You can't allow the enemy to have sanctuaries and expect to win," John McCain told me. "You have to go in and dig them out."
Kerry could have challenged Bush: "Fight the war, Mr. President, or bring the troops home." It would have been blunt, strong, simple—indeed, simplistic, just as Bush often is—but it might also have put the President on the defensive for a change. Kerry wouldn't even have to say what he would do: he could legitimately argue that would depend on the situation on the ground in January. It would also, I suspect, reflect Kerry's true feelings: that Bush has waged an incompetent war in Iraq, which he is in serious danger of losing.
time via andrew sullivan
The bigger issue is that Kerry simply has never demonstrated much by way of conviction on the war or, for that matter, any other issue. Does Kerry have a personal political philosophy? Has he ever written it down? I meant it is great to joke about Kerry being on both sides, voting for and against; but is there any actual position which he has held consistently for more than one Senate election cycle?