Gratuitous Pander

John Kerry, if reports are true, plans to tell us what he would do in the war.

Sen. John F. Kerry plans to hold a town hall meeting in Wisconsin on Monday, where he’ll discuss his plan to “build a stronger America after four years of wrong choices by George W. Bush.”

He’s also expected to keep up his newly focused criticism of the way the Bush administration has waged war in Iraq.

As he arrived in Wisconsin on Sunday, Kerry issued a statement noting the growing death toll among Americans in Iraq.

Kerry also reminded voters of President Bush’s May 1 visit to an aircraft carrier, where Bush proclaimed the end of major combat under a “Mission Accomplished” banner.

“My friends,” said Kerry on Sunday, “when the president landed on that aircraft carrier, 150 of our sons and daughters had given their lives. Since then, tragically, since he said ‘mission accomplished,’ tragically, over 900 more have died,” Kerry said, according to the statement released by his campaign.

President Bush did not use the phrase “mission accomplished” in his May 1 remarks on the USS Abraham Lincoln, although that’s what the banner behind him said. “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended,” President Bush said at the time.

Given his history, my guess is that Kerry will take more slams at Bush, while his policy proposals will be identical to Bush’s. That is the way he has run his campaign and it is the favorite method of running a campaign from the Clinton camp — adopt your opponent’s positions and beat the hell out of him.

The problem for Kerry going into the debates is, as everyone knows, he has already said all things to all people. Now he will have 90 minutes of unscripted coverage to contradict everything he has said. The one good thing for Kerry is that he is a great debater. He diverts attention from the question and attacks.

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Erick Erickson

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