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Tuesday, October 05, 2004

"Global Test" Attacks Fails the Smell Test

Tom Oliphant is too pro-Kerry to rely on for objective analysis, though he does have a good column today on how Bush's efforts to make hay out of Kerry's "global test" comment in last week's debate hasn't worked:

The phrase his campaign jumped on, was the "global test" that Kerry said the use of force by this country inevitably faces. The problem for Bush was that more than 60 million people witnessed what Kerry actually said in Florida, and the president was selling too obvious a distortion of it.

Instead of submitting American interests to international veto, here is what Kerry actually said in the first debate:

"No president, through all of American history, has ever ceded, nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America.

"But if and when you do it, you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people, understand fully why you're doing what you're doing, and you can prove it to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons."

The lesson here is that you can get away with distorting a few words taken out of context from a political opponent's speech when that speech is one of the many campaign events that no one sees in full. But everyone saw the presidential debate in context. By "global test" Kerry meant a decision on pre-emptive war had to make sense in terms of our overall foreign policy in the world. Unlike, ahem, a certain war the current president decided to start.

I guess my faith in the power of the debates was underestimated.

After the battle between George Bailey and Mr. Potter in Cleveland tonight, the rematch at the top of the ticket comes Friday in St. Louis. What's up with the Friday night debate? Isn't that encroaching into the weekend time a little bit? Won't the TV audience be smaller?