Given the political corner Mr. Kerry has painted himself into, it's not surprising that his advisers are urging him to start concentrating on the economy. But Iraq is still the great crisis confronting the United States. While the temptation to dodge it at this point is natural, Mr. Kerry should resist.
But Kerry is too indecisive to go all out with this focus on domestic things that people, like Clinton, are advising him to adopt. Kerry merges things. It's really nuanced. It goes like this: "Two hundred billion for Iraq, but they tell us we can't afford after-school programs for our children." I'm not looking at the whole text of the speech, but what is the point? Are we to think he's going to withdraw spending from Iraq and hand it over to after-school programs? Or just spend on both? I see that later in that speech he said "[Bush] doesn't believe that America can be strong in the world while we also make progress here at home. That's a false choice, and I reject it." So I guess, pinned down, he would have to concede that what he's asking for is massive new spending on domestic programs, but I think the rhetoric was designed to make listeners think he's planning to transfer the spending from Iraq to tangible things that voters can enjoy at home. He's going to make our schools great. That will be so nice for the children. I wonder if the school in Beslan had nice after-school programs. But if you say, don't we need to worry about security for domestic happiness to work? He might snap at you and say "You're not listening."