Our good friend Rahul Mahajan recently concluded that candidate Kerry is being “illogical” vis-a-vis his stance on presidential powers with regard to warmaking. To me, it appears that for a would-be president, Kerry’s stance is remarkably logical, if also dispicable…
Regarding Kerry’s insistence that he’d still vote to give the president a blank check for warmaking, as he did in 2002, given the choice again, Kerry said, “I believe it’s the right authority for a president to have.”
This can only mean that he believes the president should have the authority to go to war on his own say-so, without needing Congressional approval. Of course, it’s equally likely that Kerry is simply continuing the stunning illogic that marks his campaign statements.
As I see it, Kerry’s stance serves his interests remarkably well. First, he’s dropped any notion of being the antiwar candidate. That was really just for the first phase of the Democratic primaries, until it was down to himself and Edwards (and the two “fringe”, authentically antiwar candidates).
Second, no candidate wants to admit that legislation they helped pass was bogus. That can’t really be spun so well.
But, third, the real zinger — it sets him up to request the very same powers a year down the road! He craves those powers — that’s the fun part of being president, remember. A year from now, when he is salivating over the annihiliation of this or that impoverished third world people, he doesn’t want his campaign statements to haunt him. Kerry doesn’t have to worry about confronting Congress — be it Democrat- or Republican-dominated –a Democratic president can stroll into wars with his eyes closed (see the 1990s). But he does have to worry about confronting ghosts from the campaign.
And now he’s insolated — if he loses the election, he can still say Bush does NOT deserve that authority, because he misused it. (Kerry thinks a president should have that kind of power, but not Bush.) But if he wins, he gets to plead for a chance to have the authority to bomb some poor country back to the stone age, as liberals like to put it.
Uncanny, if you ask me.