Carol Platt Liebau

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Almost always, an unsuccessful presidential candidate retires quietly from the limelight -- perhaps to private life, perhaps back to a Senate seat. Here's an object lesson in why -- it's the transcript of Kerry's hour-long appearance on "Meet the Press" this morning.

Kerry came across as the same haughty, unapproachable fellow we saw on the campaign trail last year but now, he's "sour grapes," too -- an impression that's almost impossible to avoid when a losing candidate resurfaces to whine about the policies and practices of the winner. (He's also a flip-flopper; he voted for Justice Scalia to sit on the Supreme Court, before voting against him if he's nominated for Chief Justice.)

But the worst was this quote, right at the top of the program, on the topic of the legitimacy of the Iraqi election:

"I mean, it's hard to say that something is legitimate when a whole portion of the country can't vote and doesn't vote."

How shameful. How totally Kerry. Better to run down an extraordinary day in the history of democracy than to give one's adversary or his policies any credit. It will be interesting to see if voter turnout exceeds that in Massachusetts the last year Kerry was elected a senator. If it does, will Kerry deem his own reelection illegitimate???

It was also interesting to see that, with the election safely over, Russert pressed Kerry a little on his "Christmas eve in Cambodia" fabrication, but not enough to require Kerry even to approach setting the record straight.

Kerry also waded into the Social Security debate: If the president would say to us, "Look, let's all get together and make sure Social Security is going to be saved the way President Clinton did, for the long term, and we're going to do it without privatizing it but we'll find one of these ways of doing it that's responsible," we will be at the table and we will join him to depoliticize it.

Perhaps he doesn't understand that he lost. The President doesn't have to listen to him, and, frankly, neither does anyone else.

The entire interview leaves one with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the good sense of the American people. God bless those red states. And thanks again, Ohio.


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