The Kerry people are taking the Clinton "war room" strategy--which was designed to respond to Republican allegations within the same news cycle--and going it one better. Kerry began the campaign determined to respond to the Republicans immediately, and in some cases in advance of whatever the Republicans were planning to do. This is how it was explained back in March, when the Kerry people were feeling their oats:
In fact, the Kerry campaign does not wait to respond. Thursday, hours before the Bush campaign began its first television ads attacking Kerry, the senator's "war room" had distributed rebuttal facts by e-mail to hundreds of political reporters, set up a conference call with Kerry surrogates, and made Kerry officials available to television news programs. It also responded with TV ads of its own Friday.
But while there is some virtue in being able to immediately formulate and publish a position, you run the risk that your "rapid response" position might be ill considered and--well--stupid. That is the only excuse I can give Kerry and the Democrats for their reaction to the recent speech to Congress byIraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.
Allawi's speech was upbeat; he said that things were getting better, and that we were winning the war on terror. Allawi was also profuse in his gratitude to America for ridding his country of Saddam Hussain and trying to bring Democracy to his country.
There are no words that can express the debt of gratitude that future generations of Iraqis will owe to Americans. It would have been easy to have turned your back on our plight, but this is not the tradition of this great country, nor for the first time in history you stood up with your allies for freedom and democracy.
Kerry's "rapid response" was to suggest that this man, who is our critical ally against some of the most dangerous and evil people the world has seen, was lying when he said things were getting better.
I think the prime minister is, obviously, contradicting his own statement of a few days ago, where he said the terrorists are pouring into the country.
And Joe Lockart, who hasn't even climbed out the CBS/National Guard Memo hole, finds another ditch to stumble into, by suggesting that Allawi is a puppet of the American government:
"The last thing you want to be seen as is a puppet of the United States, and you can almost see the hand underneath the shirt today moving the lips," said Joe Lockhart, a senior Kerry adviser.
Frankly, this is unbelievable. It is one thing to criticize Bush's handling of the war, but to attack and undermine a critical ally while we are in the middle of a war is just nuts, as Ann Althouse says better than I could have.
The fact that your "rapid response" might be a stupid response you will have to live with was pointed almost half a millenia ago, by Sir Thomas More, in the classic "Utopia". Utopia is More's vision of a perfect society, and one of the rules he created for governing was that nothing should ever be debated on the first day it was proposed, for fear that a lawmaker would take a dumb position right out of the gate and feel compelled by ego to stick with it against the public interest:
One rule observed in their Council, is, never to debate a thing on the same day in which it is first proposed; for that is always referred to the next meeting, that so men may not rashly, and in the heat of discourse, engage themselves too soon, which might bias them so much, that instead of consulting the good of the public, they might rather study to support their first opinions, and by a perverse and preposterous sort of shame, hazard their country rather than endanger their own reputation, or venture the being suspected to have wanted foresight in the expedients that they at first proposed.
I don't know what Kerry studied at Yale, but I guess it wasn't the classics.