A single hatred in the absence of a single idea

Belmont Club:

David Frum examines the contradiction at the heart of the Democratic convention. It is the voice of a single hatred in the absence of a single idea. "The Democratic Party arrived in Boston emotionally united and intellectually divided. Democrats are united in their rage against and disdain for President Bush, but they are radically divided in their beliefs and loyalties." Frum goes on the catalogue how the bilocation of ideas has become curiously unimportant. In Boston, the Athens of America of all places, it is possible to believe in two mutually exclusive ideas or better yet, avoid committing to a single one.

On foreign policy, Mr Kerry has criticized Mr Bush from every angle, without ever worrying much about consistency. It has been, in a way, an impressive performance: Mr Kerry has criticized Mr Bush both for offending America's traditional allies in the Middle East, and also for not being tougher on the Saudis; both for siding too much with Israel while insisting that he would side with Israel just as much; both for requesting too much money for Iraq and also for not providing enough support to the troops there.

Mr Kerry has been hard-pressed to find issues that can unite his discordant party. The issue on which he has again and again fallen back is Mr Bush's alleged failure to internationalize the Iraq war. Michael Moore Democrats, who want America to evacuate Iraq immediately, and Thomas Friedman Democrats, who want America to commit to Iraq for the next decade, can at least agree that they wish the UN, France and Germany had bigger roles. This message has been music to many European ears. But now imagine that Mr Kerry has won ...


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