New Dean, old Kerry

Mark Steyn:


"Not even Al Gore, in his bewildering array of alternative identities, managed to be both crazy and comatose in the same week. The former governor seems to have come up with his own variation on the fiscally conservative/socially liberal shtick: vote for Dean — fiscally balanced, emotionally unbalanced.


"That brings us to the 'Comeback Kerry,' as he styled himself last Monday, though even his missus, Theresa Heinz, could only force a grin at that line. In Iowa, the Ketchup Kid left Mr. Dean lying in a big pool of red sticky stuff, and establishment Dems breathed a sigh of relief. But it's hard to see why. Consciously or otherwise, Democrats seemed to be trying to neutralize the war as an issue — the overwhelming majority is still opposed to it. But in Iowa they just wanted it to go away, so they could get back to talking about their issues — health, education, mandatory bicycling helmets, etc.

"That sounds fine in theory. But let's suppose it works, and the Democrats nominate Mr. Kerry, whose argument is that, because he's a veteran, his plan to give Jacques Chirac a veto over American foreign policy sounds butcher than it would coming from Dennis Kucinich. Fine. But take away the war from Mr. Kerry and what's left? An old-school Massachusetts liberal. Not a mere lieutenant, but a mere lieutenant-governor. To Michael Dukakis.

"Mr. Kerry's record on domestic issues is well to the left of Mr. Dean's, and a much fatter target for Republicans. In brief, he is soft on drug pushers and murderers, big on tax increases and partial-birth abortion.

"If I were President Bush and I had to choose between running against Howard Dean's Vermont or John Kerry's Massachusetts, I know which guy I would be rooting for.

"So that's the net result of the Democrats' moment of sanity in Iowa. The runaway favorite for the nomination is an unimaginative doctrinaire New England Democrat, and his principal rival is a paranoid narcissist who thinks Mr. Bush is a deserter who allowed the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, to happen."

Instead of "Comback Kerry," I suggest "Ketchup Kerry."


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