This one from David Brooks, the NY Times second house conservative hired to "balance out" the paper's liberals (Frank Rich, Bob Herbert, Paul Krugman, Maureen Dowd, Thomas Friedman, every member of the editorial board, etc.).
After noting Kerry's strident calls for strengthening the military and the small parade of retired generals supporting Kerry (as opposed to the division-sized group that support Bush), Brooks made the following observation:
Maybe the Democratic Party is going to recapture the security policy credibility it had during the Truman and Kennedy years. Maybe this display of McCainiac muscular moderation is not just a costume drama, but the real deal. Maybe hope is really on the way!
Alas it was not to be, as Brooks realized by reading the rot that Kerry read from the TelePrompTer Thursday night:
I should never have gone back and read the speech again. I should never have gone back on Friday morning, in the unforgiving light of day, and re-examined the words Kerry had so forcefully uttered the night before.
What an incoherent disaster. When you actually read for content, you see that the speech skirts almost every tough issue and comes out on both sides of every major concern. The Iraq section is shamefully evasive. He can't even bring himself to use the word "democratic" or to contemplate any future for Iraq, democratic or otherwise. He can't bring himself to say whether the war was a mistake or to lay out even the most meager plan for moving forward. For every gesture in the direction of greater defense spending, there are opposing hints about reducing our commitments and bringing the troops home.
He proves in the speech that he can pronounce the word "alliances," and alliances are important, but alliances for what? You can't base an entire foreign policy on process.
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And it all brings back the memories of Kerry the senator. For though convention viewers may not be aware of it, Kerry has actually had a career since his four months in Vietnam - mostly in the Senate. It's not true that Kerry is a flaming lefty (he's a genuine budget hawk and he voted for welfare reform), but he was wrong about just about every major foreign policy judgment of the last two decades. He voted against the first gulf war, against many major weapons systems. He fought to reduce the defense budget. He opposed the deployment of intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe in the early 1980's. He supported the nuclear freeze. His decision to authorize war in Iraq but vote against financing the occupation is the least intellectually coherent position of all possible alternatives.
The upshot of all this: it's a vast LEFT-wing conspiracy:
. . . As a friend joked, from the voters of Iowa to the delegates in Boston, there's been a vast left-wing conspiracy to present a candidate who looks like a muscular moderate, but they picked someone who is not in his heart of hearts a muscular moderate, or anything else.