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  • Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal

    Tuesday, August 31, 2004

    With friends like these... 

    It was fight night at the Garden again.

    Rudy Giuliani, tough guy former mayor of New York City, boxed John Kerry's ears pretty good. Rocky woulda been proud.

    Maybe Giuliani didn't bother listening to Arizona Sen. John McCain, a pretty tough guy himself. McCain preceded Giuliani in the opening-night lineup of the Republican National Convention primetime speakers at Madison Square Garden.

    They each had their jobs to do. McCain's was to tie Saddam Hussein into the larger war on terror, weapons of mass destruction or no weapons of mass destruction. McCain did a soft-spoken, heart-felt job of it that would have been the right case to make for war in Iraq. Unfortunately, President George W. Bush and his buds have failed to make it.

    McCain knows more about tough and war than either President George W. Bush, the commander in chief, or Giuliani, who won a suffering nation's respect with his steadiness on 9/11 and in the days to follow. McCain spent five years in a North Vietnamese prison, two of those in isolation.

    When McCain talks about war, people listen. Interestingly, McCain listens, too. It is a unique quality in these days of partisan politics.

    McCain, for instance, listened when his fellow Vietnam veteran John Kerry came under attack from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. He stood by Kerry, just, like the good soldier he still is, he stood by his president Monday night and made Bush's argument more eloquently than Bush ever has.

    And though he took a couple of potshots at liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, who was in the Garden, McCain sold the idea that even in these contentious times, the these arguments are among friends.

    McCain should have followed Giuliani, whose stories about New York construction workers were a hoot even if the manner in which he belittled Kerry was not.

    It was the same old accusation: Kerry is inconsistent and lacks a taste for the fight. (This on the day when the Bush campaign spent much of its time trying to explain why the president seemed to reverse himself by saying that the war on terror cannot be won.)

    Giuliani could have carried the president's water without torching Kerry. But he didn't.

    So much for arguments among friends.

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 2:06 AM

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