For an hour Sunday, John Kerry took one hit after another from NBC‘s Tim Russert over inconsistencies ranging from Vietnam to Iraq. But it was Senator Kerry‘s flippant response to an old tape that Tim Russert unearthed that could have caused the most damage. In that tape, the then war protester John Kerry dramatically recounted specific war crimes that he committed against the people of Vietnam, including killing citizens in no fire zones and burning villages to the ground.
When asked to respond, the senator made a joke about his hair and said that his statements were fueled by youthful anger. Now, while John Kerry proved himself to be much more articulate in his meeting with Tim Russert than the president, the liberal Massachusetts senator still seems to be torn between telling Americans what he really believes and what he thinks they want to hear him say.
I learned in my first political campaign that voters will forgive a politician for just about everything, other than flip-flopping. Maybe that‘s why John Kerry‘s still trailing George Bush in the polls despite the fact that America is suffering through one of its worst months in Iraq yet.
For John Kerry to win, he has got to find his voice and speak to his beliefs without apology and speak it straight and strong to the American people, because John Kerry‘s learning right now that the American people aren‘t going to let him both ways on the war or on taxes or on homeland security and on 1,000 other issues.
He‘s got to stand up and be counted or else he can count on being swept to defeat this fall.