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Inside the minds of John Kerry and John Edwards

…is a very small, very dark place.

OK, now that the cheap shot is out of the way, it's time to get serious.

John Kerry and John Edwards are, at their core, lawyers and legislators. In essence, they are practitioners and crafters of law - creatures of law. Kerry was a prosecuting attorney, then a private-practice lawyer Edwards spent years becoming the most renowned personal-injury lawyer in North Carolina. Insurance companies used to hold seminars in "defending against John Edwards."

George Bush and Dick Cheney, on the other hand, have spent the largest portions of their careers in executive positions, both in government and in the private sector.

Lawyers tend to be reactive thinkers. They react to situations and challenges. They look for loopholes in the rules to give them the edge, and focus relentlessly on outmaneuvering their adversaries. They are champions of the great game.

Legislators think in terms of laws and consensus. When confronted with a threat, their instinct is to gather support and pass laws. In effect, they want to redefine the rules and coerce their opponents to play by those rules.

Executives tend to be more pro-active thinkers. They look ahead to future threats, and plan accordingly. They don't think in terms of winning and losing, but in terms of victory and defeat. Survival and destruction. They are warriors and leaders.

(Note: this is all grotesquely generalized, but I think it's symbolically true.)

This can be no better symbolized by Kerry's plan for dealing with future terrorist threats. Kerry wants to pump more money into hiring more paramedics, police officers, firefighters, and other First Responders. He is, in effect, expecting another attack. He is expecting to fail in preventing another attack.

Even before he went to law school, John Kerry was a lawyer at heart. When the mission of the Swift Boats changed from security to active combat, he discovered a rule that said anyone who received three Purple Hearts could request a transfer out of combat. Kerry's one-year tour was cut short after he received his three Purple Hearts (one which was treated with a Band-Aid, and none of them required any hospitalization).

This is a continuation of the Clinton policy, when we had two other lawyers (Bill and Hillary) running the country. They treated the war on terror as a matter of law. They fought the terrorists with police, with the FBI, with prosecutors, with judges. They passed more and more laws to punish those terrorists when they were caught.

President Bush broke this model. He realized you don't fight wars with handcuffs, with warrants, with juries and big public trials. You fight wars with warriors. He unleashed the armed forces against those who were doing war against us, and started crushing them.

We are a nation of laws. That is a great thing, something which we should be rightfully proud of in this world of tyrannies and dictatorships and anarchists. But we have gone too far. We have allowed the practitioners of law to become the makers of law and the executors of law. We have allowed them to take the majesty of the law and twist it, raise it out of the grasp of the common person. They have insinuated themselves into nearly every aspect of our lives. We run to lawyers whenever we think we might be in trouble. We hide behind them. We hear their ads on the radio and watch their ads on TV - there's even one in Massachusetts who openly brags about his ability to defeat drunk-driving charges. We even have bumper stickers that brag that "my lawyer can beat up your lawyer."

It's gotten very bad, and I don't know how much worse it can get. I have absolutely no desire to learn just how bad it can get. But I do know that it won't get much better if we put two more lawyers in the White House.



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Comments (29)

I just want to be the first... (Below threshold)

I just want to be the first to question the timing of your posting these thoughts.

(But I see where you're coming from, and never really thought of it that way. An interestingly deep thought for a Sunday.)

OK, Tony, you caught me. I ... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

OK, Tony, you caught me. I wrote this a while ago, and was just waiting for the right time to release it. And when I saw Paul score yet ANOTHER Instalanche, while I have yet to get my FIRST, jealousy overwhelmed me and I tossed it up to push his piece further down the page.

It's only fair. He did it to me a few weeks ago.

My sole consolation is that I've talked to Michelle Malkin and Kevin's actually worked with her, but Paul's life is still, sadly, Malkin-deficient.

BTW, Tony, did you get your mail notification yet? You were one of the winners in my Convention Coverage Contest last week.


Yeah, I got the mail. WOOHO... (Below threshold)

Yeah, I got the mail. WOOHOO!!! Though I already have a G-Mail account, I guess if you really need to get rid of it, I'll take another.

What were the right answers, anyway?

terrific, well thought out.... (Below threshold)

terrific, well thought out. As a former court administrator, have seen laywers in action, the only addition I can make. The end justifies the means, whatever it takes, lies, distortion, feigned indignation, and the quest for the almighty buck. Also if they play the game right, they get elevated to judge. Thank you

This can be no better sy... (Below threshold)

This can be no better symbolized by Kerry's plan for dealing with future terrorist threats. Kerry wants to pump more money into hiring more paramedics, police officers, firefighters, and other First Responders.

Jay, that's the most chilling thing I've read in a long, long time.

I think that the problem wi... (Below threshold)

I think that the problem with Kerry & Edwards is not that they are lawyers, but rather, that they are NOT executives. Consider Lincoln - a terrific lawyer but, it turns out, a terrific executive.

You seem to fault Kerry for expecting another attack here in the States. Don't you expect one?

It seems to me that we have to be prepared to act on both the battlefield and in the courthouse - the Supreme Court has made it clear that at least some of the battles will be in the courts.

Now, I do prefer Bush over Kerry. Bush has a plan; Kerry doesn't. Bush will hit first; Kerry will hit back.

I will offer you what I think is a better "executive based" understanding of the difference between Bush & Kerry. Bush is a hedgehog, Kerry is a fox - per Isaiah Berlin.

"In his famous essay “The Hedgehog and the Fox,” Isaiah Berlin divided the world into hedgehogs and foxes, based upon an ancient Greek parable: “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”

"Those who built the good-to-great companies were, to one degree or another, hedgehogs. They used their hedgehog nature to drive toward what we came to call a Hedgehog Concept for their companies. Those who led the comparison companies tended to be foxes, never gaining the clarifying advantage of a Hedgehog Concept, being instead scattered, diffused, and inconsistent."

"Scattered, diffused, and inconsistent." Isn't that Kerry?

You seem to fault Kerry ... (Below threshold)

You seem to fault Kerry for expecting another attack here in the States. Don't you expect one?

The point is that preparing to respond to an attack is not good enough.

And speaking for myself... no. I don't expect another attack here. I expect more attempts to be made, but if one of them succeeds, I'll be surprised and disappointed.

President Bush broke thi... (Below threshold)

President Bush broke this model. He realized you don't fight wars with handcuffs, with warrants, with juries and big public trials. You fight wars with warriors. He unleashed the armed forces against those who were doing war against us, and started crushing them.

Saddam was not doing war against us, that is a simple fact. 9-11 happened because we were not paying attention, not because we were weak.

Would you actually not prepare for another attack? One thing that has been learned from the 9-11 Commission is that if New York had been better prepared, then many lives would have been saved. Sticking your chest out and saying we won't get hit again makes good TV, but I like to live in the real world. So what, scrap Homeland Security and put all the money into the Defense Department?

And for other facts, Bush was too scared to go to war himself - so I guess it is great to send "warriors" as long as it is not you. And Bush was a shitty executive.

Saddam was not doing war... (Below threshold)

Saddam was not doing war against us, that is a simple fact.

Define "doing war." Unless your definition excludes supporting terrorists, harboring them, allowing them to train for hijackings at Salam Pak -- just outside Baghdad, you're mistaken (which in Lefttoon logic means you're lying, but we needn't go there).

9-11 happened because we were not paying attention, not because we were weak.

Osama himself disagrees. We were targeted the way we were in part because of the turntail conclusion in Somalia. He decided it proved we were cowards and could be attacked with impunity.

Thank you for playing.

"And for other facts, Bush ... (Below threshold)

"And for other facts, Bush was too scared to go to war himself"

Well, R.G., you don't really know what you are talking about. And that's not just casual rebuttal - I mean it literally.

I saved a letter to the editor of the Washingon Times from someone who actually knows what he's talking about, and appended below is part of the letter which deals with that accusation. The last line of the letter is exactly what my old man, career Army, used to say to me if I started spouting off like that.

Letters to the Editor
Published February 11, 2004

    George Bush and I were lieutenants and pilots in the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron (FIS), Texas Air National Guard (ANG) from 1970 to 1971. We had the same flight and squadron commanders (Maj. William Harris and Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, both now deceased). While we were not part of the same social circle outside the base, we were in the same fraternity of fighter pilots, and proudly wore the same squadron patch.
    It is quite frustrating to hear the daily cacophony from the left and Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, et al., about Lt. Bush escaping his military responsibilities by hiding in the Texas ANG. In the Air Guard during the Vietnam War, you were always subject to call-up, as many Air National Guardsmen are finding out today....
    ... The image of a reservist at that time is of one who joined, went off for six months' basic training, then came back and drilled weekly or monthly at home, with two weeks of "summer camp." With the knowledge that Mr. Johnson and Mr. McNamara were not going to call out the Reserves, it did become a place of refuge for many wanting to avoid Vietnam.
    There was one big exception to this abusive use of the Guard to avoid the draft, and that was for those who wanted to fly, as pilots or crew members. Because of the training required, signing up for this duty meant up to 2½ years of active duty for training alone, plus a high probability of mobilization. A fighter-pilot candidate selected by the Guard (such as Lt. Bush and me) would be spending the next two years on active duty going through basic training (six weeks), flight training (one year), survival training (two weeks) and combat crew training for his aircraft (six to nine months), followed by local checkout (up to three more months) before he was even deemed combat-ready. Because the draft was just two years, you sure weren't getting out of duty being an Air Guard pilot. If the unit to which you were going back was an F-100, you were mobilized for Vietnam. Avoiding service? Yeah, tell that to those guys.
    The Bush critics do not comprehend the dangers of fighter aviation at any time or place, in Vietnam or at home, when they say other such pilots were risking their lives or even dying while Lt. Bush was in Texas. Our Texas ANG unit lost several planes right there in Houston during Lt. Bush's tenure, with fatalities. Just strapping on one of those obsolescing F-102s was risking one's life.
   ... In the fighter-pilot world, we have a phrase we use when things are starting to get out of hand and it's time to stop and reset before disaster strikes. We say, "Knock it off." So, Mr. Kerry and your friends who want to slander the Guard: Knock it off.
    U.S. Air Force/Air National Guard
    Herndon, Va.5

You seem to fault Kerry ... (Below threshold)

You seem to fault Kerry for expecting another attack here in the States. Don't you expect one?

I think, if you read more carefully, the fault is assigned to Kerry's implicit assumption that he'll fail to prevent one, not that he shouldn't expect more attempts... but if your sole strategy is hiring more first responders, it brings the question: "Responders to what?"

If there was a plan to PREVENT these attacks, and it worked, the responders would have nothing to which to respond. That's not to say, of course, that we shouldn't have them... err on the side of caution... but that has to be the contingency plan for dealing with terror, not the "big idea."

That was truly a wonderful ... (Below threshold)

That was truly a wonderful post, J. Most impressive, really. I'm afraid it's undeserving of my somewhat Bush-like initial reaction. But it's all I've got for now.

Let's kill the terrorists ... and then the lawyers!! ; )

Okay, maybe just the terrorist's lawyers. But, for goodness sake, let's at least off a few of 'em. It's sure to make all the others change their "briefs."

I think Steyn is unduly dis... (Below threshold)

I think Steyn is unduly dismissive of the "bomb them into submission" approach.

Let's try that some more.

Well, isn't this a fun bunc... (Below threshold)

Well, isn't this a fun bunch.

"doing war" - the original post's wording - does not mean "harboring terrorist." If that is the case, why aren't we bombing half the middle east and northern Africa - hell, depending on your definition of "terrorist" we should be attacking at least half the world.

And I did not realize you guys were so close with Osama, so is that how you know they won't attack again?

Further, you can't be serious about his National Guard duty - the record is clear that besides not showing up, he deliberately performed poorly - after initally getting high marks - so as to make sure he would see no action.

"Further, you can't be seri... (Below threshold)

"Further, you can't be serious about his National Guard duty - the record is clear that besides not showing up, he deliberately performed poorly - after initally getting high marks - so as to make sure he would see no action."

You really know how to lead with your chin, R.G. Post a reliable source for your slander & let everyone evaluate it.

In the meanwhile, I saved back some of the letter - it deals with the "not showing up" garbage, BTW, I don't think this Colonel would bother defending Bush if your any of allegations - which of course are not original with you - were even remotely true.

"Critics such as Mr. Kerry (who served in Vietnam, you know), Terry McAuliffe and Michael Moore (neither of whom served anywhere) say Lt. Bush abandoned his assignment as a jet fighter pilot without explanation or authorization and was AWOL from the Alabama Air Guard.
    Well, as for abandoning his assignment, this is untrue. Lt. Bush was excused for a period to take employment in Florida for a congressman and later in Alabama for a Senate campaign.
    Excusals for employment were common then and are now in the Air Guard, as pilots frequently are in career transitions, and most commanders (as I later was) are flexible in letting their charges take care of career affairs until they return or transfer to another unit near their new employment. Sometimes they will transfer temporarily to another unit to keep them on the active list until they can return home. The receiving unit often has little use for a transitory member, especially in a high-skills category like a pilot, because those slots usually are filled and, if not filled, would require extensive conversion training of up to six months, an unlikely option for a temporary hire.
    As a commander, I would put such "visitors" in some minor administrative post until they went back home. There even were a few instances when I was unaware that they were on my roster because the paperwork often lagged. Today, I can't even recall their names. If a Lt. Bush came into my unit to "pull drills" for a couple of months, I wouldn't be too involved with him because I would have a lot more important things on my table keeping the unit combat ready."

Hey RG: Loved your blog- N... (Below threshold)

Hey RG: Loved your blog- NOT.

I can see how much all your faithful readers agree with your posts (0 comments on every post).

To be fair, though, I've only had 6 comments on my blog- Then again, mine's only been up for a week. Yours dates back to mid-2003. What's your excuse?

rg"Bush was too scared to g... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

rg"Bush was too scared to go to war himself - so I guess it is great to send "warriors" as long as it is not you."
- Why the scare quotes around the word "warriors"? Are you saying our soldiers aren't warriors? Did you condemn Clinton, too? He didn't go to Vietnam OR serve in the Guard.

Do yourself a favor, dumbass, and shut the hell up about the National Guard business. That lie is so old and stale and discredited that you Hate-America-First idiots sound like fools.

Testy, testy<p... (Below threshold)

Testy, testy

Sorry, I am sticking to my opinion on his National Guard duty.

"warrior" was the description in the original post.

I love this country - it is the greatest on earth. I strongly disagree with much of what Bush has done, and I am just expressing that - so I will not "shut the hell up."

The differences between Bus... (Below threshold)

The differences between Bush and Kerry on national security comes down to one thing: The Republicans say they want to eliminate and/or kill terrorists, while the Democrats want to bring them to justice -- whatever that means. The Liberal Dems always wince whenever they hear Bush or Cheney use the word "kill."

Hey, I've got an idea. I kn... (Below threshold)

Hey, I've got an idea. I know it's radical, I know it's unprecedented, but how about we all shut the hell up about Vietnam? As a famous man once said,

The race for the White House should be about leadership, and leadership requires that one help heal the wounds of Vietnam, not reopen them; that one help identify the positive things that we learned about ourselves and about our nation, not play to the divisions and differences of that crucible of our generation.

We do not need to divide America over who served and how.

Kerry is still talking abou... (Below threshold)

Kerry is still talking about Vietnam. It's the only qualification he believes he possesses to serve as President. The Dems are the ones who suddenly changed the game plan. In 1992, they supported a genuine draft-dodger for President. Today, they support a "war hero." The first volley was when the Dems said they looked forward to seeing Kerry with his chest full of medals debate Bush who was AWOL. Today on Fox News Channel, Little Dickie Gephardt tried to convince us that John Kerry was actually a Cold Warrior who supported the US policies with regard to the Soviet Union. He mentioned three times that Kerry was a Vietnam War hero in the space of 3 minutes.

Sure, Senator Kerry is stil... (Below threshold)

Sure, Senator Kerry is still talking about Vietnam. But don't we all wish he'd stop?

I mean, come on. It's not like this is a close race. It's not like it's a tough call. It's not like John Kerry and George W. Bush are identical except for their service thirty years ago. It's not like we don't have anything else on which to base our decision.

Jeff, you make an excellent... (Below threshold)

Jeff, you make an excellent point. And I believe President Bush truly wishes the Swift Boat Vets controversy would just go away. I believe Bush genuinely wishes to debate the differences between his Compassionate Conservatism and Kerry's Quasi-Socialism. Notice I didn't say Liberalism. Mayor Ed Koch is a Liberal. Actor Ron Silver is a Liberal. The people we refer to as Liberals are Neo-Marxists, Socialists, Quasi-Socialists and Old-Left Communists. If they achieve power, we'll all wish Bill Clinton was back in the White House. Better still, let's bust our chops to keep Dubya in power.

Hey JK - careful what you w... (Below threshold)

Hey JK - careful what you wish for. The NYT did a piece on an hour and a half confab between clinton and Kerry this weekend. Here's a snippet. But will the press now call Kerry a Clinton puppet ala Bush / Rove - since Kerry did the listening, Clinton the talking. Oh, and Begala and Carville are back. A couple of true fork-tongued not yer garden variety snakes. Link and text below.

Kerry Enlisting Clinton Aides in Effort to Refocus Campaign

Officials with knowledge of the Clinton conversation said it came after Mr. Kerry called Mr. Clinton at Columbia-Presbyterian Center of New York Presbyterian Hospital on Friday to wish him well as he awaited open-heart surgery early next week. Mr. Clinton - who was described by advisers as concerned by the direction of the Kerry campaign - thanked him and suggested that the two men talk over the weekend about the campaign, which they did Saturday night.

The telephone conversation - which was described as detailed and expansive, with Mr. Kerry doing more listening than talking - also included Mr. Lockhart, who joined Mr. Kerry's campaign as a senior adviser about two weeks ago. Mr. Lockhart declined to comment on the conversation.

The installation of former Clinton lieutenants is creating two distinct camps at Mr. Kerry's campaign headquarters on McPherson Square in downtown Washington.

The first is the existing Kerry high command, which includes Mary Beth Cahill, the campaign manager; Bob Shrum, a senior adviser; Tad Devine, a senior adviser; and Stephanie Cutter, the communications director. The second is the Clinton camp, which includes Joe Lockhart, a former White House press secretary; Joel Johnson, a former senior White House aide; and Doug Sosnik, a former Clinton political director. And Howard Wolfson, a former chief of staff to Hillary Rodham Clinton, joined the campaign on Sunday.

Among the better-known former Clinton aides who are expected to play an increasingly prominent role are James Carville, Paul Begala and Stanley Greenberg, campaign aides said.


Uh oh, the "It's Just About... (Below threshold)

Uh oh, the "It's Just About Sex" crowd are riding into town. These -- along with Lanny Davis -- are the sleaziest guys in politics. However, if Carville and Begala are involved in the campaign, won't they have to step down from their positions at CNN?

"Well, isn't this a fun bun... (Below threshold)

"Well, isn't this a fun bunch."

How many times have we seem the same snippy response from topic-busters? They perform the blog equivalent of farting in an elevator by posting off-topic red herrings full of outrageous irrelevant allegations, and then pull a snit worthy of Queer-Eye when they get bombed.

One more time: WE'RE THROUGH DOING TIT-FOR-TAT. That was Clinton. We have a strategy. We had a plethora of good reasons to take Saddam, but lets look at the adult one: Iran. With free access to Iraq we now have at least two guarenteed bases from which to INVADE (yes, more stink-poo I'm afraid) Iran, which is the monster of the region. And then Syria if they can't read the signs, and maybe even Saudi Arabia if they don't clean up first. This is for keeps.

Please grow up. And by the way, the only way we could have prevented 9/11 was if we had had a serious immigration policy, and racial/country profiling by airlines. You guys can't stomach either idea now, much less when we lived in the ice cream and unicorn days of 9/10.

Duly noted, RG. You think N... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Duly noted, RG. You think National Guard Service = to scared to go to war.

The Associated Press spent ... (Below threshold)

The Associated Press spent the weekend talking about Bush's missing documents for his National Guard service. I wrote the following to the editor of AP:
So what are you guys going to do until election day? Keep talking about Bush's National Guard service? What about doing a little investigation into Kerry's background. For instance, was he in Cambodia or was he near Cambodia or was he there on Christmas or was he there in January? If everything Kerry says is true, then was he a war criminal? He said he committed atrocities.

Also, US Naval regulations are specific about awarding Purple Hearts and these medals are not awarded for self-inflicted (intention or unintentional) wounds. Should Kerry return his first Purple Heart? Should he go back to Vietnam and finish his tour? He did leave after only completing 4 months and 12 days in Nam. He owes Uncle Sam almost 8 months.

You people are unbelievable. You claim no partisan bias yet your coverage looks as if you're nothing more than the newsletter for the DNC. Shame on you.

"The Associated Press spent... (Below threshold)

"The Associated Press spent the weekend talking about Bush's missing documents for his National Guard service."

I noted it as well, JK. Was there something new? A witness? Well, no, but Kerry was getting WAY behind. What a disgrace. This bald regurgitation of the AWOL stuff is like the old Chevy Chase news story: "General Francisco Franco still dead."






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