Thursday, October 21, 2004
Kerry's Script: Most of all, I will always level with the American people.
Actual Kerry: Most of all, my fellow Americans, I pledge to you that I will always level with the American people, because it's only by leveling and telling the truth that you build the legitimacy and gain the consent of the people who ultimately we are accountable to. I will level with the American people.
Kerry's Script: I will work with Republicans and Democrats on this health care plan, and we will pass it.
Actual Kerry: I will work with Republicans and Democrats across the aisle, openly, not with an ideological, driven, fixed, rigid concept, but much like Franklin Roosevelt said, I don't care whether a good idea is a Republican idea or a Democrat idea. I just care whether or not it's gonna work for Americans and help make our country stronger. And we will pass this bill. I'll tell you a little bit about it in a minute, and I'll tell you why we'll pass it, because it's different from anything we've ever done before, despite what the Republicans want to try to tell you.
Kerry has been very critical of President Bush for not taking "advice" that he has supposedly received on any number of important subjects. All well and good -- the taking and rejecting of advice is part and parcel with effective executive management, and sometimes we take the wrong advice. But what comfort should we have that John Kerry will take good advice on important matters if he can't even deliver a speech without giving into his impulse to ad lib?
Only if you think this is "knowing how to ad lib." More importantly, presidential ad libbing is extremely dangerous in certain settings, including particularly diplomatic settings. You can't have the president saying things that are not part of the program. This has always been one of my chief objections to lawyer-presidents. Lawyers love to ad lib, and mistakenly think that they are very good at it. Some of them may be, that overconfidence in ad libbing can be very dangerous, not just politically for the ad libber, but substantively for our diplomacy.
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