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3.16.2004

Get Real: That Kerry Quote

It's so obviously the truth what Kerry said, and the Republicans are just having fun with it--everybody knows it's true. In the last six or seven months, I've been in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe. I've met with leaders in all of those regions, and they have overwhelmingly--not unanimously but overwhelmingly--said that they hope that there's a change in leadership.--Former UN Ambassador Richard Holbrooke
The Republican calls for Kerry to reveal which "foreign more leaders" (which does not equal heads-of-state) might have claimed they supported him are just preposterous. It's easy to make a big noise about something when you know that it's completely impossible for the other side to answer. What's Kerry supposed to do? Violate a confidence? Rat out his friends? His critics know he painted himself into a corner, that he can't answer, and they're exploiting it in typical Republican smearfest fashion.

If you think Bush enjoys any favor anywhere in the world outside of the United States; you obviously haven't traveled much lately. He's reviled. He's hated. Think people in California hate Bush? Talk to a Londoner. Talk to a Thai. Talk to a Brazilian. And by proxy, many of these people now hate America too.

Once, we were the good guys. We saved Europe from fascism and totalitarianism. We saved East Asia from Japanese rule. Even in the 90s, well after we became the only major player on the world stage and had a fifty year history of running amuck overseas, the United States enjoyed predominantly favorable opinions abroad. This is no longer the case.

Spain, after South Korea and Germany, is now the third nation in as many years where an election has been decided by one candidate essentially running against Bush. Leaders of these three nations--very publicly and very loudly--have denounced Bush and his policies. Perhaps they might favor a Kerry win? Do they count? If you travel, you encounter people from all over the world who want the man out, be they from Europe, Asia, Africa, or the Americas. Meanwhile, Kerry is extremely popular with our traditional allies. Does anyone really believe that some world leaders don't share this opinion? Why? Because they haven't been foolish enough to, like, you know, say it to his face?

When you announce to the entire planet that "you are either with us or against us," it isn't going to exactly endear you to those leaders who do not believe that the world is entirely black and white. In (sort of) winning the war in Iraq, Bush lost the war for the hearts and minds of world opinion when we needed them most.

Yet as the Bush campaign's Terry Holt correctly pointed out, "Kerry's foreign friends may prefer him as US president, but the election is in the hands of the American people." And popularity abroad has never gotten anyone elected President.

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