Life in the Alternate Universe

Awww….. it’s so cute when politicians play the “history would have been different!” card.

U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D- Mass., who was in town Sunday to help Gov. Jennifer Granholm campaign for her re-election bid, took time to take a jab at the Bush administration for its lack of leadership in the Israeli-Lebanon conflict.

“If I was president, this wouldn’t have happened,” said Kerry during a noon stop at Honest John’s bar and grill in Detroit’s Cass Corridor.

Bush has been so concentrated on the war in Iraq that other Middle East tension arose as a result, he said.

This is one of those things that perpetuate the idea of an all-powerful presidency. It would be perfect appropriate for John Kerry to say that things would have been different if he’d won, so long as those thing were actually in his control. (“If I were President, I would not have vetoed federal funding for stem cell research”, for example.) But last time I checked, the President does not actually control the Knesset or Hezbollah, so I think it’s safe to say that it’s entirely possible that this conflict would have happened anyway. Now it may not have happened, but there is virtually zero evidence either way.

That said, this little bit later in the article irked me.

Hezbollah guerillas should have been targeted with other terrorist organizations, such as al-Qaida and the Taliban, which operate in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Kerry said. However, Bush, has focused military strength on Iraq.

“This is about American security and Bush has failed. He has made it so much worse because of his lack of reality in going into Iraq….We have to destroy Hezbollah,” he said.

Good policy or no, I fail to see how the United States military actively engaging Hezbollah would have decreased Middle East tensions, given that it would have almost certainly entailed unilateral action on the part of the United States, and would have involved U.S. troops being stationed in even more Middle Eastern states.

I suppose it’s too much to expect critical thinking from U.S. Senators in this day and age, but still…

UPDATE (James Joyner): In the “great minds think alike” department, see Steve Verdon‘s post on this from this afternoon.

FILED UNDER: 2004 Election, Middle East, National Security, Terrorism, US Politics, World Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.


  1. Kent G. Budge says:

    This is one of those things that perpetuate the idea of an all-powerful presidency.

    I think it accurately reflects Kerry’s view of the presidency, and says something about why he sought the office.

    In fairness, the same may be true of every other man who has served as President since at least the time of Wilson.

  2. Neo says:

    Kerry would either bore them to death with endless “summit” meetings, or likely, given the myopic Viet Nam view of Kerry, carpetbomming or DiOxyn .. err .. Agent-Orange.

  3. C.S. Scott says:

    Many Democrats are divorced from reality, Kerry and Dean included. You really have to believe the American people are collective idiots to put forth this view.

  4. Anderson says:

    Sigh … it appears that the Dems are revising their entire primary/caucus schedule, on the theory that the existing system gave us the Kerry nomination.

    I’d still rather him than Bush in the White House, but remind me again why those were the ONLY TWO CHOICES? Jesus wept.