Friday, November 18


From an interview that CNN's Wolf Blitzer conducted with Senator John Kerry comes the following exchange:

BLITZER: What about 2008 -- do you want to run for president again?

KERRY: It is honestly too early to tell. ... Would I like to be president? Yes, obviously. I ran for the job. I think I would have made a good president for America, a strong president. I would have had us in a very different place than we are today.

BLITZER: Do you think you can beat Hillary Clinton in a Democratic primary?

KERRY: Well, I don't know if Hillary's running. Who knows who's running, not running? I'm not running yet. We need to see where we're at.

I'll tell you this: If I decide to run and I get into the race -- and it won't depend on who else is running. ... If I get in that race, having learned what I've learned, and the experience I had last year, I think I know how to do what I need to do and I will run to win. ....

It appears that Senator John Kerry may be setting the stage to report to America for duty again. Will he begin with a base of the 55 million votes he garnered in the 2004 presidential race against George W. Bush? Is America even more in the mood now for an anti-war candidate now that so many have been convinced by the Party of Amnesia that "Bush lied" and that the global war on terrorism is too costly in lives and treasure? Is isolationism taking root again? Do a majority of Americans want to be in that very different place that a John Kerry presidency would take them?

I'd like to juxtapose this exchange with excerpts from a William F. Buckley, Jr. commencement address (published at NRO) in June, 1971, to the graduating cadets of West Point -- an address that Laura Ingraham has linked at her Web site. We need to be reminded anew.

The point I want to raise is this: If America is everything that John Kerry says it is, what is it appropriate for us to do? The wells of regeneration are infinitely deep, but the stain described by John Kerry goes too deep to be bleached out by conventional remorse or resolution: better the destruction of America, if, to see ourselves truly, we need to look into the mirror John Kerry holds up for us. If we are a nation of sadists, of kid-killers and torturers, of hypocrites and criminals, let us be done with it, and pray that a great flood or fire will destroy us, leaving John Kerry and maybe Mrs. Benjamin Spock to take the place of Lot, in reseeding a new order.

Gentleman, how many times, in the days ahead, you will need to ask yourselves the most searching question of all, the counterpart of the priest's most agonizing doubt: Is there a God? Yours will be: Is America worth it?

John Kerry's assault on this country did not rise fullblown in his mind, like Venus from the Cypriot Sea. It is the crystallization of an assault upon America which has been fostered over the years by an intellectual class given over to self-doubt and self-hatred, driven by a cultural disgust with the uses to which so many people put their freedom. The assault on the military, the many and subtle vibrations of which you feel as keenly as James Baldwin knows the inflections of racism, is an assault on the proposition that what we have, in America, is truly worth defending. The military is to be loved or despised according as it defends that which is beloved or perpetuates that which is despised. The root question has not risen to such a level of respectability as to work itself into the platform of a national political party, but it lurks in the rhetoric of the John Kerrys, such that a blind man, running his fingers over the features of the public rhetoric, can discern the meaning of it:

Is America worth it?

So during those moments when doubt will assail you, moments that will come as surely as the temptations of the flesh, I hope you will pause. I know, I know, at the most hectic moments of one's life it isn't easy — indeed, the argument can be made that neither is it seemly — to withdraw from the front line in order to consider the general situation philosophically. But what I hope you will consider, during these moments of doubt, is the essential professional point: Without organized force, and the threat of the use of it under certain circumstances, there is no freedom, anywhere. Without freedom, there is no true humanity. If America is the monster of John Kerry, burn your commissions tomorrow morning and take others, which will not bind you in the depraved conspiracy you have heard described. If it is otherwise, remember: the freedom John Kerry enjoys, and the freedom I enjoy, are, quite simply, the result of your dedication. Do you wonder that I accepted the opportunity to salute you?