In a fascinating profile in the NY Times magazine, we learn that John Kerry is afraid to be interviewed by a NY Times reporter. Why? Kerry is afraid that Evil Republicans and a hostile media will twist and distort his words. [And he's right!].
Despite his lack of confidence in his ability to communicate his message to the American people through the presumably sympathetic NY Times (hmm, they're neutral? Please.), Kerry remains inexplicably optimistic that he can present his message of a kinder, gentler America to the rest of the world:
''I think we can do a better job,'' Kerry said, ''of cutting off financing, of exposing groups, of working cooperatively across the globe, of improving our intelligence capabilities nationally and internationally, of training our military and deploying them differently, of specializing in special forces and special ops, of working with allies, and most importantly -- and I mean most importantly -- of restoring America's reputation as a country that listens, is sensitive, brings people to our side, is the seeker of peace, not war, and that uses our high moral ground and high-level values to augment us in the war on terror, not to diminish us.''
I have two thoughts for the Kerry camp. First, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly will not fall in love with Kerry even if he manages to get himself elected. Evil lives!
Secondly, and maybe the Tall One had better be seated before he is informed of this, America has detractors abroad. This was true under Clinton, and will be true under Kerry - there are foreign leaders who simply do not believe that a strong America is in their national interest. Shocking! And these people may twist and distort Kerry's words in an attempt to discredit both him and his message.
I'm out of advice. But if Kerry does not think he can communicate clearly with a Timesman, how can we take seriously his belief that he can sell his message to a cold, uncaring world?
MORE: The Evil Reps have already pounced on this:
When I asked Kerry what it would take for Americans to feel safe again, he displayed a much less apocalyptic worldview. ''We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance,'' Kerry said. ''As a former law-enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life.''
When good metaphors go bad! At the risk of enraging feminists, let me point out that prostitution and gambling are often described as victimless crimes. Maybe Tall John does not want to put terrorism in quite that category.
UPDATE: Decisions, decisions! Reach out to foreign leaders, focus on domestic issues... what to do?