There’s a column by Jackson Diehl in today’s Washington Post pointing to the power Ralph Nader’s candidacy has gained by his embrace of opposition to the Iraq war. The point of the piece is that Kerry’s opposition both to President Bush’s policy and equally to any abrupt withdrawal of American forces leave a good deal of political room for an out-and-out anti-war candidate like Nader.
In terms of political dynamics I suspect Diehl is on to something. And I also think Kerry has yet to adequately calibrate his rhetoric — something we’ll discuss later. On a larger level, though, this piece captures Washington’s and, really, the Washington Post’s tendency to polarize this debate to its weakest, most simplistic extremes. Nader is consistent; Bush is consistent; Kerry, by failing to be an imbecile, is in the wishy-washy middle, neither fish nor fowl, a flipflopper, waiting for the next flip from which to flop.