Meeting the Opposition
Ayad Allawi's visit to Washington has received tremendous attention and rightly so. However, I keep thinking, wasn't there a time that presidential candidates sought to meet signficant leaders when visiting? And wasn't the reverse also true?
If I am right (and not simply having my memory mislead my history) why isn't Kerry meeting with him? Instead Kerry's using the visit to criticize Allawi and Bush, and Vice President Cheney is firing back, saying that this shows a serious "lack of respect."
A natural response is that Kerry is making the wisdom of the entire enterprise an issue. Therefore, why would either he or Allawi want to strengthen the other? But that's not good enough. If Kerry wins, they have to deal with each other. Kerry won't be able to afford a clear fiasco any more than Bush could, and Allawi would need to establish a good relationship with Kerry for equally obvious reasons.
Maybe it's just my bad mood talking, but does this worry anyone besides me?
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William R. Clay - 9/25/2004
Good afternoon Professor Dresner. Unfortunately you are again so very right in your post. I say unfortunately, because I would like to see the substantive differences between the candidates as the center of this or any other election. I think you will agree there are many, but not a majority, who share this desire. Locally, we had a primary race were there was a seemingly well-qualified candidate running against the incumbent. Looking for a reason to vote for the newcomer was dashed when a mailer, designed and approved by his campaign committee, hit my mailbox. The mailer landed in a rectangular large mouth file (read that to be a replacement for the old circular file) after it revealed nothing more than a list of negatives about his rival. Pointing out why a person should not be in office is not in itself an evil, but not supplying reasons why a person should vote for an individual is a gross error. Regrettably, I, and I will add you to this campaign method preference list, appear to be in the minority on this issue. The popular media, the general population, and the campaign mangers responding to polls about both, continue to prefer negativity. A sad commentary on current politics.
William R. Clay - 9/25/2004
Professor Chamberlain’s observation on the non-meeting between Kerry and Iyad Allawi's may possibly have several other spins to it. Could it not also be possible that Allawi may not want to meet with Kerry? Could it be that Allawi has read the polls, decided that Bush is going to win in November, and picked his side to stand firm with? There is another possibility, and it is an alternative to Manan Ahmed’s post. Could it be that Bush and his cabinet have put pressure on Allawi to not meet with Kerry? Any of these alternatives are far more disturbing than Kerry and his handlers unilateral deciding not to meet with the interim Prime Minister.
Oscar Chamberlain - 9/24/2004
I am not sure who is primarily resopnsible for Kerry not meeting Allawi. No matter the answer, it is disquieting.
Manan Ahmed - 9/24/2004
I also wonder that if Kerry does request a meeting with Allawi, if the administration will grant him that. Seems like he is under a solidly tight schedule and close wraps.
Jonathan Dresner - 9/24/2004
I think what you're worrying about is real, but I also think that it's not Kerry specifically that's the problem. Bush is running for reelection, so what he does as president is very much tied to what he is as a candidate. I proposed a long time ago that someone ask Kerry what the Bush administration has done that he agrees with: what are the real differences, and is there more hope for real bipartisanship under Kerry (and his career in the senate suggests so, but it'd be nice to get it directly), and can the candidates agree that there are things they agree on?
But that's not the way campaigns have gone the last few cycles: my way or the road to ruin is more the theme we've been presented with. If Kerry tried to buck this trend, I'd see it as a positive sign, but I'm not sure the media or the general population would get it.
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