What's disconcerting here is that Mr. Kerry had an out. He could have explained why he went to Vietnam and then opposed the war, and then he could have used this explanation to help people understand why he voted for the Iraq war and then voted against it. His experience with the changing nature of a war could have shifted those critical swing voters, convincing them that he was just the person to lead them at this juncture in our history.
Many people believe that Mr. Kerry is not preparing for his inaugural this week because he wasn't conservative enough, because the Democrats were outwitted by Karl Rove, because of gay marriage, because of the Christian evangelicals who supposedly came out of the woodwork on Election Day.
But these people miss the point. John Kerry lost because he concealed something that was completely honorable, even heroic: his opposition to Vietnam. George W. Bush told the truth about something that, to my mind, was not honorable: he supported that war but found a way to stay home. Mr. Kerry was forthright about almost everything except himself - and in this election that was not enough.
10 hours ago