In reply to:
...absurd given his voting record...
Not absurd at all. The fact that Kerry, who's record is generally pacifist and anti-military, is trying to run on his war record shows how vital his team thinks that is to his success.
I live in Washington (state of) and am represented by Senator Patty Murray, the "mom in tennis shoes" candidate who's voting record has also generally been anti-war and anti-military. She voted against both the Iraq war authorization and the later 80b war appropriations bill. Yet just the other day I saw a campaign commercial for her that touted her recent pro-military work and votes without ever saying she supported the war. Why would she do that?
This beautiful land also produced Seattle Congressman "Bagdad" Jim McDermott, who famously went to Bagdad just before the war to meet with Saddam and pre-denounce the coming invasion. He also took Saddam's money (which he later returned.) His reelection website still trumpets his anti-war position, but no longer mentions his trip. It made sense when he did it, but it wouldn't go over very well these days, would it?
I think these politicians, as smart and informed as they are, and as separated from the body politic as they are, have seen something. I think they've seen America changing right in front of their eyes.
Americans are beginning to realize that, suprise, we actually are at war, even though it's a new trans-national, slow-motion, hurry up and wait kind of war. And suprise again, a war most Americans believe was forced upon us by an enemy that seeks our destruction, not our attention. A war where, painfully, some of our "allies" have shown us their backsides. And obviously, a war we can lose. Who wouldn't get serious about that? To me, if a candidate isn't talking about the war, they've got nothing to say.
So this year voters have a job to do, maybe their most important job in 140 years, the results of which will undoubtedly affect the entire world for a long time to come. That frightens a lot of people, but not me. I look forward to it. I trust the American people.
Who do you trust?