Kerry Touring Middle East Before Deciding on 2008 Plans

Obama got the media hype, between the trip to New Hampshire and his appearance on Monday Night Football. People are still talking about Hillary Clinton as front runner, and are wondering if Gore both win an Academy Award and enter the Presidential race. Even the Kerry stories have been fluff, as the Boston Globe actually tried to make a story out of Ted Kennedy saying he is supporting Kerry except if he delays his decision “indefinitely.” Finally we got a story that means something. Kerry is going back to the Middle East:

Senator John F. Kerry plans to leave Wednesday for a nine-day trip through Iraq and five other Middle Eastern nations, as he seeks to hone a regional approach to ending the Iraq war while entering the final stage of his deliberations about another run for president.

Kerry said he hopes to use the regional trip, his first there in nearly year, to meet with political leaders and US troops in Iraq about solutions to the Iraq conflict. His meetings will include a session with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, a country that the Iraq Study Group recommended should be included in direct talks about the future of Iraq.

“The Mideast policy as a whole is in tatters, and the situation is getting more dangerous, and there is a lot that’s at play,” said Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat. “This is the most compelling and important issue on the table today: the war on terror, how it would more properly be fought.”

In addition to Iraq and Syria, Kerry will visit Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel, and he will meet with the head of state in all of those countries. He said he plans to venture outside the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad to talk to US troops stationed in more volatile parts of the country, including the Sunni Triangle.

And yes, for those more concerned with the horse race, “Kerry aides said Monday that the senator would declare his intentions shortly after the new year.”

Bush Has No Plan, No Speech

George Bush was planning to give a major speech before Christmas in which he’d lay out a new plan for Iraq. While politically it made sense to do this following the mid term elections and the release of the Iraq Study Group’s report, practically there is one problem. Just like Richard Nixon’s secret plan to get out of Vietnam, nobody knows the plan which Bush was going to discuss, not even George Bush. He obviously can’t stick with the current plan whcih seven in ten Americans disapprove of. There was only one thing to do–postpone the speech until next month in the hopes he can come up with something to say.