If the Democrats continue to avoid defining themselves, John McCain will gladly do it for them. From his prepared remarks in a speech he's scheduled to give in an hour or so:
In times of trouble, free nations of the world still look to America for leadership, because they know the strength of America remains the greatest force for good on this earth.
My opponent had the chance to express such confidence in America, when he delivered a much anticipated address in Berlin. He was the picture of confidence, in some ways. But confidence in oneself and confidence in one's country are not the same. And in that speech, Senator Obama left an important point unclear. He suggested that the end of the Cold War proved that there was, "no challenge too great for a world that stands as one." Now I missed a few years of the Cold War, as the guest of one of our adversaries, but as I recall the world was deeply divided during the Cold War—between the side of freedom and the side of tyranny. The Cold War ended not because the world stood "as one," but because the great democracies came together, bound together by sustained and decisive American leadership. […]
Just days after the Russian invasion of Georgia, Senator Obama had this to say about the crisis: "We've got to send a clear message to Russia and unify our allies. They can't charge into other countries. Of course it helps if we are leading by example on that point." End of quote. I guess we are left to figure out the rest for ourselves.
Obama is going to need more than the "we'll restore our global reputation" vagueness of John Kerry if he's going to counteract this stuff. Today is Economy day–scratch that, Renewing America's Promise day–so don't expect a full-throated job interview yet on the single biggest difference between the two candidates. But it's hard to convince skeptics that you're Ready to Command on Day One when you and your party are so busy congratulating yourself for living the American dream and watching Brady Bunch.