Mike Berg Flubs the Mike Dukakis Moment

Mike Berg is running for Congress in Delaware as the antiwar, Green candidate against the incumbent Republican. Berg calls for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq on the grounds that the U.S. is increasing suffering in the Middle East, not decreasing it. I’m as spavined as just about everyone else on the left over the immediate withdrawal question, still I’m pulling for Berg. Berg is the father of Nick Berg, a humanitarian and telecommunications worker in Iraq who was beheaded by al-Zarqawi two years ago. Or as the networks say, “personally beheaded by Zarqawi.” (Is that a distinction?) So today Berg is finally getting some air time. Reporters are asking him how he feels about Zarqawi’s death. On CNN, he was shown saying, “It doesn’t bring me personally any relief because it doesn’t bring my son back.” He went on about how much suffering the U.S. has brought to Iraqi families. Amen. I was disappointed in Berg’s answer. Michael Dukakis lost the presidency in 1988 for, among other reasons, flubbing the death-penalty question, when an anchor at a debate asked him if he’d support the death penalty if his wife was raped and murdered. Dukakis answered very coolly and technically, No, and explained why. People felt that he wasn’t in touch with his real emotions, if he even had them. Mike Berg has said before that he has struggled with his vengeful feelings toward Zarqawi. Would it be so bad if he let it rip today about how he feels about the killing of his son’s evil murderer? It might help his candidacy.