During the second presidential debate, John Kerry said: “I ask each of you just to look into your hearts, look into your guts. Gut-check time. Was this really going to war as a last resort?”

How about this for “gut-check time”: When you close your eyes, can you see the Democrats defending America? Because I can’t see it.

These are the people who are obsessed with getting the French to like us. They call terrorism a “nuisance,” like prostitution and other petty crimes. (“Hundreds of Children Killed in Chechnya by Nuisance,” “British Civilian Beheaded by Annoyance,” “9-11: What a Hassle!”) They babble about nonexistent civil liberties violations under the Patriot Act.

If Gore had been elected president, right now he would just be finding that last lesbian quadriplegic for the Special Forces team.

During the second presidential debate, Kerry droned on about the civil liberties crisis in America under the Patriot Act (which he voted for). He claimed to have “met a man who spent eight months in prison, wasn’t even allowed to call his lawyer, wasn’t allowed to get – finally, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois intervened and was able to get him out.”

Pity he didn’t meet Abdullah Mehsud, a guy who spent two years in Guantanamo before being released and is now in Pakistan strapping dynamite to Chinese hostages.

Bush said he had met a man, too: “Grant Milliron, Mansfield, Ohio. He’s creating jobs.” Which one of these candidates is more likely to put the wood to the terrorists?

Kerry explained his “plan” to prevent terrorists from getting nukes, saying, “We’ve got to join with the British and the French, with the Germans, who’ve been involved, in their initiative.” (This guy’s got more plans than MCI.) We may lose the war on terrorism, but by God we’ll get the Europeans to like us!

Kerry told the New York Times he could “do a better job” in the war on terror – which Kerry adviser Richard Holbrooke says is not a war at all, but a metaphor (“Thousands Die in Attack by Metaphor”).

He would do a better job, Kerry said, “most importantly – and I mean most importantly – of restoring America’s reputation as a country that listens, is sensitive, brings people to our side, is the seeker of peace, not war, and that uses our high moral ground and high-level values to augment us in the war on terror, not to diminish us.”

Imagine President John Kerry at the Berlin Wall. “Mr. Gorbachev … I challenge you to get to an emotional place where you can imagine a different kind of non-wall reality, that fully respects the ‘wallness’ of your current reality, yet takes us on a spiritual journey in which …”

Republicans are more simple-minded, but for some things you want to be a little less contemplative, a little less nuanced. In a war against rabid savages trying to nuke Manhattan, you want a policy more along the lines of: Kill ’em! Republicans will shoot burn and bury the terrorists. Kerry will give them a speech.

In his convention speech in August, Kerry’s idea for the terrorists was this: We’ll give them a faux-WASP, stentorian honker of a speech. Striking fear in the hearts of Islamic lunatics everywhere, Kerry said he would say this to the terrorists: “You will lose and we will win. The future doesn’t belong to fear; it belongs to freedom.” (Kerry’s speechwriters are now throwing key words like “future” and “freedom” together in various combinations in hopes of stumbling upon something the senator actually believes in just by random chance.)

Yes, that’s how to capture terrorists: Put them to sleep with a long boring speech. Osama bin Laden would escape before the speech is complete. Only a liberal would imagine this is what you say to a terrorist in his moment of fear and dread. Who does Kerry imagine will be giving this speech exactly? Kevin Kline? How about the Marine who catches bin Laden’s associates saying something along the lines of, “Hey, dirtbag!” before smacking them across the face with a rifle butt?

(If Israel plays its cards right, perhaps Kerry would even draft a speech for them to give suicide bombers: “You will lose and we will win. The future doesn’t belong to fear; it belongs to freedom,” blah blah blah.)

Better yet, let’s use a Kerry speech to torture them into revealing where and when their next attack will be! Ten minutes of that snoozefest convention speech would have the most hardened Islamic fanatic begging for mercy and spilling his guts. Now, that’s my idea of a “gut check.”

As if it means something, Kerry keeps vowing: “I will never stop at anything to hunt down and kill the terrorists.” But he will stop at the Iraqi border. Or if the French and Germans aren’t on board. Or we don’t have United Nations approval. Or it would require investigating a Muslim under the Patriot Act.