John Kerry can win the debate and the election tonight by opening with the four most obvious words in global politics today: "George Bush must resign."
The confirmations that Bush lied about Saddam's non-existent ties to Al Quida, 9/11 and Weapons of Mass Destruction mean one vital thing above all: this administration can no longer conduct a credible foreign policy. Not in the next four years, four months or four days.
It's not about whether the Iraqi invasion was "worth it." Or whether the world is safer without Saddam Hussein.
It's about the inevitable next crisis. About the fact that this administration has taken the world to war on false pretenses.
And that it will never be believed again: It lied to the American people. It lied to Congress. It lied to the global community.
Next time, Bush will not be believed by any of them, no matter what the truth or urgency of the situation. The public, the Congress, the UN have all been burned, and "won't be fooled again."
So in all practical terms, Bush has nullified his ability to act on the world stage.
Therefore, he cannot conduct a credible foreign policy. He cannot protect America. He must resign.
And Kerry needs to open with just that. The debate is officially about domestic policy. But we know Bush will pepper his every blunt, narrowly structured answer with fear mongering about "global terrorists" (as if he didn't allow them to succeed on September 11, 2001).
Kerry can respond to the expected opening question on domestic policy by vowing to answer it after he takes just 60 seconds to call for Bush's resignation due to these new confirmations of the administration's dishonesty, which mean that Bush can no longer conduct a credible foreign policy.
Bush is not likely to recover.
He could respond, bluntly, that, no, it's Kerry who should resign as a candidate.
But the global headline will still be Kerry's call for Bush to go. And that Bush's monosyllabic stammerings were clearly the response of an incompetent. Of someone incapable of thinking on his feet. Of someone who can't conduct a credible foreign policy, let alone explain four years of unprecedented job loss, economic chaos and eco-catastrophe.
So, Mr. President-to-be, here's what we want to hear, right at the top of the hour: "George Bush should resign."
Four words heard round the world. Four words to take John Kerry to the Oval Office. Four words to rid our nation of a failed president whose credibility gap has rendered him impotent.