John Kerry (search) is putting the finishing touches on a Democratic convention that will have him emerge as a — get this — conservative who's tough on national defense, tough on spending and taxing and embracing religion and heartland values.

While he tries a Clinton-like pivot (remember the end of welfare and big government), he's got the Left loading its big guns and preparing to open fire on him.

An editorial in Tuesday's Los Angeles Times not only cements that paper's reputation as America's most far-Left news organization, but tees up the notion that the paper might end up endorsing Ralph Nader (search).

It is titled "The Kerry-Edwards Stonewall," and it attacks to the two senators for attacking President Bush on the war. If they voted for it, why won't they explain if their votes for the war were a mistake?

Were Kerry and Edwards wrong, the paper asks? "If they won't answer that question, they have no moral standing to criticize Bush."

The Times goes on, "The great pity will be if this [Kerry-Edwards] bind leads the Democratic candidates to back off from their harsh, and largely justified, criticism of Bush. The Democrats could lose a valuable issue, and possibly even the election, because the Democratic candidates were too clever for their own good."

The Los Angeles Times thinks the war was wrong, period, and that Kerry and Edwards need to say they were wrong to vote for it.

It correctly notes that saying so may make them seem like dopes, but they should do it anyway.

If the Times doesn't support two candidates who attack Bush — even though they have a chance of beating Bush, even though they are flawed as attackers — what does it want?

It appears it wants Nader — a thoroughly anti-war and anti-Bush candidate. He's pure enough for the Times, but all polls say there's no way he's a winner.

That's My Word.

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