Joey Tartakovsky’s “Just A Little Nutty, Howie?” (Jan. 26, Daily Nexus), while qualified in its assessment of the Howard Dean demeanor, hastily submits that John Kerry has a “position on nearly every major policy issue.” Kerry has voted on a number of major policy issues, but that’s a far cry from having principled, solid positions. Upon close scrutiny, one would notice that Kerry could be labeled a partisan reactionary at best and a self-serving presidential hopeful at worst.
Kerry’s political career originated with his organization of veteran opposition to the Vietnam War. As decorated Lt. Kerry in 1971, he testified to Congress, “To attempt to justify the loss of one American life in Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos by linking such loss to the preservation of freedom is … the height of criminal hypocrisy.” Would presidential prospect Kerry now declare Time magazine’s “People Of The Year,” the veterans of the Iraq war he authorized, representatives of U.S. criminal hypocrisy?
In 1991, when there were Iraqi Republican Guard units oppressing Kuwait, he voted against military support of Kuwait along with a majority of the Democratic Party. In 1998 and 2002, under Presidents Clinton and Bush, Kerry authorized military action and regime change. Dean appealed to New Hampshire undecideds by exclaiming, “Here is a gentleman who’s running, who votes ‘no’ in 1991 when there are troops in Kuwait and oil fields on fire, and then votes ‘yes’ and there turns out not to be a threat.” One vote for no action, two for regime change? In the latest incident, Operation Iraqi Freedom, he voted against providing additional monetary support for our soldiers. If one were really acting in the interest of the soldiers, as Kerry claims to have been doing, one would have voted against military action and regime change but for the monetary supplement. If the soldiers are there, one might as well provide them with everything and anything they need.
Kerry must also clarify his inconsonant positions on No Child Left Behind, gay marriage, Kyoto, the PATRIOT Act, funding for the CIA and NAFTA. On the Senate floor, Kerry praised No Child Left Behind as “groundbreaking legislation” that “embraces many of the principles and programs that I believe are critical to improving the public education system.” Now he dubs it “one-size-fits-all testing mania.” He voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, but has said that he’s actually against gay marriage, that it “was no issue.” He has criticized President Bush for withdrawing from the Kyoto treaty in 2001, but in 1997 he voted in favor of a successful Senate resolution (95-0) that stated the U.S. “should not be a signatory [to the treaty].” Alluding to the PATRIOT Act, Kerry has said that “We are a nation of laws and liberties, not of a knock in the night.” But in 2001, when he voted for the act, he stated he was “pleased at the compromise we have reached on the anti-terrorism legislation.” He sponsored a bill to cut the CIA budget for intelligence gathering by $1.5 billion, but after 9/11 he questioned why U.S. intelligence wasn’t of greater capacity. Kerry has promised primary voters that he will “fix” NAFTA, but in 1993 he stated, “NAFTA is not the problem. Job loss is taking place without NAFTA.”
Kerry has been a “Yankee” member of the United States Senate for 19 years. This means Kerry will also be running against the annals of political history. Senators and non-Southern Democrats have typically made for poor presidential candidates. The last U.S. Senator of either party to make a direct transition into the White House was the other JFK, John F. Kennedy, over 40 years ago. Kerry has always appreciated this association, one of the few policies he has kept consistent. One has to wonder if the Democratic Party and the American electorate will tolerate Kerry’s policy vacillations. Generally, it’s a political rule that challengers to public office cannot afford to be anything but very confrontational. It seems Kerry will be different only in the direction of confrontation. He will be confronting himself.
Nick Romero is the editor in chief of the Gaucho Free Press.