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The Voting Mango

All Presidential Politics from here till November

Monday, February 09, 2004

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From the Department of Statements That Will Come Back To Haunt You

"We do not need to divide America over who served [in Vietnam] and how." -- John Kerry, defending Clinton. Let's hope someone dusts this one off if Kerry becomes the nominee and tries to attack Bush for being a fighter pilot in the National Guard.

"I don't need any lectures in courage from Howard Dean," -- John Kerry, in response to the attacks of Howard Dean over gay rights, an issue which is, of course, closely related to service in Vietnam.

John Kerry clearly does not mean this. He reminds me very much of a certain composition grad student with whom I had a class. He had gone to Harvard, and could work that fact into almost any statement ("Oh yes, well, at Harvard, we learned that the frequency of A was 440...""Well, at Harvard, we wrote much longer compositions...") Extremely obnoxious. Same deal with Kerry. I read a dead-on spoof article by Rick Lowry to the effect of "John Kerry finally breaks silence about Vietnam." It is a fake interview in which "Kerry" answers every question with some reference to Vietnam. You really ought to read the whole thing because it's very funny and very accurate, but I'll post one Q&A here:

"Q: Senator, the Vietnam War is often a subtle undercurrent to your campaign, and some Democrats have been criticizing President Bush for serving in the Texas Air National Guard. Are you making Vietnam an issue?

A: No. I have always said, across my long, distinguished career of public service, that I would never judge the choices of anyone during the Vietnam War. Not those who chose to burn their draft cards. Not those who chose to flee to Canada. Not those who chose to drop acid and commit public sex acts. Not even those cowardly weasels who chose to serve in the National Guard.

When I was maneuvering through the Mekong Delta, and the jungle heat was nearly intolerable, some of my comrades in arms would say, "I hate those cowardly pantywaists who stayed home to serve in the National Guard." And I would say to my men as we dodged incoming fire: "No. No! We are here risking our lives every single hour of every single day in order to defend the freedom and security of even those cowardly weasels back home in the National Guard.""

As the OpinionJournal article points out, "The transparent answer is that the Senator is trying to use his Vietnam biography as a political shield against his national security voting record. [...] Mr. Kerry (who was Mr. Dukakis's lieutenant governor) wants voters to focus on his medals, not his voting record."

And really, he ought not want us to focus too closely on his medals, or we might remember that "throwing his friends' medals on the steps of the Capitol in protest and making everyony think they were his" incident. For more on Kerry's Vietnam tick, the Washington Post has a great article on the Dem's enthusiasm for it.

(Hat tip to Dr. Armstrong, via Susan for the OpinionJournal Article)


posted by mango  # 5:59 PM
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From Edwards' Multimedia Department

We just got an email entitled "My View from the Road..." I had hoped it was going to be another 1st person missive from Johnny himself, but this was from a supporter. Nothing hysterical, very down to earth. Not worth quoting. However, said supporter has made a video that he wants us to see.

You can see his view from the road here.
posted by mango  # 5:19 PM
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From the Department of Evil Media Conspiracies

Kucinich's campaign just sent out a snarky little email complaining that though their man is "surging," the media is neglecting them. The email reads:

"Dennis Kucinich has finished both the Washington and Maine caucuses ahead of candidates John Edwards, Wesley Clark and Al Sharpton. This represents the strongest back-to-back showing of his campaign to date. One would think that such a clear surge would require coverage from the national media. One would be wrong.

[CNN said that Dean was the only candidate to campaign in Washington, but Kucinich did too! CNN is mean!]

Dennis Kucinich has begun a strong surge in the race for the Democratic nomination. He is in this race to the end. The time has come for the national media to get wise to this, and at a minimum, to begin reporting basic facts with accuracy and integrity."

Well, yes and no. If you consider the fact that John Edwards and Wesley Clark did not compete in the aforementioned states, beating them seems like less of an accomplishment. Kucinich beat me too, but I'm not running, so it's not that newsworthy. I guess it might be worth a one-line mention, perhaps something "In the super-liberal Seattle region, a few people voted for Kucinich" vein. But the fact is, Edwards and Clark have a semi-respectable number of delegates to their name, and thus they are news. They are viable. Until Kucinich hits the threshold of viability in a state (15%), he's just an asterisk. And if the media doesn't start covering it, what's he gonna do? Assult them with well-aged tofu?

posted by mango  # 5:14 PM
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A Dispatch from the Department of Liking John Kerry

Today's New Republic has a nice article on the not-immediately-obvious political courage of John Kerry. A bit wonkish, but here are the key quotes:

"The rap on John Kerry is well known: He's an incorrigible panderer who constantly tilts with the prevailing political winds. But just over a decade ago, Kerry did the exact opposite, leading an investigation into money laundering at the shadowy Bank of Credit and Commerce International--better known by its infamous acronym, BCCI--in the face of overwhelming political pressure. The episode paints a picture of Kerry at once courageous and humane--and lends credence to the heroic persona his campaign is attempting to project. "

"Not that Kerry's performance in the episode was entirely above reproach. Critics across the spectrum--and not just Clifford apologists--accused the senator of using his subcommittee as an ersatz court, with public opinion as its jury and self-aggrandizement as the goal. And Kerry wasn't always the coolest operator under fire--at one point during the BCCI hearings, he told a group of reporters that the Bush administration was trying to block his efforts by digging up dirt on him. Then there was the fact that Kerry himself had ties to BCCI, however inadvertently. As head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, he had, it turns out, worked with a BCCI-linked banker, David Paul, to raise over $16 million in campaign contributions. (Kerry aides did not return calls seeking comment on this issue.) None of this mattered to the substance of the case, of course. But these moments did in some sense foreshadow flaws in Kerry's political persona that would become more apparent down the road.

....And Kerry, at a time when all of Washington was pressuring him to do otherwise, clearly chose to do the right thing--first seeing to it that justice would be served, then refusing to heap unnecessary humiliation on a man who was, by then, broken in body and spirit. Kerry may or may not be the right Democrat to nominate for president. But he clearly does have it within him to do the right thing."

posted by mango  # 12:53 PM
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From the Department of Almost Entirely False Statements

Wes Clark on CNN.com:

"And, Wolf, the second point is, Saddam Hussein may well have been a bad guy. But since when does the United States go to war with people because we don't like them? There's any number of bad people around the world. Why did the president choose this particular man to go to war with?

We've never done this before, that I know of, in American history. We picked the guy out, we made him a villain. We had him contained. We went to war with Iraq, despite the fact there was no imminent threat to the United States, no connection to 9/11. The diplomatic options were not exhausted. We didn't have a plan as to what to do when we got to Baghdad. We didn't have the forces to do it with."

Now, if I recall correctly, the whole reason we're supposed to take this guy seriously is because he went to Kosovo and took out Milosevic, to some extent. And good ol' Slobodan had never tried to make WMDs, invaded several countries, supplied terrorists in other countries, or tried to assassinate an American President. He was just calmly minding his own genocidal business over there in Eastern Europe. Saddam makes this guy look like a Cub Scout. You can see why Clark was removed from command. He's scary.


posted by mango  # 10:30 AM

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