VIEW FROM THE RIGHT
Adam Sparks, Special to SF Gate
Monday, August 23, 2004
John Kerry surrendered the election to George W. Bush this month when he finally came out and said exactly what he would do in Iraq. After months of equivocating over how the president misled the American people with all those phony WMDs and teasing us that he had a secret plan for Iraq, the Democratic candidate for president said he still would have given the president the authority to go into Iraq even without any evidence of WMDs.
Wow, what an admission!
That's a position slightly to the right of Bush, who never went quite that far. The president removed Saddam, in large part, due to faulty intelligence; Kerry would have voted to give the president the authority anyway, regardless of whether Iraq had WMDs. What does this admission do to his campaign?
It sinks it. Kerry has been under pressure to straighten out his views on the war: Bush demanded that Kerry tell the American people whether he would have supported the war "knowing what we know now" about the failure to find weapons of mass destruction, and, in response, Kerry said, "Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it was the right authority for a president to have."
That comment probably sealed the coffin for his presidential hopes, and the Lefties are squealing in contortions with this latest declaration. because so much of the leftist wing of the Democrat Party is made up of Deanie-weenies, who are both Saddam appeasers and unabashed peaceniks. This latest and startling revelation, that Kerry would also have pushed for a war of liberation in Iraq whether or not any WMDs were there, now means he should lose a good 10 percent of the vote -- those of the peace-at-any-price voters who have been turned off now that they realize there isn't a great deal of difference between the two major candidates. These people won't cross over and vote for Bush; they just won't go to the polls at all. Why bother? Kerry is now more gung-ho than Bush. He must have taken that Vietnam thing at the convention just a bit too seriously.
Here's how the president reacted: "Now, almost two years after he voted for the war in Iraq, and almost 220 days after switching positions to declare himself the antiwar candidate, my opponent has found a new nuance. He now agrees it was the right decision to go into Iraq."
Bush added, "After months of questioning my motives, and even my credibility, Senator Kerry now agrees with me that even though we have not found the stockpiles of weapons we all believed were there, knowing everything we know today, he would have voted to go into Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power. I want to thank Senator Kerry for clearing that up."
Veteran Kerry watchers should not be surprised. As a member of the U.S. Select Senate Committee on Intelligence during the Clinton years, he repeatedly warned Americans about Saddam's WMDs before Bush was elected -- a minor detail left unmentioned during the Kerry campaign. I guess that makes him the original WMD liar.
Soon after Bush was elected, Kerry's prevarications and flip-flopping began; click here to see his unfiltered statements on video. Don't blame Kerry for spouting bad intelligence, though; it's not his fault he missed 38 of the Senate Intelligence Committee's 49 public meetings during his eight years as a committee member.
By their actions you will know them; forget the campaign promises. Let's look at Kerry's leadership in the Senate. New York's World Trade Center (WTC) was first bombed on Feb. 26, 1993; Americans remember that this event was a precursor to 9/11. Fortunately, the bomb did not go off with as much strength as the terrorists had planned; if it had, thousands of people would have died. As it was, during this first disaster, eight lost their lives, and 1,000 were injured.
Kerry swung into action. Not immediately, but soon. OK, maybe it took him a year to make the decision -- but, hey, better late than never. Unbelievably, in 1994, Kerry's response to the WTC bombing was a proposal to cut $6 billion in the budget for the nation's intelligence agencies. Most Democrats panned the bill, including Dennis DeConcini, then chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who warned that it made "no sense for us to close our eyes and ears to developments around the world which could ultimately save U.S. lives and resources." Sen. Daniel Inoue, D-Hawaii, also a member of the committee, said Kerry's proposal "would severely hamper" intelligence efforts.
Fortunately, it was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 75-20, with even old lefty Sen. Ted Kennedy voting against the measure. That's gotta hurt. Of course, Kerry still whines that we don't have enough human intelligence on the ground. Is he referring to himself?
In 1997, he mused on the floor of the Senate, "Why it is that our vast intelligence apparatus, built to sustain America in the long twilight struggle of the Cold War, continues to grow at an exponential rate? Now that that struggle is over, why is it that our vast intelligence apparatus continues to grow even as government resources for new and essential priorities fall far short of what is necessary?" Kerry knew then about the global threat al Qaeda poses. Is this how he and Clinton prepared us for the war on terror?
And then there's his response to Bush's announcement last week of the largest return of troops since the start of the Cold War, in which the president promised to bring back to the United States 70,000 troops from units originally deployed in Europe and Asia as a presence to deter communist aggression. This move should please all those antimilitary types in Europe and the United States. However, to everyone's surprise, Kerry said he's against the decision, which he calls "hasty." The Cold War ended in 1989, when the Berlin Wall was torn down, and that decisive candidate, John Kerry, now calls the president's decision to finally bring the troops back "hasty"?
Christmas in August for Bush
Here's the latest on how presidential contender Kerry may be embellishing the truth. Kerry wrote about his Vietnam tour of duty in an op-ed column in The Boston Herald in October 1979, saying, "I remember spending Christmas Eve of 1968 five miles across the Cambodian border, being shot at by our South Vietnamese allies, who were drunk and celebrating Christmas. The absurdity of almost being killed by our own allies in a country in which President Nixon claimed there were no American troops was very real."
How many lies can you count in this statement? There are three. First, Nixon was not president in December 1968; second, the South Vietnamese, predominantly Buddhists, don't celebrate Christmas; and, third, Kerry was never in Cambodia.
These revelations were highlighted in the just-released book "Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak out against John Kerry," by John O'Neill (who succeeded Kerry as officer in charge of PCF 94, a "swift boat" patrol craft) and Jerome R. Corsi. The authors report that three of Kerry's five-man swift-boat crew denied they or their boat were in Cambodia on Christmas 1968 and that the other two refused to comment.
Jeh Johnson of the Kerry campaign came out last week with a very sheepish, flip-flopping correction (what else would you expect?) that parses a sentence in a way that would make Clinton green with envy: "I believe he has corrected the record to say it was someplace near Cambodia; he is not certain whether it was in Cambodia, but he is certain there was some point subsequent to that that he was in Cambodia." Come again? Ironically, Kerry used his original comments about his time in Cambodia to talk about government duplicity. He should rename his campaign theme "Hype is on the way."
Kerry vs. the First Amendment
On the heels of the release of the critical book "Unfit for Command," a group called the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are running an anti-Kerry commercial in battleground states. But Kerry and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) would prefer you didn't see it: They're pulling out all the stops with intemperate threats of lawsuits against any of the TV stations that dares run the commercial.
Gee, I wonder whether Kerry's running mate John Edwards, that boyish multimillionaire former personal-injury attorney, had anything to do with this novel strategy of defeating the First Amendment? They know not many people will read the book, so Kerry has prepared an all-out ground assault against this "air war" on the part of his fellow veterans. Kerry, with the DNC, has threatened libel suits against all TV stations that run the ad.
Rather than sue after the ad comes out, they're trying to intimidate TV stations into not running it. They're going for the throat. Regrettably, some stations have caved in to the cheap threats. (You're welcome to see the commercial at the center of the hoopla.)
This very unusual tactic of threatening TV stations with legal action is very aggressive, but it shows Kerry is fearful of an examination of his Vietnam record. The threats are not real, though; Kerry has no intention of suing anyone. Does he really want a libel trial in which all his exploits will be cross examined? Unlikely. Here's the letter from his lawyers to the stations, threatening legal action, and here's a rebuttal from the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
Where are all the liberals who defend the First Amendment? They're nowhere to be seen, and their absence in this controversy is perplexing. It must mean liberals will fight to defend free speech only when it's speech they agree with. The rest of the time, the First Amendment be damned.
Majority Approves of President
Now that we all know Kerry is more warlike than the president -- after all, he would have removed Saddam without any evidence of WMDs -- Bush's job approval in the latest Gallup poll is now at 51 percent, almost identical to Clinton's 52 percent rating in August 1996 and President Reagan's 54 percent mark in August 1984. Last week, USA Today reported that "no president who has been at or above 50 percent at this point in an election year has lost."
Last week, a Gallup Poll reported Bush ahead of Kerry, 50-47, with likely voters, a turnaround from a month ago today, when Kerry was ahead in the same poll -- until the Democratic National Convention, that is.
In addition, The Washington Post came out last year with a historical analysis of why it would be very hard to unseat Bush, and that finding is still true today. The president has near-unanimous approval of Republicans, whereas the Democrats are split between those who want the United States to take a proactive role and pre-empt the terrorist groups in the Middle East and those who want to just sip their lattes and practice their French.
There will be few crossover voters from Republicans to Kerry, but the opposite is not true: Veterans and active-duty military will go for Bush. Remember how Gore wanted every vote counted in 2000, except for those from overseas military voters? In addition, Christians who go to church regularly are increasingly overwhelmingly pro-Republican, and moderates are similarly crossing over to the president.
The Democratic primary was hotly contested, but there was no question of Bush getting the Republican nod. The Demos really would like to be excited for Kerry, if they could figure out just who he is and what he stands for -- this week. The Kerry strategy of campaigning on the basis of not being Bush is, unfortunately, not enough to win an election. As of now, with most of Kerry's fellow Vietnam veterans on the warpath against him, it looks as if his swift boat to the White House has sprung a leak and is sinking quickly.
Adam Sparks is a Bay Area writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.