Comrade Kerry Unspun Comrade Kerry Unspun

By: Rachel Marsden

The Democratic National Convention in Boston last week looked like it was sponsored by the same purple fruit juice that figured prominently at the “Jonestown convention” in Guyana back in 1978. Now that the confetti has settled and the balloons have finally dropped onto the convention floor (after a little vocal encouragement from the convention director that seemed to be heavily sponsored by the letter “f”), it’s time to cut through the spin.

Certainly the major news networks won’t do it for you. That is, offer up an objective analysis of the event. If they had any intention of doing so, then they would have had actual “conservative pundits” giving their critique of John Kerry’s acceptance speech—not just ones who tacked on the label, only to then sit there alongside CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Jeff Greenfield and Judy Woodruff, nodding their heads like automatons and saying what a great job Kerry did. It was the baseball equivalent of the New York Yankees showing up to a Boston Red Sox practice and saying, “Damn, these guys are amazing! Nothing but great stuff going on here!”

By the way, here’s a quick tip for determining the objectivity of a news or current affairs program: If they refer to all the guests on the program as “commentators”, but feel the need to stick the qualifying label of “conservative commentator” on those without a leftist-bent, then it should tell you everything you need to know about the folks who put together that broadcast.

John Kerry is a master at passing himself off as whatever happens to be convenient at the time. When he spoke at the recent NAACP meeting, he did the black-power, fist-in-the-air salute—meaning that he’s either (a) black, or (b) just a pandering, opportunistic white guy. He came out of the gate at the Democratic Convention with a soldier’s salute, saying “I’m John Kerry and I’m reporting for duty.” Again, different strokes for different folks.

After that salute and the subsequent speech, it would be tough to blame someone who doesn’t know John Kerry for believing that he spent 20 years in Vietnam and only 4 months in the Senate (instead of the reality, which is the other way around). It would also be easy, based on Kerry’s speech, to believe that he’s a lot of other things that he isn’t (like, for example, a Republican)—and forget that the man is a master of saying one thing and doing the complete opposite.

John Kerry says that he will reform the intelligence system whose failures ultimately led to the terrorist attacks of September 11th. Real reform means that the CIA has to get back on the ground overseas and start acting like spies, instead of ‘patrolling’ these countries via satellite from their office in Virginia like a bunch of kids playing X-Box spy games from their home computers. It’s time to get over that post-Cold War complacency. But real spy work requires big bucks, and John Kerry has a track record of cheaping out on intelligence: In 1994, Kerry proposed and voted to cut $1 billion from intelligence. In 1995, Kerry introduced a bill in the Senate to reduce the intelligence budget by $300 million in each of fiscal years 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000.

Kerry declared in his speech, “On my first day in office, I will send a message to every man and woman in our armed forces: You will never be asked to fight a war without a plan to win the peace….To all who serve in our armed forces today, I say, help is on the way.” Here’s one of the many critical differences between John Kerry and President George W. Bush: Both felt strongly that going into Iraq and getting rid of Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do (both John Edwards and John Kerry voted in October 2002 to give Bush the authority to go into Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein), but George Bush is actually willing to use America’s economic might to cover those soldiers in their efforts. Kerry, on the other hand, recently voted against $87 billion in much needed funding for the troops. It’s a pattern that has been prevalent in Kerry’s record ever since he proposed cuts as his overall defense strategy when he first ran for office in 1984.

In his acceptance speech, Kerry promised that he wouldn’t raise taxes for the middle-class. Tough to believe, coming from a guy who has voted for higher taxes more than 350 times. He also said that he’d put more cash into government coffers by “rolling back [Bush’s] tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals who make over $200,000 a year.” If this was such a big priority for Kerry, then maybe he should have showed up for work on June 17th, 2004, to actually vote in the Senate on the Biden Amendment which proposed essentially the same thing. According to Congressional Quarterly, John Kerry missed 72% of 119 recorded votes held in 2003 on issues that President Bush had taken a position on. By contrast, fellow Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy only missed 3% of votes.

Speaking of missed votes, Kerry missed 36 of 38 votes dealing with medicare reform and prescription drug benefit, including final passage of the bill. But now he has identified fixing the health care system as a priority. Kerry sat on his hands for two decades while Ted Kennedy and the Democrats were busy destroying health care. Kennedy created the HMO monster, and now wants to yank all of its teeth out and allow people to go after HMOs that deny patients payment for medical care, thereby raising the premiums for everyone. Why would we expect Kerry to suddenly make an appearance on this issue now when he’s been AWOL for 20 years?

John Kerry gave a rah-rah speech at the Democratic Convention that would have sounded great coming from a Republican, but not out of the mouth of one of the most liberal politicians in Washington. Comrade Ketchup has been Monday morning quarterbacking it for years now, critiquing the play from the sidelines instead of getting into the game. Now, he’s doing the same thing with President Bush—someone who has shown decisive leadership on every issue, fighting the war on terrorism while taking measures to improve things on the domestic front. Kerry has yet to identify a single thing he would do better—and that he could also back up with his 20-year record. He’s like the kid who puts on an oversize NBA jersey and plays the ‘3-pointer contest’ during the half-time show: It’s amusing to watch him get out there and grandstand, pretending he’s something he’s not, but you certainly wouldn’t want to have him leading your team in a full-court press.