by Greg Method
Okay, I'll admit it. I would be foolish to deny it.
I haven't been defending John Kerry all that much.
Whew, that took a lot out of me.
But it's true. For the last eight months, this site has pretty much been "all Bush-bashing, all day long," and that's fine of course. That's necessary. In fact, if the press had actually been doing its job for the last three years, then there probably wouldn't be a need for all this. People would have easily seen that Bush is a scumbag who has ripped off his clothes and rolled around in 9/11 like Daffy Duck swimming in gold coins.
So for the last eight months I've pretty much been ripping on Bush, questioning his mental capacity, pointing out his corruptness, wondering aloud why he can't give a straight answer on allegations that he's a cokehead, and calling his wife a vehicular murderer just because she fatally ran over her boyfriend in a drunken violent rage when she was a teenager, among many others.
That's not going to stop, of course. Why should it? Bush is without a doubt the worst president in history...well, okay then, certainly since the dawn of radio and television. If we don't hold this retard accountable for the things he garbles and the actions he's told to do, then who will?
But this month, however, I wanted to shift the focus a bit. As I said, I haven't been defending John Kerry on here as much as I should have...mainly because I thought he didn't need any help from me. But of course I didn't count on the GOP Smear Machine...you know, the one that questioned the patriotism of veteran and triple-amputee Max Cleland and, in a unique cannibalistic twist within the party, accused John McCain of fathering a black baby (as opposed to, say, rapist Strom Thurmond?).
This summer the GOP Smear Machine has been working at full power trying to discredit John Kerry by calling him weak. John Kerry...you know, the one who actually went to Vietnam and became a real war hero with a real honorable discharge. They have tried to paint him as someone who wants to steal the money right out of your pocket via higher taxes (even though they base it on his senate votes that had nothing to do with raising taxes), as someone who supposedly didn't serve in Vietnam despite his having been shot (maybe he just went to Columbus), as someone who would rather windsurf than help you (as opposed to, say, someone golfing while calling on nations to fight terrorists?), as someone who is anti-family just because he happens to believe in civil rights for women and homosexuals, and as someone who can't make up his mind on Bush's invasion of Iraq.
John Kerry, meanwhile, has tried to take the high road through all this by not trying to justify these idiotic claims with a response. But for some reason, a number of these attacks have stuck with the stupid, uneducated, gullible, submissive, mindless sheep in this country. You know who I'm talking about, Jay Leno! Those who think Saddam had something to do with 9/11. Those who think the invasion of Iraq was meant to protect us even though it's created even more enemies. Those who think we're liberators rather than occupiers. Those who refer to the very people we're fighting as "insurgents" rather than simply "Iraqis." Those who feel safer with Bush even though 9/11 happened on his fucking watch and he fucking sat there for seven fucking minutes and did nothing!
Anyway, the biggest charge that continues to hound Kerry is that he is supposedly a "flip-flopper," which for those of you who don't know has been the Bush camp's very immature way of trying to say that Kerry is somehow indecisive about Iraq just because he hasn't whittled his position down to shallow three-word soundbytes ("Bring 'em on," "Stay da course," "Turnin' da corner," etc.).
Now, because I have an education and actually read, to me Kerry's positions on Iraq and other issues have been quite clear. They've always been quite clear, so I'm going to try to explain them in a way that even Bush can understand.
Let's start with the big one, the Iraq invasion. Bush has been repeating again and again that John Kerry voted for this war...and, of course, many not-too-bright people believe him.
Well, unfortunately the world of politics is never that black and white. If it was, then any town drunk or privileged cokehead could run for public office.
What in fact really happened was:
John Kerry voted to give Bush authority to use force and allow United Nations weapons inspectors into Iraq to search for supposed weapons of mass destruction and, if they found any, to then form a legitimate international coalition with our allies to enter the country to disarm Saddam.
And this isn't suddenly a "new" interpretation. Here is what Kerry said on the Senate floor on October 9, 2002:
"In giving the president this authority, I expect him to fulfill the commitments he has made to the American people in recent days--to work with the United Nations Security Council to adopt a new resolution setting out tough and immediate inspection requirements, and to act with our allies at our side if we have to disarm Saddam Hussein by force. If he fails to do so, I will be among the first to speak out."
And, just in case there was any confusion, a year later on September 9, 2003 in Patriot's Point, South Carolina, Kerry reiterated his original position:
"I voted to threaten the use of force to make Saddam Hussein comply with the resolutions of the United Nations. I believe that was right--but it was wrong to rush to war without building a true international coalition--and with no plan to win the peace."
And here's just one more quote about that vote:
"If you want to keep the peace, you've got to have the authorization to use force. It's a chance for Congress to say, 'We support the administration's ability to keep the peace.' That's what this is all about."
See? According to the above quote, it wasn't a vote for war...it was a vote for peace. What's perhaps interesting is that the above declaration came from Bush himself!
Kerry has recently said that despite what we now know about Iraq's lack of weapons of mass destruction and Bush's dubious way of manipulating that information, he would vote the same way again...meaning he would again vote to allow United Nations weapons inspectors to search a country suspected of having weapons of mass destruction. Bush has since morphed that to mean that Kerry would again vote to go to war, but of course the flaw in that logic is that wasn't what the vote was for in the first place.
Now, let's move on. Kerry's one position on Iraq continues:
Following the vote, Bush interrupted the work of the United Nations weapons inspectors, preventing them from finishing their job. They reported that based on their extensive search thus far, Iraq did not in fact have weapons of mass destruction. Our allies wanted to allow the inspectors to continue their work, but Bush was no longer interested in their findings. Bush announced that the United States would invade Iraq anyway. Since there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction, most of our oldest and most loyal allies refused to join Bush in his crusade. Bush scolded those nations for not blindly believing his paranoia and then assembled a rather weak "coalition" with England and a number of other smaller countries, many of which didn't even have militaries. Bush entered Iraq, with no exit strategy, and so far it has cost us over one thousand of our troops and billions of dollars.
And that's about it. Long? Sure. Involved? No question. Complex? Of course. But inconsistent? Hardly.
But of course, you can't possibly explain that to Bush, or his supporters for that matter. Either his eyes wander with a rather glassy look to them, or he sticks his fingers into his ears and gives that "You're speaking over my head, therefore you're wrong" look. To Bush, any position longer than one sentence must be inconsistent.
Lately, Bush's big stance is that he's supposedly a resolute leader because of his position on Iraq, even though I just showed a minute ago that Bush was the one who would later rethink what Congress's vote meant. Just to show how resolute he is, Bush has proudly said that despite the lost lives and the other tolls its taken, he would gladly attack Iraq again.
First of all, I have a real problem with Bush's idea that a politician isn't allowed to have a second opinion. I mean, isn't that what thinking people do? They consider all information and may come to a new realization based on it? I would think it's scarier to have a politician who doesn't change his mind when faced with new information.
Anyway, according to Bush, Kerry is bad because he may have changed his mind once in his life. But let me ask you this: is it good to be resolute, but wrong? Does it matter that you've never changed your mind if your actions have killed over a thousand people? Noodle that one next time you hear Bush make the "flip-flop" charge.
Even when you get past the whole "what Kerry voted for" debate with some of that there thinkin' logic, the evil Bush team is ready for you with a second wave of "flip-flopping" accusations. The next thing Bush will say, or rather the slimeballs who produce Bush's official campaign ads will say, is that Kerry supposedly refused to fund our troops in Iraq. This is perhaps the more-famous of the accusations because of a chopped-up soundbyte they use in which Kerry says, "I voted for the $87 billion, before I voted against it[ABRUPT CUT]"
And that's supposed to be it. Kerry didn't vote for it, right? By all means, why are we even having an election?
Well, the one small detail that everyone seems to either forget or not know is that there were two versions of the bill! A Democrat-backed version, the one Kerry did vote for, that Bush threatened to veto unless certain changes were made to it. Then there was a Republican-backed version, with Bush's provisions, which Kerry knew would pass but did not vote for out of protest because the bill wouldn't really change the policy in Iraq, favored Halliburton and Bush's other corporate contributors, and would pass the increasing debt onto future generations.
Another small detail that is never discussed is that Bush also was for one version of the bill but was opposed to the other! It shouldn't be that surprising, wouldn't one think? After all, there were two versions, but only one was being championed by Bush, his party, and his contributors. Of course Bush would back one and not the other. So, does that mean Bush was against the $87 billion before he was for it? Does that mean that Bush didn't want to support our troops at first? In fact, doesn't it mean that when Bush didn't support our troops, Kerry did?
Hey, if one accusation is supposedly valid, then shouldn't it work the other way around, too?
Over the last few months I've been going over a variety of issues that illustrate why any intelligent person shouldn't vote for Bush this year, and throughout my research I've come upon a number of additional "flip-flops" from Bush. Now, I am hardly the first person to mention these, but still if Bush's big argument against Kerry is that he's supposedly inconsistent, then Bush better make sure the same can't be said of him.
In March I was talking about Bush's very odd desire for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, as he didn't want individual states making such decisions themselves. But, in February 2000 Bush was on Larry King Live, where he was asked, "So therefore if a state were voting on gay marriage, you would suggest to that state not to approve it?"
Bush answered, "The state can do what they want to do. Don't try to trap me in this state's issue."
There's a flip-flop. Bush was for states deciding on gay marriage on their own before he was against it.
If that wasn't enough, at an October 2000 presidential debate, Bush said, "I will be a tolerant person. I've been a tolerant person all my life...I don't really think it's any of my concern how you conduct your sex life. That's a private matter. I support equal rights but not special rights for people."
There's another flip-flop. He was for equal rights before he was against them...and that really can be applied to any of his stances on homosexuals, women's rights, blacks, or Hispanics.
In May I found a quote from Dickhead Cheney about Bush's position on abortion. Dickface said, "President Bush has often expressed his commitment that in a compassionate society, every child be welcomed in life." Yet, Bush is also strongly pro-death penalty and he has sent over one thousand of our troops to die for personal reasons.
So there's another flip-flop. Bush was for protecting potential new lives while at the same time killing actual existing lives.
The environment was my big topic in June, at which point I found two very interesting Bush quotes. At a GOP debate in January 2000, Bush said of environmental research, "I think we ought to have high standards set by agencies that rely upon science, not by what may feel good or what sounds good." Just nine months later at the Wake Forest University presidential debate, when asked if the government should pass new regulations, he said, "Sure, absolutely, so long as they're based upon science and they're reasonable; so long as people have input."
Well, Bush's administration is notorious for denying the public access to scientific and environmental discussions. Bush has also fired scientists and researchers whose findings may not jive with the interests of his campaign contributors (many of which are some of the most environmentally unsound industries around). And he has withheld promised funding to organizations that don't agree with him on abortion rights or stem-cell research.
So there is yet another flip-flop. Bush was for the public and experts having scientific opinions he didn't agree with before he was against it.
Just last month I mentioned, and this is something that I don't think gets nearly enough attention, that for years Bush was bragging about passing a patients' bill of rights in Texas. In his own 1999 memoir A Charge to Keep he said, "Thanks to the laws I signed, in Texas. HMOs are forbidden to enact 'gag clauses' that discourage doctors from discussing treatment options, insurance must pay for hospital emergency care, women can go directly to their gynecologist. Patients with lengthy, ongoing illnesses cannot be required to change doctors, and if cancer patients need treatment that is not provided within their network, their insurance must refer them to specialty hospitals and pay for that care."
Both the September 30, 2000 issue of the magazine The Economist and the October 18, 2000 Boston Globe confirmed that Bush did not support the bill, did not sign the bill, and in 1995 he actually vetoed an earlier version of the bill!
So yet again, we have a flip-flop. Bush was for a patients' bill of rights after he was against it. And even now he's trying to prevent people from suing lousy doctors. So, Junior, which is it?? Are you for or against patients' rights?
I made this comparison last month, but look at the recent independent 9/11 Commission. Bush was against the idea, tried to actually block its formation, refused to testify in public for them, refused to testify alone even in private, withheld documents from them, tried to prevent Condoleeza Rice from testifying before them, and refused to give them more time for additional research and study...yet as soon as they released their findings, and after Kerry fully supported all of their recommended changes to national policy and defense, Bush suddenly went along with it, as if he was behind them the whole time.
Once again, we have a flip-flop. Bush was strongly against the 9/11 Commission and tried to sabotage it before he was for it.
This wasn't the first time Bush dragged his feet when it came to national security in our ultra-sensitive post-9/11 world. According to the cool BuzzFlash web site, an October 2001 White House press briefing stated that Bush was against creating the Department of Homeland Security! Yeah, that big dumb new department that Bush has said will solve all of our problems because it uses a vague colored chart! I just wish he would have stated his original feelings on it publicly back then. I actually would have agreed with him.
Oh that Bush and his flip-flops. He was against the formation of the Department of Homeland Security before he was for it.
Before we delve back into Iraq, the "War on Terrah" (wasn't that the plantation in Gone with the Wind?), and other international problems, let's go over something that's been in the news a lot lately: 527 ads. Since Bush's campaign does have financial connections to the sleazy Swift Boat for Truth group that's slandering Kerry via his war record, Bush cannot condemn its ads...but instead he has condemned all 527 groups in general without going into specifics. You see, 527 ads are allowed due to the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law from a couple of years ago. According to ABC News, Bush was against the bill when it was in Congress in March 2001. Yet just a year later in February 2002, soon after both the House and Senate passed it, a White House press release stated that Bush was suddenly for it. And of course, Bush is now calling for an end to all groups, whose ads were created out of the very law he signed.
Granted it was a dumb bill in the first place, but here we have a flip-flop-flup! Bush was against campaign finance reform before he was for it...and then before he was against it all over again.
One domestic issue that I wanted to tackle sometime within these past eight months but didn't get a chance to is education. Bush's biggest action when it comes to the problems facing education was the creation of the No Child Left Behind Act, a bill involving standardized testing that's based largely on Democrat proposals during Clinton's second term. Despite passing the act, Bush made no plans to reduce class sizes, no plans to expand the revolutionary Head Start program, no plans to increase teacher salaries, no plans to even hire qualified teachers, and worst of all no plans to properly fund the states to run it!
El flippo-floppo. Bush made plans for education reform before he made plans against it.
But in the end, when it comes to the topic of flip-flopping, the Bush camp will focus on Iraq and terrorism, so let's focus on it.
Remember that guy Osama bin Laden? Oh sure, you know who I mean...that mastermind behind the 9/11 tragedy that started this whole "war on terrorism" thing. You know, the guy we couldn't find because Bush does business with the Saudis, so we instead went after Iraq. In a speech just days after 9/11 Bush said capturing bin Laden was his top priority: "We will not rest until we have found him." On September 16, 2001 he said Osama was "wanted, dead or alive." Not even half a year later, on March 13, 2002, Bush said at a news conference "I don't know where he is...I have no idea and I really don't care. It's not that important." And a year later he said, "Terror is bigger than one person...So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him...to be honest with you...I truly am not that concerned about him."
That's a BIG TIME flip-flop. The man who attacked us and continued to make threats against us was no longer a priority?!? So you see, Bush was for going after bin Laden before he was against it.
And remember when nobody was buying the "Iraq has WMDs" reason for invading the country? Bush then went into this tap-dance of how we're really going there to remove an evil guy and show this prehistoric land the wonders of creating a nation full of freedom and democracy and sunshine and lollipops and Santa Claus. It seems a little odd that would be Bush's reasons for going to war, since at Wake Forest University's aforementioned presidential debate in October 2000 he said of Somalia: "It started off as a humanitarian mission then changed into a nation-building mission and that's where the mission went wrong. I think our troops ought to be used to fight and win war. But in this case, it was a nation-building exercise...and same with Haiti. I wouldn't have supported either." He later said in the debate, "I don't think nation-building missions are worthwhile."
And just in case his position then wasn't clear enough, at the Boston debate that same month he said, "I don't think we can be all things to all people in the world. I think we've got to be very careful when we commit our troops...I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders."
So, here we go again. Flipped and flopped. Bush was against using our troops for nation-building before he was for it.
Meanwhile, there's a country that actually has nuclear weapons and has actually made threats to use them against us, North Korea! Originally Bush was adamant about not negotiating with the country, but then Time reported last month that he would give North Korea aid if they promised to stop building nuclear weapons. So let's see if I got this straight...Bush invaded Iraq with no evidence that they had weapons, yet will grant wussy favors to another country that does have weapons?
This is a double flip-flop. Bush was for sending our troops into a foreign country to protect us from nothing before he was against sending them to protect us from something...while Bush was also against negotiating with North Korea for their weapons before he was for it. Whew!
Late last month Bush gave what are perhaps his two biggest flip-flops regarding the war on reason--err, I mean, terror. Although he has never grown the balls to say that going to Iraq was a mistake, in one interview on August 26 he said that the war effort was "miscalculated." Just three days later, he changed his mind and said that Iraq was a (hold onto your hats) "catastrophic success."
This may very well be the first flip-flop in history with a self-flip-flopping phrase! "Catastrophic success??" What the hell does that mean?!?
And just one day later, on August 30, Bush gave his most baffling flip-flop. After months and years of saying that we need to stop terrorists, he said that the "War on Terrah" was not winnable! Only a day after that, he backtracked and said that we in fact are winning the "war on terror."
Um...huh? The man currently running the country and who initiated this whole "war on terror" thing can't even make up his mind on if we can win it?? His whole campaign has been "I will protect you from terrorists"...and he admits that he may not be able to do that? So, why the hell should we vote for him?!?
To me, Bush's waffling is more disturbing than Kerry's supposed waffling, because Bush's are based on cluelessness, on not knowing exactly what he's talking about. If Kerry does change his mind on something, you at least know that he's doing it because he took the initiative to become better educated on the matter.
And that's really what this election is all about. It's the smart guy challenging the dim guy. The guy who quotes facts, figures, and numbers versus the guy who proudly says he doesn't read the newspaper.
When you watch the three debates in the coming month or so, just remember that you'll be looking at two men. One man has consistently said that we were wrong to invade Iraq without any real evidence or assistance...and the other can't decide if we can even win against terrorists.
The choice is clear, and I think everyone will be able to make up their minds in November.
Well, almost everyone.
Quote of the Month
"Isn't this one of the coolest things about a democracy, getting to give some payback to those in power? 'YOU'RE FIRED!' Oooh, that feels good--especially if the recipient of the pink slip is someone who wants to send your kid off to war."
Link of the Month
The Flip Flops of George W. Bush
Hey, what else would it be this month?