candid thoughts on the issues of the day.
John Kerry is Strong and Steady
Published on August 10, 2004 By Robert Guinness In Politics
Republicans often try to discredit John Kerry by saying he is a waffler, i.e. he changes his position on issues. They often use the example that he voted "for the war in Iraq" but "against the $87 billion to support the troops". This claim is either a sign that the purveyor of this misstatement fails to understand basic government, or it is a deceptive distortion, which in plain language, we call a lie.

Kerry did not "vote for the war" nor did anyone else in the Congress because there never was a vote "for the war". A vote for the war would imply a Declaration of War vote, which the Congress never attempted. The vote that this misstatement is referring to is the vote on 11 October 2002 to give the President the authority to use force, if necessary, to enforce the UN resolutions regarding Iraq (H.J.RES.114). Senator Kerry voted in favor of this resolution.

The second misstatement, that Kerry voted against the "$87 billion to support the troops" fails to recognize that there was not just one vote on this $87 billion appropriations bill. In reality there were dozens of votes on this bill and its related amendments. In total, there were 93 amendments to this bill. One amendment in particular, S.AMDT.1796, submitted by Senator Biden of Delaware, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, would have given the full $87 billion the President requested, but it would have paid for it by rolling back a portion of the tax break for the highest income bracket. In other words, instead of the $87 being paid for by our creditors (Japan, China, etc.) to be paid back with interest by our children, Senator Biden proposed that it be paid for now by the richest people in the United States making a sacrifice of a portion of their tax break.

Personally, I think this is a reasonable request, and is more responsible than just adding to the already record deficit we are facing. It is no secret that usually wars are disproportionately paid for, in terms of lives lost, by the poorest of people in the United States, so to ask the richest to pick up the financial tab in a time when the middle and lower income people are facing very difficult economic conditions, is reasonable and fair.

It is also important to point out that this $87 billion was not an appropriation to "pay for the war". In reality, it was an emergency supplemental amount to an already paid amount of $79 billion. In other words, because the war was not going well, Bush came to Congress and asked them to more than double the amount originally expected. Now this might be understandable. War is a difficult thing to predict, and that there might be unanticipated costs is forgivable. But as many have pointed out, these unanticipated costs were a result of poor "post-war" planning. Many agree to this point.

So for Congress to say, "Ok, Mr. President, we understand that you made some mistakes in planning for the post-war period, and we are going to support you in paying to finish the job, but we need to find a way to pay for it." this is very reasonable. In fact, this amendment, which was cosponsored by Sen. Kerry and 6 other senators, had fairly wide support. It was not a fringe, radical proposal. It failed only after a tabling motion that narrowly passed by a vote of 57 - 42. Later, Kerry stuck to his guns and voted against the bill that lacked this amendment.

So why is it that those who criticize Kerry pick out this one vote where Kerry actually did take a stand and stuck to it as an example of Kerry waffling? Why do they pick out this one vote and try to say he voted "against supporting the troops"? By the same argument, you could say the 57 senators who voted against the version of the bill that actually had a means to pay for the $87 billion as "voting against supporting the troops". You could also say they voted "against the economy", since they voted to increase the national deficit.

Kerry stuck to his guns. He stood up for fiscal responsibility. ...And Bush calls himself "conservative"...

Comments (Page 1)
on Aug 10, 2004
Nice try... but you are like many of my other liberal friends. Instead of looking at the facts, you tend to parse hairs regarding votes and issues. It is much like the famous quote, "...it depends upon what the definition of the word is is?" Clinton was one of the best at trying to twist issues, votes, ect. into things they are not (so I must give him political credit), but no one can put a twist onto John Kerry not actually voting for the war.

When you said that “Kerry did not "vote for the war" nor did anyone else in the Congress because there never was a vote "for the war”… well I am not sure how you can have a war without force. John Kerry plus everyone else who voted for H.J.RES.114 voted for the President to have the authority to use force. Anytime someone uses force, regardless to political parties, it is a war. Using force without calling it a war is very shortsighted and wishful thinking. Therefore in reality Kerry did vote for the war because it did vote for the authorization to use force.

Now on the 87 billion dollars for Iraq and Afghanistan. Yes there were many amendments added on with some amendments gaining Kerry’s approval. But the final passage of the bill, which included all of the amendments you cited, Kerry voted against along with eleven other Senators. Here is the link to this vote on the U.S. Senate webpage: (cut and paste)

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=108&session=1&vote=00400

Therefore do not try to water down Kerry’s intention about where he stood on paying for the war. You cannot make the connection that Kerry was not willing to pay for the war just because he was one of twelve Senators who voted against this appropriations request.

Yes, I understand that this was an emergency request and the money would not necessarily go directly to pay for the war. But you have to understand that wars are never included in the Defense Department’s budget. Anytime we use our military force around the world that is not a training exercise, standard operations, or preplanned actions with our allies, this is money that was never budgeted for.

So for Kerry not to vote for emergency funding to keep our military running, I think it even makes him look worse if the money was not directly for funding the war. It sounds like he was not for funding the military.

The last part of your “essay” is funny because you begin to sound like a Socialist. You said, “Personally, I think this is a reasonable request that it be paid for now by the richest people in the United States making a sacrifice of a portion of their tax break…”

Who gives the government the right to pick and choose who pays for what? Why should the government be the arbiters of how we take money from some people (like the rich) and give it to others (like the poor)? This is because some people have actually earned their money through hard work. I have managed to have a nice savings because of many days of hard work. I do not think it is right for the government to take any more of my money just because I am wealthier then the next guy.

Liberals and Democrats cry about equal rights… but when it comes to treating everyone equally in paying taxes they claim foul. Well I am for equal rights as well and therefore believe that everyone should help pay their equal share. Taking more money from the rich and giving it to the poor is nothing more then wealth redistribution and provides less incentive for people like me to become successful.

But his is somewhat off topic because the title of your “essay” is “Where’s the waffle.” It is obvious that Kerry has waffled because I proved above that he voted against the war and is now out there saying he supports the war and would have gone to war even if he knows what he knows now. THIS IS A WAFFLE and there are no pancakes about it…






Link

Link

on Aug 10, 2004
When you said that “Kerry did not "vote for the war" nor did anyone else in the Congress because there never was a vote "for the war”… well I am not sure how you can have a war without force. John Kerry plus everyone else who voted for H.J.RES.114 voted for the President to have the authority to use force. Anytime someone uses force, regardless to political parties, it is a war. Using force without calling it a war is very shortsighted and wishful thinking. Therefore in reality Kerry did vote for the war because it did vote for the authorization to use force.


I'm not saying that what the President did in Iraq isn't a war, even though in technical terms it is not (there was no declaration of war). In the vernacular, of course, it's a war. But saying that "anytime someone uses force, it is a war" is certainly not true. If I punch a guy in the nose, is that a war? Was Bush's deployment of troops to Haiti this year a war? The marines killed people there, thus obviously used force, but does anything talk about the Haiti war of 2004?

There are military deployments and uses of force all over the world, but few of them fit the legal definition of war. In fact, the US has only declared war 11 separate times, the last time being June 5, 1942 when we separately declared war against Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania.

According to the Constitution, the Congress has the sole authority to declare war. So how is it President's get away with starting so many wars? Because of the War Powers Resolution of 1973. This allows the President to begin limited military campaigns for a period of 60 days before reporting back to Congress. So really, Bush could have launched the attack against Iraq without ever getting H.J.RES.114 passed. H.J. RES. 114 was just a stunt to show the world that the Congress backed the President's policy regarding Iraq. It had little legal implications because it was still not a declaration of war.
on Aug 10, 2004
But the final passage of the bill, which included all of the amendments you cited, Kerry voted against along with eleven other Senators.


Um, sorry, but you're just wrong here. The final passage of the bill didn't include all the amendments I cited. It only included those amendments which passed. So Kerry did not vote against S.AMDT.1796. He supported it, but it was tabled by a fairly narrow majority.
on Aug 10, 2004
You cannot make the connection that Kerry was not willing to pay for the war just because he was one of twelve Senators who voted against this appropriations request.


You seem to be contradicting yourself. Please clarify.
on Aug 10, 2004
Who gives the government the right to pick and choose who pays for what?


The United States Constitution.
on Aug 10, 2004
The last part of your “essay” is funny because you begin to sound like a Socialist


Please look up the definition of socialism because you are using the term incorrectly.
on Aug 10, 2004
Actually you don't need to juxtapose Kerry's positions on Iraq and the $87 billion because Kerry has waffled on both of those issues separately.

Kerry has gone from being in favor of the war to taking an unclear position, thanks the Howard Dean and the antiwar democrats. Here are some Kerry quotes; do they match his current position?

KERRY: "I think we clearly have to keep the pressure on terrorism globally. This doesn’t end with Afghanistan by any imagination. And I think the president has made that clear. I think we have made that clear. Terrorism is a global menace. It’s a scourge. And it is absolutely vital that we continue, for instance, Saddam Hussein." (CNN’s "Larry King Live," 12/14/01)

MSNBC’S CHRIS MATTHEWS: "Do you think that the problem we have with Iraq is real and it can be reduced to a diplomatic problem? Can-can we get this guy to accept inspections of those weapons of mass destruction potentially and get past a possible war with him?" (MSNBC’s "Hardball," 2/5/02)

KERRY: "Outside chance, Chris. Could it be done? The answer is yes. But he would view himself only as buying time and playing a game, in my judgment. Do we have to go through that process? The answer is yes. We’re precisely doing that. And I think that’s what Colin Powell did today." (MSNBC’s "Hardball," 2/5/02)

KERRY: "I would disagree with John McCain that it’s the actual weapons of mass destruction he may use against us, it’s what he may do in another invasion of Kuwait or in a miscalculation about the Kurds or a miscalculation about Iran or particularly Israel. Those are the things that - that I think present the greatest danger. He may even miscalculate and slide these weapons off to terrorist groups to invite them to be a surrogate to use them against the United States. It’s the miscalculation that poses the greatest threat." (CBS’ "Face The Nation," 9/15/02)

KERRY: "I think there is a disconnect between the depth of the threat that Saddam Hussein presents to the world and what we are at the moment talking about doing. ... [T]hen we have to be prepared to go the full distance, which is to do everything possible to disrupt his regime and to encourage the forces of democracy." (ABC’s "This Week," 2/22/98)

ABC’S COKIE ROBERTS: "And does that mean ground troops in Iraq?" (ABC’s "This Week," 2/22/98)

KERRY: "I am personally prepared, if that’s what it meant." (ABC’s "This Week," 2/22/98)


Kerry on Iraq

There were legitimate issues regarding the $87 billion. At the end of the day, the question was whether to send money to our troops, and John Kerry voted no. This vote was cast under political pressure when Kerry was in the middle of the primary campaign. In his own words he "actually did vote for the 87 billion before [he] voted against it".

Kerry has flip-flopped on the issue of whether John Edwards is fit to be President. In January, Edwards was too inexperienced for the job. Apparently, Edwards learned alot in the following 6 months because he is now Kerry's VP pick.

Kerry can't even put forward a straightfoward position on SUVs. He is in favor of them when talking to auto workers, but a few days later in front of environmentalists, Kerry is against them.
on Aug 10, 2004
I do not think it is right for the government to take any more of my money just because I am wealthier then the next guy.


So you would probably favor a flat tax rate (such as that advocated by ultraconservative Steve Forbes). Even Bush doesn't go that far. You need to understand the concept of graduation. If you are rich, then your money above a certain base amount is "worth less" (to you) than a poor person's money. The US has used graduated income taxes basically since the inception of the income tax. Well, actually, the very first income tax was in fact a flat rate, but it was struck down a year later as being unconstitutional. The XVI amendment changed that, so I suppose a flat tax rate could be possible, but I doubt it will ever happen. Most countries have a graduated tax code. Notably, Russia has had a flat tax rate since 2001. I think flat tax rates only make sense in a country where almost everyone is poor.
on Aug 10, 2004
It is obvious that Kerry has waffled because I proved above that he voted against the war and is now out there saying he supports the war and would have gone to war even if he knows what he knows now.


I don't think you proved anything. He never voted against the war.
on Aug 10, 2004
Kerry has gone from being in favor of the war to taking an unclear position, thanks the Howard Dean and the antiwar democrats. Here are some Kerry quotes; do they match his current position?


I don't see any inconsistancies in those quotes, and yes, he holds the same position today. In fact, as of yesterday, he said he would have still voted the same on giving the president the authority to use force in Iraq:

Under pressure to say whether he would vote the same way today, Mr Kerry told reporters yesterday: "Yes, I would have voted for the authority, I believe it's the right authority for a president to have." But speaking to reporters while campaigning at the Grand Canyon in Arizona, the Massachusetts senator said that as president he would have used the authority "very differently from the way President Bush has". Herald Sun article

on Aug 10, 2004
Kerry has flip-flopped on the issue of whether John Edwards is fit to be President. In January, Edwards was too inexperienced for the job. Apparently, Edwards learned alot in the following 6 months because he is now Kerry's VP pick.


In the last six months, I think both Edwards learned a lot, and the people of the United States (including Kerry) have learned a lot about Senator Edwards. And yes, he would be fit to be a great president, just as Harry Truman and even Abraham Lincoln stepped into office with little experience and made out to be great presidents.
on Aug 10, 2004
In his own words he "actually did vote for the 87 billion before [he] voted against it".


I will cede that this was an awkward way to phrase it. But the point is true. He voted for one version of the bill. He voted against another version. In my opinion, the version which he voted in favor of was the better version of the bill. The bill which he refused to vote for was irresponisble, and will hurt us down the road.
on Aug 10, 2004
At the end of the day, the question was whether to send money to our troops, and John Kerry voted no.


Maybe at the end of the day that's what it looks like on the surface. But when you wake up the next morning you realize it is more complicated than that.

There never was a vote that said, "should we or should we not send money to support our troops." There were, however, two separate votes, one that said, "should we roll back a portion of Bush's tax cuts in order to pay for unanticipated expenses in Iraq", the other that said, "should we take out an additional $87 billion more in loans". Kerry voted yes for the first one, no for the second. Why can't people understand this? It's not that difficult.
on Aug 10, 2004
Boy Bob Guinness, you really have been snowed over. This is why I worry about my country. Liberal Democrat wackos like you that really have brought into the Dems nonsense.
I have only a couple of things for you because when your this mislead I dont think a forum post will fix you.
1) 96 percent of the taxes paid in this country are paid by the to 50 percent of wage earners - thats right the 'rich'. The 'poor' amercians are not paying for anything. The 'rich' are all ready picking up the tab, in more ways than just the war. And the soldiers that are over there are all volunteers. They all come from different backgrounds not just the 'poor'. I am proud of each and every one of them. These percentages come right from the IRS website if ou want to check them out (probably not since liberal wackos are not interested in facts, thats why the michael moore-on movie made some money)
2) You really should check the facts out. It is easy now with the internet, thats why the Democratic party is in such trouble. One site is www.scaryjohnkerry.com - direct quotes from democrats that you might find interesting.
on Aug 10, 2004
Kerry can't even put forward a straightfoward position on SUVs. He is in favor of them when talking to auto workers, but a few days later in front of environmentalists, Kerry is against them.


Can you provide some references. I'd be interested in looking into this.
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