John Kerry

2004 11 01

Yeah, yeah. A Kerry victory is now so probable that the election has really been drained of most of its suspense.

I’m cool as a cucumber over here. How ’bout you?

Howls of outrage (2)

2004 10 30
Bush, Kerry and secrets

The invaluable Secrecy News contrasts Kerry and Bush on the issue of government secrecy. The whole thing is also below the fold:
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2004 10 29
It’s On

AP:Kerry Pledges to ‘Destroy’ Bin Laden.


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2004 10 22
From the Department of Is That Him?

Jesse Ventura, now a porn star, endorses Kerry.

(via TMP).

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2004 10 01

Well, this is interesting:

John Kerry’s is 17.7% longer than George Bush’s.

Oh, get your mind out of the gutter, you pervert! He’s talking about average sentence length.

A single voice crying in the wilderness (1)

2004 09 29
Bush-Kerry debate

Here’s the latest from the Borowitz Report:


Face-off Overly Choreographed, Critics Charge

A full transcript of Thursday�s presidential debate between President George W. Bush and Democratic nominee John Kerry was released today, sparking criticism that the debate has been overly choreographed by the committee representing the two major parties.

The transcript, full of pre-planned quips and sound bites from both candidates, is a verbatim reflection of what the actual debate will be on Thursday night, a committee member confirmed.

�We have shared the written transcript with both President Bush and Senator Kerry and warned them to stick to the script,� said Davis Loudon of the Presidential Debate Steering Committee. �If they stray one iota, we�re threatening to turn the heat in the room up to 71 degrees.�

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2004 09 15
Kerry is decisively winning the hypothetical vote . . .

. . . in Europe.

Take that, George!

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2004 09 12
Media Matters

Damn right.

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2004 09 08
Two More Reasons to Vote for Kerry. . .

. . . even though he is a douche-bag, are here and here.

Even though the first was decided by a state judge, both cases are likely headed to the Supreme Court. A vote for Kerry is a vote for two branches of government. Sadly, it is that simple. Read more about the substance of the second case here.

Okay. Now I’m headed off to write…

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2004 09 03

Wonkette writes:

We have no idea what’s really going on inside the KE04, but we do love seeing former Clinton press sec and senior Kerry adviser Joe Lockhart on television. A lot of campaign spokesmen, they wear suits, they comb their hair — booorrring. This morning on CNN, J-Lo was sporting the whole loosened-tie, �I’m way too irritated with Bush to dress up for this crap� look. Yet he was also totally personable, for some reason reminding us of an older, pissed-off Samwise Gamgee. Which makes total sense, seeing as how he’s running Treebeard’s campaign.

That is such a good call.

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2004 08 22
Hoagland on Kerry and Bush

As far as I can tell, Jim Hoagland’s recent criticism of Kerry is more or less fair. Here is a sample:

The Pentagon’s most painful problem in real life is not Moqtada Sadr or Kim Jong Il. It is closing any military base in Congressman X’s district. Abandoning bases abroad is, by comparison, a piece of cake. The closing of installations in Germany is a necessary political prelude to the consolidation and reduction of bases at home in what is a rational, budget-driven exercise.

Despite the Kerry campaign charges that the reductions will disrupt alliance management, the specific reductions come largely at the prompting of NATO members and the South Korean government, all eager to regain valuable real estate and freedom from environmentally destructive military maneuvers. The changes have been under discussion for nearly two years.

I’ve yet to see a sensible criticism of the reduction and consolidation process that Rumsfeld is now putting into place. I’m happy to be contradicted (obviously!), but it certainly looks both sensible and long overdue. (Note: Of course, I can dream of more radical changes to U.S. military and political arrangements. But there is some point to asking how sensible various arrangements are given the main assumptions of the mainstream foreign policy establishment.)

I suppose Kerry feels obliged to criticize anything Bush does. But it’s a pity, since this criticism might constrain him when – if – he gets into office.

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2004 08 09
Looking ahead (or at least squinting)

So . . . I’ve got my largest brush out, and I’m in the mood to paint a little. Won’t you keep me company?

It will not have escaped the sensitive observer of U.S. foreign policy that the U.S. is having a devil of a time getting other countries to cooperate with it, even on areas of mutual concern. In the short run, this is likely to continue. It seems to me that there is very little chance that the Bush administration will be able to make a diplomatic breakthrough on any front (with Europe, or Asian allies, etc.) between now and the election. It’s not just the distraction of the election and the fact that time is rapidly running out. The main reason is that very few governments in the world want to hand the Bush a diplomatic triumph, or anything that might be spun as a diplomatic triumph, before the election. And my magical E.S.P. powers – that’s what all the pundits use, right? – tell me that this has been a factor in foreign decision-making for at least the last year. (Qualifier to cover my ass: If there is a breakthrough, the U.S. will have to pay dearly for it, since it will have to overcome the reluctance of most governments to hand Bush a diplomatic triumph.)

But I think Bush-haters would be mistaken to extrapolate from the current level of intransigence to the conclusion that things would remain this bleak in the event that Bush won a second term. It’s one thing to cautiously stonewall the U.S. for a year before an election. It’s quite another thing to do it for four years in anticipation of the next one. And I think that after the initial wave of foreign disappointment, a second Bush administration would probably meet with more cooperation from its allies than it is currently getting. The Bush administration’s penchant for grand projects has been blunted a bit over the last year, which will help. And although it is not an absolutely strict rule, the rhythm of politics is usually to innovate over a first term, and consolidate over a second. The consolidation is often as harmful as the innovation, but it’s quieter and less alarming.

I think Kerry-lovers would also be mistaken to paint too sunny a picture of what is possible diplomatically under a Kerry administration. I think a Kerry win would produce a euphoria in foreign capitals that a wise administration might be able to capitalize on. Or rather, if you’re less sentimental, think of it this way: Foreign governments will be anxious to demonstrate that it was Bush who was the main obstacle to compromise. And helping Kerry out is a way of signalling to American politicians (and the better informed voters) a strong preference for a certain style and substance of politics. The United State is not the only country in the world that rewards and punishes others, in accordance with its own priorities and values.

But of course even if Kerry is smart enough to get some mileage out of all this it can’t last. The U.S. has some serious conflicts of interest with foreign allies. It is in a real pickle in Iraq. It has global commitments and priorities which will continue to drive it to act in ways that are offensive to the rest of the world. And Kerry may well be bound in everything he does by a Republican dominated congress. So it would be a mistake to extrapolate from any early successes of a Kerry administration to too optimistic a view of the longer term diplomatic challenges facing the U.S. and its allies. Believe it or not, anti-Americanism, of both the serious and the silly varieties, predates the Bush administration. And my magical E.S.P. powers tell me it will long outlive it too.

So the short term for Bush might be bleak from a diplomatic point of view, but there is no reason to think the medium term would be nearly as bleak. And things may well be rosier at the beginning of a Kerry administration, but it won’t last. What about the longer term prognosis in each case?
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2004 07 28
Kerry on Iraq

Did Kerry flip-flop on the Iraq War? Rodger A. Payne attempts to defend Kerry with the novel tactic of actually examining his speech before the war vote in the Senate.

Does Payne succeed in this effort? In a word, no. If speeches were anything to go on, Bush would be the greatest force for democracy in the entire world. Kerry’s speech is a nice effort, and it places all kinds of sensible qualification and restrictions on his support for Bush. But Kerry had to have known that Bush would disregard those qualifications and restrictions, and he had to have known that by then it would be too late for Kerry to do anything about it. A vote for Bush at the time really was a vote allowing Bush to wage war if he deemed fit, and by that point, it was clear Bush deemed fit.

Kerry said in October 2002:

When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security and that of our allies in the Persian Gulf region. I will vote yes because I believe it is the best way to hold Saddam Hussein accountable. And the administration, I believe, is now committed to a recognition that war must be the last option to address this threat, not the first, and that we must act in concert with allies around the globe to make the world’s case against Saddam Hussein.

As the President made clear earlier this week, “Approving this resolution does not mean that military action is imminent or unavoidable.” It means “America speaks with one voice.”

Yada yada yada. Except that Bush was obviously lying about the practical effect of the resolution. There is simply no way that Bush would have built up that many troops in the middle of the dessert and then sent them home. There was going to be a war, come hell or high water. Kerry’s speech was an agonized response to the agonizing position which Bush deliberately placed Congress (and the country) in: Either support Bush (thereby essentially granting him the right to wage war) or support a humiliating climbdown before the entire world. That’s a tough spot to be in, but let’s be clear that no amount of fine speechifying changes the fact that Kerry knowingly chose the first horn of the dilemma.

Now, I agree with Payne that Kerry didn’t want a war, and would have preferred to let inspectors continue their job. But that wasn’t what the vote was really about, and Kerry either knew it or he doesn’t deserve to be president.

Howls of outrage (3)

2004 05 29

Contra Atrios, this is not a clever bit of rhetorical judo. (I should say that Atrios doesn’t actually endorse the content of Kerry’s message or think that Kerry necessarily does.) If the reporter interviewing Kerry is representing him properly, then it’s a disgrace:

Sen. John F. Kerry indicated that as president he would play down the promotion of democracy as a leading goal in dealing with Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, China and Russia, instead focusing on other objectives that he said are more central to the United States’ security.
. . .
In many ways, Kerry laid out a foreign-policy agenda that appeared less idealistic about U.S. aims than President Bush or even fellow Democrat former president Bill Clinton. While Kerry said it was important to sell democracy and “market it” around the world, he demurred when questioned about a number of important countries that suppress human rights and freedoms. He said securing all nuclear materials in Russia, integrating China in the world economy, achieving greater controls over Pakistan’s nuclear weapons or winning greater cooperation on terrorist financing in Saudi Arabia trumped human rights concerns in those nations.

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Howls of outrage (2)

2004 05 21
The Medium Lobster peers into a future with Kerry as President . . .

. . . and doesn’t like what he sees.

Guess we’ll have to stick with Bush.

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