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February 21, 2004
Kerry: I Can't Handle Criticism

John Kerry once again cried foul because the Republicans actually have the audacity to campaign against Kerry's record in the Senate:

"President Bush through his surrogates, specifically through Saxby Chambliss decided once again to take the low road of American politics," Kerry said in Georgia, one of 10 states choosing electoral delegates on March 2. ... "No one is going to question my commitment to the defense of our nation," Kerry said.

Former Senator Max Cleland, a triple-amputee from his service in Vietnam, got even nastier when Senator Saxby Chambliss (who beat Cleland in 2002) spoke out against Kerry's voting record on defense in the Senate, where Kerry has not only repeatedly voted to reduce defense spending but twice introduced legislation to cut funding for the CIA. Instead of addressing the issues, Cleland called Chambliss a coward:

"For Saxby Chambliss, who got out of going to Vietnam because of a trick knee, to attack John Kerry as weak on the defense of our nation is like a mackerel in the moonlight that both shines and stinks," he said.

Only one word captures the essence of Democrats, at least in this election cycle: pussies.

When one is running for political office, previous voting records are fair game. In fact, it's the most objective and relevant material in any election! Politicians who resort to name-calling when their records are challenged are hiding something.

Cleland got beaten in Georgia largely because he voted against the Homeland Security bill for the reason that unions didn't like that workers could be fired for not doing their jobs. All Chambliss did was state that Cleland was more interested in his union support than in homeland security, which exactly described Cleland's 'no' vote; he chose to dump the bill entirely than go without the civil-service protections he sought. For the Democrats ever since, it's been an article of faith that holding Cleland responsible for his voting record somehow challenged his patriotism, when it did nothing of the sort. It challenged his judgment, and correctly so. For the last two years, every Democrat who's gotten on the stump has loudly decried any criticism of their record or their policies as an attack on their patriotism.

Bunk. And as Harry Truman, one of the last Democrats with the intestinal fortitude for national politics, famously said, "If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen." Another adage holds that "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel."

And how have these same Democrats campaigned against Bush so far?

* Called him a liar, repeatedly, for relying on the same intelligence that the previous Democratic President believed
* Accused him of causing the deaths of American soldiers for the personal gain of his Vice President
* Branded him a deserter during wartime (without a shred of evidence), a capital offense

Why is Kerry so afraid to defend his own record that he deliberately changes the subject whenever it is brought up? Why does he screech hysterically about "patriotism" whenever his Senate votes become the topic of conversation? Ask yourself this: if he is so afraid to discuss these topics, what will he do if he becomes President and America is attacked again? Because if he can't face up to an honest debate on voting records and policy, then he sure as hell doesn't have the spine to stand up for America when it counts, at least not anymore.

UPDATE: Power Line's Hindrocket notes the same attack and agrees that Kerry's hysterical screeching indicates his vulnerability on his ultraliberal voting record:

Looking on the bright side, it is obvious that the Democrats believe, presumably on the basis of poll data, that Kerry's thirty-year record of anti-American, anti-military, anti-freedom activism cannot withstand scrutiny. I think they're right.

UPDATE II: Oxblog is as disgusted as I am. (via Instapundit)

UPDATE III: Hugh Hewitt also weighs in with a lengthy repudiation of the "McCarthyism of the left" which is well worth reading. I suspect it may form the core of a later column in the Weekly Standard, or at least I hope so. Money quote:

As disappointing as Kerry's reverse McCarthyism is, what is far more shocking is Kerry's attempt to outlaw investigation of his record by anyone who didn't serve ib Vietnam. In a democracy that long ago outlawed literacy tests and poll taxes, Kerry's attempt to erect a new barrier to democratic participation, one based on military service, is shocking. Kerry doesn't want his Senate record of defense and national security examined, much less his Vietnam-era radicalism, because neither will sit well with the public. So he launches an extraordinary attempt to seal it off by suggesting his critics have been cowards. Make no mistake, that's exactly what he's trying to do, but in so doing he displaying political cowardice.

Yeah. What he said.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 21, 2004 10:08 PM

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» Kerry minus thirty years from Back of the Envelope
You know, it's not as if Kerry returned from Vietnam yesterday. It might just be that his voting record for the last thirty years is more revealing of his position on national defense than his service in Vietnam. If Kerry wants to pretend that the la... [Read More]

Tracked on February 23, 2004 11:05 PM

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