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September 7, 2004
Bush: Kerry Just A Mouthpiece (Updated - Flip/Flop Alert!)

George Bush continued to hammer John Kerry's lack of consistency on the Iraq war, and noticed that Kerry yesterday didn't just change his position -- again -- but stole one from other Democrats:

President Bush said Tuesday that rival John Kerry appropriated the anti-war position of one-time presidential candidate Howard Dean in Kerry's latest criticism of the president on the war in Iraq. On Monday, Kerry described the Iraq war as "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Kerry "woke up yesterday morning with yet another new position, and this one's not even his own; it is that of his one-time rival, Howard Dean," Bush told thousands of supporters at a rally in the Kansas City suburbs.

Bush said Kerry "even used the same words Howard Dean did back when he supposedly disagreed with him ... Senator Kerry flip-flops. We were right to make America safer by removing Saddam Hussein from power."

By George, he's right, but the remarks didn't originate with either Kerry or Dean. As the AP points out, Ted Kennedy spoke out in January of this year, saying that "I continue to be convinced that this is the wrong war at the wrong time." Dean used the phrase in February, during the primaries. Perhaps Kerry felt that no one would remember where the phrase originated by September, and given the number of positions he's taken on the issue, the expectation that it would slide past people was not unreasonable.

It does illuminate the nonentity that Kerry has been, both on the campaign trail and in twenty years in the Senate. He could do little but carry Ted Kennedy's water there for his entire tenure, and even as a presidential candidate he's still Ted's mouthpiece. People often speculate that Kerry is little more than a placeholder for a Hillary Clinton run in 2008, but I think that a much better analysis is that Kerry is a Ted Kennedy proxy, fronting for the man who could never win a general election with his personal history. Kerry's Senate career gives us a strong indication that Kennedy, not Clinton, is the power behind this drone.

UPDATE: William Kristol at the Weekly Standard notes that Dean came under considerable attack for his original statement -- from John Kerry!

But who challenged Dean immediately? John Kerry. On December 16, at Drake University in Iowa, Kerry asserted that "those who doubted whether Iraq or the world would be better off without Saddam Hussein, and those who believe today that we are not safer with his capture, don't have the judgment to be president or the credibility to be elected president."

Kerry was right then.

Amazing. Kerry is so flexible, he should join the circus as a contortionist. (via Kerry Spot)

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 7, 2004 12:10 PM

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