CQ Flashback: A Moment To Acknowledge Our Humanity (5/6/04)

Hindrocket at Power Line directs our attention to a story, with accompanying photograph, from the Cincinatti Enquirer Hugabout a moment on the campaign trail where we can remember that despite all of the partisan vitriol and rhetoric, we are all Americans. George Bush, making a campaign appearance in Lebanon, OH, shook hands with the crowd who had gathered to enthusiastically greet him. As he did, the following incident briefly made everyone forget about campaigns and speeches:

Lynn Faulkner, his daughter, Ashley, and their neighbor, Linda Prince, eagerly waited to shake the president’s hand Tuesday at the Golden Lamb Inn. He worked the line at a steady campaign pace, smiling, nodding and signing autographs until Prince spoke:
“This girl lost her mom in the World Trade Center on 9-11.”
Bush stopped and turned back.
“He changed from being the leader of the free world to being a father, a husband and a man,” Faulkner said. “He looked right at her and said, ‘How are you doing?’ He reached out with his hand and pulled her into his chest.”
Faulkner snapped one frame with his camera.
“I could hear her say, ‘I’m OK,’ ” he said. “That’s more emotion than she has shown in 21/2 years. Then he said, ‘I can see you have a father who loves you very much.’ ”
“And I said, ‘I do, Mr. President, but I miss her mother every day.’ It was a special moment.”

I don’t include this story to try to convince readers to vote for George Bush because he took a moment to acknowledge a young girl’s grief and loss by reaching out to her; John Kerry will have similar moments on the campaign trail, I am sure. I include it to remind us all that despite all of our policy differences, we are all still human beings … even the politicians. We do well to remember that in our current political climate.

CQ Flashback: Kerry — Democracy Not Important (5/29/04)

In words that echo his 1971 Senate testimony on the Vietnam war, John Kerry told the Washington Post that establishing democracy would not be a priority of a Kerry administration, preferring to work on more pressing issues other than liberty and freedom:

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.

Unfortunately, John Kerry demonstrates almost every day that he just doesn’t understand the critical issue of Islamofascist terrorism. Fanatics grow in the dark, as we continue to learn, as the various thugocracies, kleptocracies, and mullahcracies in the area oppress their citizens and feed them a steady diet of anti-American and anti-Semitic rationalizations. Not only will America make no progress on human-rights abuses until the regimes change, but the region will continue to produce terrorists until representative governments replace the dictatorships, so that free discourse and self-determination provide safety valves for anger and voting can replace the gun and the vest-bomb.
Kerry engages in moral relativism, a long-standing habit that has cropped up in his public life again and again. Kerry said much the same thing last month, as the Post’s editorial noted in a scolding editorial:

“WE NEED A reasonable plan and a specific timetable for self-government” in Iraq, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) said in December. “That means completing the tasks of security and democracy in the country — not cutting and running in order to claim a false success.” On another occasion, he said: “It would be a disaster and a disgraceful betrayal of principle to speed up the process simply to lay the groundwork for a politically expedient withdrawal of American troops.”
Contrast that with what Mr. Kerry told reporters last week: “With respect to getting our troops out, the measure is the stability of Iraq. [Democracy] shouldn’t be the measure of when you leave. I have always said from day one that the goal here . . . is a stable Iraq, not whether or not that’s a full democracy.”

Trading liberty for stability is the philosophy that brought us the modern Middle East. It’s a short-sighted strategy that the British and French employed after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, when they propped up strongmen like the House of Saud in order to play power politics in the region. Only in Turkey, which fought for its independence under the legendary Kemal Ataturk, actually realized a self-determinative and free government, and that mostly at the opposition of the West.
John Kerry often expresses a disdain for democracy in the name of expediency and moral relativism. During his 1971 Senate testimony, Kerry made the following declaration:

Senator, I will say this. I think that politically, historically, the one thing that people try to do, that society is structured on as a whole, is an attempt to satisfy their felt needs, and you can satisfy those needs with almost any kind of political structure, giving it one name or the other. In this name it is democratic; in others it is communism; in others it is benevolent dictatorship. As long as those needs are satisfied, that structure will exist.

Continuing his campaign of snide remarks, Kerry also said this about the 2000 election:

“The last time I looked, except for Florida, an election is an election,” Kerry said.

So did we, Senator, until Al Gore unleashed his lawyers on Florida to overturn it.

CQ Flashback: Kerry — Bush/Cheney “Most Crooked … Lying Group” (3/10/04)

Senator John Kerry revealed an ugly and poorly controlled side of himself when he thought he was off-mike this afternoon while speaking with AFL-CIO union workers in Chicago:

Sen. John Kerry, all but officially the Democratic presidential nominee, called Republicans he is battling “crooked” Wednesday. … “Keep smiling,” one man said to him.
Kerry responded, “Oh yeah, don’t worry man. We’re going to keep pounding, let me tell you — we’re just beginning to fight here. These guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group of people I’ve ever seen.”

Simply appalling. In the picture above, you can see a Kerry aide hurriedly trying to disconnect the microphone, to no avail, which leads me to wonder what else John Kerry says when he thinks the mikes are off. Does he speculate on Roswell? Discussing alien abductions?
Kerry’s campaign immediately retreated into damage control, saying that Kerry was referring to the Republican “attack machine”, but that’s absolute hogwash. The Democrats have spent the last nine months throwing all sorts of personal ad hominem attacks against George Bush and Dick Cheney, including allegations that Bush was AWOL during his National Guard duty, that Cheney was getting rich off of Halliburton contracts in Iraq, and most notoriously until now, that George Bush had been told by the Saudis ahead of time about the 9/11 attacks and did nothing about them. They’re not discussing issues — they’re slinging mud, and that should tell you something about their intellectual bankruptcy in this election cycle.
John Kerry needs to put up or abjectly apologize. If Kerry has evidence of corruption or lying, then put it out for all to see. Then we can all be enlightened and investigate it, and determine if Kerry is right or a full-fledged member of the Tinfoil Hat brigade. If he refuses to do so, then he is a coward and a sneak, a mumbler who won’t take responsibility for his rumormongering.
Die-hard Democrats will probably cheer Kerry for his character assassination, but independents should take note: this man is not temperamentally or morally suited for the job of an executive. The Democrats should be ashamed of this behavior instead of trotting out weak justifications about “attack machines”. Grow up and take responsibility, or go home.
UPDATE: Here’s the AP article that broke this story. Money graf:

Earlier Wednesday in Chicago, Kerry toughened his comments about his GOP critics after a supporter urged him to take on Bush [emph. mine]. “Let me tell you, we’ve just begun to fight,” Kerry said. “We’re going to keep pounding. These guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group I’ve ever seen. It’s scary.”

That’s the context; it wasn’t about talk radio, it wasn’t about people with Photoshop and too much time on their hands, and it wasn’t about Captain’s Quarters. Kerry meant George Bush and Dick Cheney, and by association, their entire administration.

CQ Flashback: Give UN Command Over US Forces

John Kerry, when he first ran for elective office in 1970, told the Harvard Crimson that he was an “internationalist” who felt that the UN should retain command of the US military:

“I’m an internationalist,” Kerry told The Crimson in 1970. “I’d like to see our troops dispersed through the world only at the directive of the United Nations.” Kerry said he wanted “to almost eliminate CIA activity. The CIA is fighting its own war in Laos and nobody seems to care.”
The Kerry campaign, celebrating primary victories in Virginia and Tennessee last night, declined to comment on the senator’s remarks. As a candidate for president, Kerry has said he supports the autonomy of the U.S. military and has never called for a scale-back of CIA operations.

When a candidate takes elective office, they swear to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. Nowhere in that document does it allow any entity except the President and Congress to control or restrain American armed forces. John Kerry comes from a radical-left group of thinkers who believed — and still do — that the only way for the world to get along is for everyone to cede sovereignty to the UN, despite the fact that not only does the UN not uphold democratic ideals, but it puts nations like Libya and Syria in charge of committes on human-rights abuses and counter-terrorism.
One may be tempted to say that this was all just youthful idealism that has long since matured, except that Kerry keeps returning to these first principles in his legislative career, and sometimes goes past even that. In 1991, despite UNSC approval, Kerry voted against taking military action to eject Saddam from Kuwait, although he says now that he was in favor of action — just not at that point. He voted for action in 2002 but has backpedaled furiously from that vote ever since Howard Dean entered the race, claiming he meant for Bush to get a permission slip from the UNSC prior to taking any action. And despite what his campaign claims, Kerry has repeated attempted to gut the CIA by stripping it of funding. Power Line noted back in July 2003:

Kerry, whose involvement in politics arose out of his virulent opposition to the Vietnam War, said at the beginning of his career that he would like to “almost eliminate CIA activity.” This might be defended as a youthful indiscretion, except that throughout his career in the Senate, Kerry has acted in a manner consistent with those early sentiments. In 1994 he tried to cut $1 billion from the intelligence agencies’ budgets. In 1995 Kerry offered legislation to “reduce the intelligence budget by $300 million” in each of the fiscal years 1996 to 2000. His bill never made it to the floor.

In the face of Kerry’s lifelong antagonism to the intelligence community, his preaching about intelligence failures and gaps of knowledge are crassly hypocritical. Kerry’s record reveals him to be just as much of an internationalist as he was when he tossed someone else’s medals over the White House fence; the only aspect of Kerry that has improved is his opportunism. His recipe of appeasement and forensics in securing America, while emasculating the CIA and ceding military sovereignty to the anti-democratic majority at the UN, will bring disastrous results if he is elected.

CQ Flashback: Kerry Would Have Waited For Saddam To Attack (1-27-04)

Senator John Kerry continues to make odd statements about the Iraq war, trying to reconcile his vote authorizing it with his current anti-war platform:

Kerry said that the administration had promised to go through the United Nations first, and then didn’t do it, but he added that at the time Saddam Hussein constituted a threat.
“From 1991 to 1998, we had inspectors in Iraq blowing up weapons of mass destruction,” Kerry said. “A lot of people seem to have forgotten that. We destroyed plenty of weapons of mass destruction in those 7½ years. We found more weapons than we thought Saddam had, and evidence of a nuclear program. “

Kerry is either lying or being deliberately obtuse. Bush went to the UN twice. In December, he pushed through UNSC resolution 1441, demanding immediate and full compliance from Saddam Hussein with the previous 16 UNSC resolutions. Inspectors were supposed to report on full compliance, not become detectives conducting search warrants for the entirety of Iraq. When UNSCOM inspectors found evidence of evasion and banned weapons, Bush went back to the UN to get them to finally recognize, after a dozen years, that Saddam was in material breach of the resolutions and the cease-fire that left him in power.
Note that Kerry, in attempting to bolster his vote, acknowledges that Saddam had WMDs until 1998, when he threw UNSCOM inspectors out of Iraq. Any reasonable interpretation would not include that Iraq was complying but were too shy to do so while UN inspectors were around. Certainly the Clinton administration and Congress in 1998 didn’t take that interpretation.
And then Kerry said something truly bizarre, in the next breath:

“I voted for the process,” Kerry said. “Go to the UN, build a coalition, and go to war as a last resort. George Bush broke his promise and went around us. He set the date for the war, not Saddam Hussein [emph. mine].”

So what Kerry proposes is to wait until we’re attacked before taking any action? Maybe in a non-proliferated era we had the luxury of trusting the wide oceans to act as a buffer for any attack, but 9/11 should have taught everyone the folly of that philosophy. An attack from Saddam would not have begun with an invasion of Kuwait or missile attacks on American troops in the Persian Gulf — it would have begun on our soil, especially if Saddam retained WMD capability. Such a statement indicates why John Kerry and the Democrats cannot be trusted on national security; they’re living in the past.

CQ Flasback: Convention Interview With Tommy Franks

franks.jpgGeneral Tommy Franks announced today that he will support George Bush for president at our blog conference at the Republican National Convention.
Q: General, do you support George Bush for President?
A: Yes.
Q: With regards to consistency, did George Bush hurt himself with his remarks on Matt Lauer that maybe we can’t win a war on terror?
A: Absolutely not. We won a Cold War, didn’t we? And we didn’t do that in 15 minutes.
Q: Did Ronald Reagan show that kind of doubt in his effort to win the Cold War?
A: I don’t know that there was any doubt shown at all. I think that we’re talking about consistency, and persistency, and anybody who looks at this thing over the last three and a half years is going to have a heck of a hard time trying to point out when he was not consistent or persistent. You got a lot of people who look at the other side, see, and they’ll say, well, my goodness, he shouldn’t have been so persistent. By gosh, he should have changed his mind. Well, absolutely not.
Q: He did clarify himself on Rush Limbaugh.
A: I didn’t see that. I didn’t hear that.
Q: He did clarify his Matt Lauer comments.
A: What’d he say?
Q: He basically said that he misstated it. Well, he clarified his point that it is a winnable war, it’s not going to have an official end. It won’t —
A: Well, yeah.
Q: It won’t end in a treaty.
A: Yeah, and I think that it’s one of those kind of things where you have to look real hard to find a parade after the Cold War. You know when the wall came down? The greatest standoff of our time. A nuclear standoff crisis that went on for decades. I believe if you had asked any president, during that time, and asked, “What do you think? Is it winnable?”, he might well have said, “Well, I don’t know, it’s kind of standoffish.” But the fact of the matter is that the war on terrorism is winnable. But it’s not winnable in 15 minutes or in 12 months. It’s going to go for a while.
Q: Do you think John Kerry can fight an effective war on terror?
A: Well, I support George W. Bush. You know what? I know what John Kerry is against. I’m having a little trouble figuring out what he’s for.
Q: Is our successful fight against Moqtada al-Sadr in Najaf diverting us from the more important effort in Ramadi and Fallujah and the rest of Western Iraq?
A: No, I don’t think so. I think what you have to do in Iraq is you have to play each day at a time. You know, we can criticize ourselves for not having the perfect plan, at any juncture we want to criticize ouselves. We can break out the sackcloth and the chains and all that sort of stuff, but the fact of the matter is when we were talking about 25, 28 million people, and they have been in the circumstances they’ve been in for the last three decades, then what you’re going to find is that fractious behavior by the al-Sadrs, you’re going to find situations like Fallujah, you’re going to find situations in Mosul or Tikrit on a given day. We rise to them as they come up.
Q: General Franks, there has been a lot of criticism with some people saying that President Bush did not have a plan to win the peace. Can you address that?
A: Sure. Of course he had a plan to win the peace. Of course he did. Of course the United States had a plan to build the largest coalition the world has ever seen. And did it. Of course the United States had a plan to lead a coalition to remove one of the most despotic regimes we’ve seen in the last 100 years. Of course the United States of America has a plan to lead the coalition that will permit and assist the Iraqi people in claiming a new Iraq for themselves, a free Iraq. And all of that is going to take longer than a flash in the pan associated with popping a balloon.
You guys OK now?
Q: On the Swiftboat controversy, when you were first asked about it —
A: Yes. I’m still not — I’m still not a big guy into hyperbole. I mean, I’m not a big guy into hyperbole, on either end of the continuum. I think he had two issues, and I think Senator McCain has pointed them out very well. You have situations that went on where the Swiftboat guys were on down in Vietnam, I was in Vietnam, John McCain was in Vietnam, John Kerry was in Vietnam, and the vets were in Vietnam. And I don’t have anything to say about that. On the other hand, my concern is what happened after Vietnam, after Senator Kerry returned from Vietnam, and I may well have something to say about that.
Q: They said that if Kerry would apologize for his 1971 testimony, they would drop all future Swiftboat ads from the campaign. Do you think that’s fair?
A: Oh, in my personal view, it’s not a matter of dropping something. I’ve said right from the start —
Q: That’s what the Swiftvets said today. They offered it to Kerry if he would apologize.
A: Wouldn’t that be great? You know why it would be great? Because the people of the United States of America could focus on what’s important, and that’s our children and our grandchildren and the next four years of leadership for America, where we are faced every day with one of the most serious threats we’ve faced in 100 years and that’s terrorism. We’re going to have to display consistency, character, be persistent in the face of the difficulty. And that’s what America’s going to have to draw from her President. Where are we going to get that kind of leadership? It’s one thing to know what a man is against; it’s an entirely different thing to know what a man is for.
Q: Thank you, General Franks. [Applause]
It appears that George Bush has the fresh troops ready for the final push. Having a man with the credibility of General Tommy Franks on the trail pushing George Bush will raise confidence in Bush’s leadership on national-security issues at the moment when Kerry already sees his support eroding on this critical quality. And it sounds like the former General has plenty to say, now that his retirement allows him to speak out.

CQ Flashback: Convention Interview With Sen. Alan Simpson

simpson.jpgFormer Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson came by Bloggers Corner just a few minutes ago and spoke to the group about liberal Republicanism, the electoral college, the current campaign and its tone, and John Kerry’s Senate career. As you might imagine from his press conferences during his tenure in Congress, Senator Simpson spoke directly and even bluntly in responding to our questions. My audio of the interview turned out poorly as Sean Hannity’s show insists on blaring out their program over speakers pointed directly at our area, but I can rebuild the important parts.
In response to questions regarding the Electoral College, Simpson strongly defended the current structure and explained that any attempt to eliminate it would never pass muster with enough states. Too many smaller states would lose their impact on presidential contests, and as Simpson said, no one would ever see a campaign outside of New York, Chicago, and California.
Simpson also responded about the current partisan brinksmanship by telling us to expect it to get worse. He advised anyone finding themselves under unfair attack to fire back and not to listen to advisors instructing them to rise above the attacks and ignore them. “An insult ignored is an insult believed,” Simpson said, and related that he even contradicted his own family’s wishes and responded on the offense.
“You’re all keyed up,” Simpson said his wife warned him, and he replied, “I know. It’s going to be fun.”
On John Kerry, Simpson clearly felt that he lacked any sort of legislative record and even gave us some insight into who John Kerry may really be as an explanation:
Q: You spent several years with John Kerry in the Senate. What is your opinion on his legislative accomplishments?
A: A big goose egg would be a pretty good approach, because I never saw anything that he did. But don’t forget, he was under the shadow of Ted Kennedy and his issues were much like Ted’s. He’s not an evil man, but he didn’t do anything that I remember. I was involved in significant legislation on immigration and nuclear high-level waste, and Superfund, and I don’t remember him doing any of that.
Q: No leadership, then?
A: None. I didn’t see any. In fact, I think he was almost shy. I think part of his problem right now is that I think he’s basically a shy person. They’ve got him in a role that’s uncomfortable for him.
Q: Thank you, Senator.
Simpson’s insight into Kerry should not go unnoticed. He worked with Kerry for at least two terms in the Senate and had the opportunity to see him in action. I found his observation about Kerry’s shyness intriguing, and it fits with the lack of personal connection that has caused much discussion and debate during the campaign season. The distance people feel from Kerry may not be something he can control, let alone overcome.

CQ Flashback: Kerry’s Analysis Paralysis (7/14/04)

The proverb, “Too many cooks spoil the broth” comes to mind while reading the Washington Post article on the Kerry campaign’s policy structure. While intending on casting a broad net to display inclusiveness, the nominee instead teeters on the edge of an unmanageable mess:

From a tightknit group of experienced advisers, John F. Kerry’s presidential campaign has grown exponentially in recent months to include a cast literally of thousands, making it difficult to manage an increasingly unwieldy policy apparatus.
The campaign now includes 37 separate domestic policy councils and 27 foreign policy groups, each with scores of members. The justice policy task force alone includes 195 members. The environmental group is roughly the same size, as is the agriculture and rural development council. Kerry counts more than 200 economists as his advisers.
In contrast, President Bush’s campaign policy shop is a no-frills affair. Policy director Tim Adams directs about a dozen experts who make sure the campaign is in sync with the vast executive branch that is formulating policy. Adams’s group also analyzes Kerry’s proposals and voting record. Fewer than a dozen outside task forces, with five to 10 members, also help out on education, veterans’ issues, the economy, and energy, environment and natural resources, said campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel.

Perhaps it is this structure more than any other external factor which accounts for the notorious Kerry “nuance” displayed time and again during this campaign. When you have thousands of voices, each with their own pet causes and projects, coming together to develop coherent policies, you will wind up with either no product at all or long-winded and self-contradictory policies that look more like legal papers instead. Early on in our history, we were wise enough to limit the House of Representatives to 435 members for this very reason. Any body much larger than that increases policy inertia to a point where it is too difficult to overcome.
While the entire article is interesting, it fails to ask one key question: why does John Kerry, after having spent over 30 years in public office — the last twenty at the federal level — need thousands of people to decide what he thinks? One of the selling points of his campaign is supposed to be his long experience in government and foreign policy. Shouldn’t that mean that Kerry has his core principles already staked out, and if so, shouldn’t a smaller group of people be able to use them to build policy papers?
This overgrown and unwieldy organization not only looks like a throwback to Great Society-level bureaucratism but also demonstrates that Kerry has few core principles on which to build his policy. We already know that John Edwards is pretty much an empty suit from his legislative track record during his only term in office, but Kerry was supposed to be ready to take the reins right now. Candidates choose staff carefully to ensure that they match up with their already-expressed beliefs and principles, making large numbers of people for policy development unnecessary.
If Kerry needs a cast of thousands to make up his mind what he thinks at this late stage in his career, why should anyone vote for him?
UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt has some good thoughts on this article (and you should buy his book, If It’s Not Close, They Can’t Cheat), and also points to another Post article that dovetails with the above:

Democratic Party leaders said yesterday they plan to make their nominating convention in Boston later this month a four-day reintroduction of Sen. John F. Kerry, enlisting his wife, children and former war comrades in Vietnam to make the case for a man they acknowledge remains an opaque figure for millions of Americans.
“Stronger at Home, Respected in the World,” is the theme of the Boston event, said Democratic National Committee Chairman Terence R. McAuliffe. The phrase is designed to underscore the centrist and forward-looking image Kerry wants to present to voters — an implicit attack on President Bush and a rebuttal to Bush’s argument that Kerry would be a weak and irresolute commander in chief.

Not that there’s anything weak or irresolute about needing a few thousand sign-offs on your policy statements.