Thursday, February 12, 2004

Kerry Tales, Part XX

Jeff Jacoby has a great piece in yesterday's Boston Globe on Massachusetts' junior Senator:
In the 2004 presidential field, there is a candidate for nearly every point of view. His name is John Kerry.

Equivocating politicians are sometimes accused of trying to be "all things to all people," but few have taken the practice of expedience and shifty opportunism to Kerry's level. . . Here's how it works: Say you're in favor of capital punishment for terrorists. Well, so is Kerry. "I am for the death penalty for terrorists because terrorists have declared war on your country," he said in December 2002. "I support killing people who declare war on our country."

But if you're opposed to capital punishment even for terrorists, that's OK -- Kerry is too! Between 1989 and 1993, he voted at least three times to exempt terrorists from the death penalty. In a debate with former governor William Weld, his opponent in the 1996 Senate race, Kerry scorned the idea of executing terrorists. Anti-death penalty nations would refuse to extradite them to the United States, he said. "Your policy," he told Weld, "would amount to a terrorist protection policy. Mine would put them in jail."

What does Kerry really think? Who knows? He seems to have conveniently switched his stance after Sept. 11, 2001, but he insists that politics had nothing to do with his reversal. Either way, one thing is clear: His willingness to swing both ways fits a longstanding pattern of coming down firmly on both sides of controversial issues.
And what's Kerry's view on gay marriage? He's been campaigning against it. But just two years ago, Kerry supported homosexual marriage. So which is it? Jacoby's not sure: "Where Kerry will ultimately come down on this issue is anybody's guess. But it's safe to say that wherever you come down, he'll be able to claim he was there all along."

Similar stories are common among the Washington-based press, who--in my experience--consider Kerry a self-promoting opportunist. [ed.--what politician isn't? ed.'s ed.--quiet Mickey.] As does Garry Trudeau.

In the 1972 campaign, Nixon pasted McGovern with the famous "flipping sides" ad. Expect something similar from President Bush soon. And it will be effective.

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