AWOL in the Fight Against George W. Bush
It's all in the Kerry record.
Sen. John Kerry, emerging as the favorite to win the New Hampshire primary, often tells supporters he has the courage and qualifications to stand up to George W. Bush when it counts. "I have the ability to stand up to George Bush," Kerry said as he campaigned in the last days before the Iowa caucuses. A few days earlier, Kerry said voters want a candidate who can "stand up to George Bush and his bullies."
As a senator with the responsibility to cast a vote on a variety of contentious issues, Kerry has had many opportunities to square off with the president. Yet an analysis of Kerry's 2003 Senate voting record shows that he did not show up for most of the Senate's confrontations with the White House.
The publication Congressional Quarterly examined 119 recorded votes held in 2003 in which the president had taken a position. CQ found that Kerry was present for just 28 percent of those votes. In contrast, Kerry's colleague from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy, was present for 97 percent of the votes.
When Kerry showed up, he did indeed vote against the president a significant number of times. In 2003, according to CQ, Kerry sided against the president 70 percent of the time. Kennedy, usually viewed as the gold standard of liberal orthodoxy, voted against Bush 53 percent of the time.
In a larger examination of all Senate votes, CQ found that Kerry and Kennedy have compiled remarkably similar voting records ? a fact that will no doubt be used by Republicans who will seek to portray Kerry as a classic Massachusetts liberal, should he win the Democratic nomination and face President Bush in November's general election.
CQ found that in 2003, Kerry voted with Kennedy 93 percent of the time on roll-call votes in which both men were present. While that might seem like a lot, it was, historically, a rather low number for Kerry; who voted with Kennedy 100 percent of the time on key votes in 2001, 1999, 1998, 1993, 1992, 1989, 1988, 1987, 1986, and 1985, according to a Republican analysis of CQ's designated key votes from those years.
There are other indicators that Kerry's liberalism, when he is present for votes, matches or even exceeds Kennedy's and those of other liberal icons in the Senate. For example, Kerry has earned a lifetime rating of 93 from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action, which selects key votes each year and rates lawmakers according to a perfect liberal score of 100. Kerry's rating puts him in league with Kennedy, whose lifetime score is a slightly less-liberal 88, and other liberals like Vermont's Patrick Leahy, with 93, and California's Barbara Boxer, with 96.
Viewed from the other side of the ideological divide, Kerry has a lifetime rating of six from the conservative American Conservative Union, which uses a similar methodology to rate lawmakers according to a perfect conservative score of 100. Kerry's rating is the same as Leahy's and New York's Charles Schumer's, although it is slightly less liberal than Kennedy's lifetime rating of three.
On the issue of showing up for Senate votes, CQ found that Kerry's fellow senators running for president, John Edwards and Joseph Lieberman, also missed a significant number of votes, although far fewer than Kerry did. According to the CQ analysis, Edwards was present for 53 percent of the recorded votes in which the president took a position, while Lieberman was present for 45 percent.
Most senators were present for more than 90 percent of the votes.
John Kerry: The Chameleon Senator
By Ted Sampley
U.S. Veteran Dispatch
October-December 1996 Issue
Despite the prayers and wishful thinking of POW/MIA families and Vietnam veteran activists, Sen. John Forbes Kerry, the "chameleon" senator from Massachusetts, was re-elected to the Senate in the 1996 election. Apparently Kerry's well publicized history as a longtime radical supporter of the Vietnamese communists and a recent flap about whether or not he is guilty of a war crime meant very little to the voters in Massachusetts.
Sen. Kerry, the "noble statesman" and "highly decorated Vietnam vet" of today, is a far cry from Kerry, the radical, hippie-like leader of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) in the early 1970s. After Kerry, as a Navy Lieutenant (junior grade) commanding a Swift boat in Vietnam, was awarded the Silver he found it advantageous to quit the Navy, change the color of his politics and become a leader of VVAW. He went to work organizing opposition in America against the efforts of his former buddies still ducking communist bullets back in Vietnam. Kerry gained national attention in April 1971, when he testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, then chaired by Sen. J. William Fulbright (D-AR), who led opposition in the Congress against U.S. participation in the war. During the course of his testimony, Kerry stated that the United States had a definite obligation to make extensive economic reparations to the people of Vietnam.
Kerry's testimony, it should be noted, occurred while some of his fellow Vietnam veterans were known by the world to be enduring terrible suffering as prisoners of war in North Vietnamese prisons. Kerry was a supporter of the "People's Peace Treaty," a supposed "people's" declaration to end the war, reportedly drawn up in communist East Germany. It included nine points, all of which were taken from Viet Cong peace proposals at the Paris peace talks as conditions for ending the war.
One of the provisions stated: "The Vietnamese pledge that as soon as the U.S. government publicly sets a date for total withdrawal [from Vietnam], they will enter discussion to secure the release of all American prisoners, including pilots captured while bombing North Vietnam." In other words, Kerry and his VVAW advocated the communist line to withdraw all U.S. troops from Vietnam first and then negotiate with Hanoi over the release of prisoners. Had the nine points of the "People's Peace Treaty" favored by Kerry been accepted by American negotiators, the United States would have totally lost all leverage to get the communists to release any POWs captured during the war years.
Kerry was fundamental in organizing antiwar activists to demonstrate in Washington, including the splattering of red paint, representing blood, on the Capitol steps. Several hundred of Kerry's VVAW demonstrators and supporters were allowed by Fulbright to jam into a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in 1972 and to chant "Right on, brother!" as Sen. George McGovern (D-SD), then the only declared Democratic presidential candidate, accused U.S. troops of committing barbarisms in Vietnam.
Kerry became even more of a press celebrity during a highly publicized "anti-war" protest when he threw medals the press reported were his over a barricade and onto the steps of the Capitol. Kerry never mentioned that the medals he so gloriously tossed were not his own. The 1988 issue of Current Biography Yearbook explained: " . . . the ones he had discarded were not his own but had belonged to another veteran who asked him to make the gesture for him. When a 'Washington Post' reporter asked Kerry about the incident, he said: 'They're my medals. I'll do what I want with them. And there shouldn't be any expectations about them.'" Kerry's medals have reappeared, today hanging in his Senate office, now that it is "politically correct" for a U.S. Senator to be portrayed as a Vietnam War hero. Alas, so much for integrity.
Recently, Kerry became extremely defensive when David Warsh, an economics columnist for The Boston Globe, questioned the circumstances for which Kerry was awarded the Silver Star. Kerry, who was in a close re-election battle with Gov. William F. Weld, a Republican, quickly gathered his former crew from his Swift boat days to rebuff the "assault on his integrity."
According to the official citation accompanying the Silver Star for Kerry's actions on the waters of the Mekong Delta on February 28, 1969: "Kerry's craft received a B-40 rocket close aboard. Once again Lieutenant (j.g.) Kerry ordered his units to charge the enemy positions. . . Patrol Craft Fast 94 then beached in the center of the enemy positions and an enemy soldier sprang up from his position not ten feet from Patrol Craft 94 and fled. Without hesitation Lieutenant (j.g.) Kerry leaped ashore, pursued the man behind a hootch and killed him, capturing a B-40 rocket launcher with a round in the chamber." In an article printed in the October 21st and 28th 1996 edition of The New Yorker, Kerry was asked about the man he had killed.
"It was either going to be him or it was going to be us. It was that simple. I don't know why it wasn't us--I mean, to this day. He had a rocket pointed right at our boat. He stood up out of the hole, and none of us saw him until he was standing in front of us, aiming a rocket right at us, and, for whatever reason, he didn't pull the trigger--he turned and ran. He was shocked to see our boat right in front of him. If he'd pulled the trigger, we'd all be dead . . . I just won't talk about all of it. I don't and I can't. The things that probably really turn me I've never told anybody. Nobody would understand," Kerry said. In the column, Warsh quoted the Swift boat's former gunner, Tom Belodeau, as saying the Viet Cong soldier who Kerry chased "behind a hootch" and "finished off" actually had already been wounded by the gunner.
Warsh wrote that such a "coup de grace" would have been considered a war crime. Belodeau stood beside Kerry and said he'd been misquoted. He conceded that he had fired at and wounded the Viet Cong, but denied Kerry had simply executed the wounded Viet Cong. Dan Carr, a former Marine from Massachusetts, who served 14 months as a rifleman sloshing around in the humid jungles of I Corps, South Vietnam, questioned whether or not Kerry deserved a Silver Star for chasing and killing a lone, wounded, retreating Viet Cong. "Kerry is certainly showing some sensitivity there. Most people I knew in Vietnam were just trying to pull their time there and get the hell out. There were some, though, who actually used Vietnam to get their tickets punched. You know, to build their resumes for future endeavors," Carr said.
In 1991, the United States Senate created the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs to examine the possibility that U.S. POW/MIAs might still be held by the Vietnamese. As chairman of the Select Committee, Kerry proved himself to be a masterful chameleon portraying to the public at large what appeared to be an unbiased approach to resolving the POW/MIA issue. But, in reality, no one in the United States Senate pushed harder to bury the POW/MIA issue, the last obstacle preventing normalization of relations with Hanoi, than John Forbes Kerry. (Remember the middle name "Forbes").
In fact, his first act as chairman was to travel to Southeast Asia, where during a stopover in Bangkok, Thailand, he lectured the U.S. Chamber of Commerce there on the importance of lifting the trade embargo and normalizing relations with Vietnam. During the entire life of the Senate Select Committee, Kerry never missed a chance to propaganderize and distort the facts in favor of Hanoi.
Sydney H. Schanberg, associate editor and columnist for New York Newsday and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist veteran of the Indochina War whose book, The Death and Life of Dith Pran, became the subject of the Academy Award-winning film The Killing Fields, chronicled some of Kerry's more blatant pro-Hanoi biases in several of his columns.
In a Nov. 21, 1993 column, Schanberg wrote, "Highly credible information has been surfacing in recent days which indicates that the headlines you have been reading about a 'breakthrough' in Hanoi's cooperation on the POW/MIA issue are part of a carefully scripted performance. The apparent purpose is to move toward normalization of relations with Hanoi.
"Sen. John F. Kerry, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, is one of the key figures pushing for normalization. Kerry is currently on a visit to Vietnam where he has been doing two things: (1) praising the Vietnamese effusively for granting access to their war archives and (2) telling the press that there's no believable evidence to back up the stories of live POWs still being held. "Ironically, that very kind of live-POW evidence has been brought to Kerry's own committee on a regular basis over the past year, and he has repeatedly sought to impeach its value. Moreover, Kerry and his allies on the committee - such as Sens. John McCain, Nancy Kassebaum and Tom Daschle - have worked to block much of this evidence from being made public."
In December of 1992, not long after Kerry was quoted in the world press stating "President Bush should reward Vietnam within a month for its increased cooperation in accounting for American MIAs," Vietnam announced it had granted Colliers International, based in Boston, Massachusetts, a contract worth billions designating Colliers International as the exclusive real estate agent representing Vietnam.
That deal alone put Colliers in a position to make tens of millions of dollars on the rush to upgrade Vietnam's ports, railroads, highways, government buildings, etc. C. Stewart Forbes, Chief Executive Officer of Colliers International, is Kerry's cousin. Kerry was portrayed in The New Yorker as a proud Vietnam veteran and "war hero" who, as chairman of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, dared to take on and defeat the "mendacious POW lobby."
In its 1993 final report, the Select Committee determined that live U.S. prisoners of war were left behind in the hands of the Vietnamese after the end of the war. The committee also claimed it found no "compelling" evidence proving the POWs remain alive today. Kerry's committee stopped there without answering three of the most profound questions of the entire Senate POW/MIA investigation: What happened to those U.S. prisoners of war who the Select Committee said were alive and in the hands of the Vietnamese but not released at the end of the war? If they are dead, where are their remains? Who is responsible for their deaths?
No doubt most of the Establishment press will continue to obscure from the public and themselves the raw truth about Kerry, the communist Vietnamese and the POW/MIA issue because it is politically convenient. There is also no doubt the POW/MIA families and Vietnam veteran activists know the truth and recognize Kerry for what he truly is--a traitor, hypocrite, liar and chameleon.
The information is out there. You just have to see it.
The formatting is off because I am using Netscape, sorry.
U.S. Presidential candidate John Kerry
AWOL in the Fight Against George W. Bush
If you want to talk about AWOL, shouldn't you say something about Bush's so called service in the Texas National Guard. Plus, have you seen the recent numbers, Kerry is ahead and leading by 5 to 10% against Bush. My biggest problem with Bush is not always what he does but how he does it. Here in PA the college teachers are on the verge of striking because of a mere 40 million deficit, where is our help? We can spend over a 100 billion in Iraq in just one year, but we can't properly fund our states. I'm not trying to get to political, and indeed I'm registered as independent, but I feel that we can do much better than our current leader who had given us massive debt and PR nightmare abroad. Who cares about Sadamm, where is my Osama? Also, if you could openly vote as a Dub member, I'm sure that most would probably vote for Bush because he is so Christian. I thought this country represented freedom for everyone, not just the Christian Right, don't we have better things to do than ammending the constitution so gays can't get married? Is this truly the most pressing issue our society faces that we have to ammend the constitution? Sometimes, I feel like I'm living during the Prohibition time period. No wonder this country spawned all kinds of crazy cults and religious fundamentals, i.e. Russel and his Org.
Your (second-hand) analysis basically could be summed up as: "Kerry is a liberal, votes liberal and that makes him bad."
So..."Bush is conservative and that makes him great."
Ah, the dichotomous thinking that we supposedly left behind.
Kerry needs a haircut.
Then, again, so do I.
Ooh, BRADLEY, your new avatar is so Euro-liberal and STYLISH! I can just see you sipping bad coffee in a Paris cafe and trying to smooth talk a hairy French girl with your superior knowledge of economics and the historical dialectic. Do you carry that backlight around with you everywhere you go? Or does it just kind of follow you like a halo of superiority?
Here in PA the college teachers are on the verge of striking because of a mere 40 million deficit, where is our help.
Um, what are you talking about? I live in PA as well. Haven't heard word one about anything - the new budget that Rendell and the State legislature passed raised taxes but fixed the holes. We help ourselves. There is no state deficit anymore.
You are right, there is a plethora of information available. You made the statement, though, and I wanted to see which particulars you based your opinion on.
Most of what you cut/pasted as back-up basically accuses Kerry of being a liberal, or presents interpretations based on political leanings. Kind of, damn liberals stuff and quotes of reporters opinions on actions. One could find opinions from the left that would read the same about the right.
I do appreciate the factual information on Kerry's number of votes, which does give one reason for pause. Thanks for taking the time to share information that led you to your views.
PS-Geez Czar, did you miss your coffee this morning? Thought your name was mischievous not vicious.
It is a Senator's prerogative to abstain when not having a strong opinion on a matter. As shown by Kennedy's voting pattern, only 53 % of his votes were in opposition to Bush. This means that many even most of the votes Kerry abstained from made were mundane or bipartisan supported. I am not a Kerry supporter yet but this kid of right wing spin helps noone make a objective and informed opinion. The man is a target for his liberal views and his opposition to needless war. Even if you feel he was mistaken about Iraq or certain views about Vietnam, he acted upon his conscience.
Kerry won our State yesterday (Washington) and the newspaper said that most of the people were unconcerned with his policies, they just want someone who can win against Bush.
On CNN the other night they showed a poll that if the vote was now, Kerry would win with 53%, Bush 46%. Sounds good to me.
Personally I really like John Edwards, but whoever gets the nomination will get my vote.
The Rendell budget did account for K-12 state teachers but does not address college teachers. This is a separate budget involving the 13 higher education state universities from Temple to Shippensburg. I can tell you first hand that since last fall semester, we have been under the threat of strike every day. The professors which belong to the APSCUF union are in a bitter struggle with the school administration. The situation has become more dire of late and the professors have already authorized the power to strike. No one knows what the ramifications will be if the professors strike in the middle of the semester-it has never happened before. However, the problem is not the teachers and maybe not even the administration but the fact that education in this country if underfunded. Bush touted his no child left behind program but to date the initiative is useless because there is no money. No money because it was all spent on the military and tax cuts. In fact, some states are pulling out of the no child left behind program because it's not being funded by congress. Where's my money?
I can just see you sipping bad coffee in a Paris cafe and trying to smooth talk a hairy French girl with your superior knowledge of economics and the historical dialectic.
Hey, I'm part French, and hairy, and female. So what cafe do you see him in?
returning you to the flamewar in progress