The Liberal Case Against Kerry

Matt Taibbi of the New York Press has a scathing article on John Kerry from the liberal perspective. Taibbi raises an interesting point, why would a liberal vote for Kerry?

Look at the Democratic National Convention. Let’s say you took a voter who didn’t know who John Kerry or George W. Bush was, and described to them what the Democratic Convention was like. Would they identify it as a Democratic Convention? Or would they be more likely to think it was a Republican gathering.

You have saccharine patriotism, claims that the ideology of the party is synonymous with patriotism, the usual autobiographical pap, and a smattering of mealy-mouthed platitudes about making America “stronger”. If one were going to parody a Republican political speech by taking the most two-dimensional view of the GOP agenda, Kerry’s speech, with only a few exceptions, would be it.

If the liberals weren’t frothing at the mouth with anti-Bush hatred, I think Kerry would be sunk by now. Kerry turned his back on years of liberal doctrine at the convention, and just professed that he’s (gasp!) for the war, no ifs ands or buts. Howard Dean may have been slightly unhinged, but at least you damn well knew what he thought on any given issue. No waffling there, he was a liberal and damn proud of it. It’s ironic that Dean is saying that someday “Democrats won’t be afraid to call themselves Democrats” because right now they certainly are. Kerry’s speech was a massive effort in compensation, window dressing to disguise what he really thinks. As Taibbi notes:

It’s not fair to expect brilliance from politicians. It’s not fair to expect them to be charismatic, or to electrify the hall with their speaking skills. It’s not even realistic to expect them to tell you what they actually think about things.

But it is fair to demand that they at least make an honest attempt to tell us something about something. Give us some kind of plan; explain something to us. John Kerry has had a front-row seat to the inner workings of the highest levels of the U.S. government for nearly 20 years. He knows more about how the world actually works than all but a handful of people in this country. He has something to tell us.

But what does he do? He climbs up a mountain of cliches, shouts “Think Positive!” from the summit and then calmly skies down into a sea of champagne and confetti with a toy M-16 draped over his shoulder. That is a gross insult, both to our intelligence and to our natural human desire to have some kind of active role in the management of our own affairs—and we all ought to be mighty pissed about it.

If I were a liberal, I’d be pissed too. Kerry is spending almost all his time running away from the liberal ideology. Granted, Clinton did it too, but Clinton was charismatic enough to see ice to Eskimos and Zippo lighters in Hell.

Liberals (or “progressives” as many like to call themselves) should consider whether their hatred of Bush is really advancing their agenda or showing that the only way a Democrat can win in this country is by becoming a virtual Republican.

11 thoughts on “The Liberal Case Against Kerry

  1. If I were an old-school conservative who wasn’t following Milton Friedman’s “starve the beast” ethos for bankrupting government with deficit spending and relentless tax cuts, I’d be pretty mad at Bush’s free-spending ways myself. Where’s the outrage on the right? How can you support Bush?

    Clearly, there’s a lot of political posturing on both sides. Conservatives are willing to put up with the huge deficits Bush is running up short-term if it forces the long-term defunding and dissolution of government. Liberals are willing to put up with a little wartime hawkishness at our convention if it means a long-term abandonment of the neoconservative doctrine of pre-emptive war against unarmed enemies.

  2. Where’s the outrage on the right? How can you support Bush?

    Read National Review some time. They decry Bush’s spending habits. Still, given the choice between a President who is a big spender with pro-growth policies and a candidate who is a bigger spender whose policies would take us back to the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, the choice is pretty damn clear.

    Liberals are willing to put up with a little wartime hawkishness at our convention if it means a long-term abandonment of the neoconservative doctrine of pre-emptive war against unarmed enemies.

    Except Kerry just said he would have voted for the war regardless of the existance of weapons of mass destruction. Considering that Kerry has embraced preemption as a valid military strategy (only to later contradict himself, then contradict his own contradiction yesterday), it’s clear that the only thing Kerry stands for is whatever he feels like on that particular day.

    Nice try in trying to portray the Iraqis are “unarmed” to. I’m sure the Kurds, Shi’a, and others who were being massacred by Saddam for years would disagree.

  3. Kerry is a serial liar with no conscience. He makes Clinton look like Honest Abe.

    The fact that so many liberals can still support him only speaks to:
    1) the fact that even these people know that Kerry is lying when he tries to appear more conservative, but don’t care
    2) the corruption of these people; the fact that they either don’t care that the candidate is either lying or totally abandoning their principles….

  4. Still, given the choice between a President who is a big spender with pro-growth policies and a candidate who is a bigger spender

    Aren’t you always on Kerry’s ass for slashing crucial budgets, like that HUMINT you’re always so keen on?

  5. Well, there is an economically-responsible way to “starve the beast”, but Bush ain’t starving it- he’s feeding it.

    Of course, I wonder, what choice do liberals really have? Bush? Nader? I can’t stand either of them on a number of levels. I can’t say I’m a fan of Kerry, but at least he hasn’t openly come out against genetic engineering and doesn’t think that the world was created in six days six thousand years ago…

  6. It’s regrettable that pathological lying is a pre-requisite to electability in our “campaign from the center, legislate from the fringe” political climate of today. If a straight-shooter like Jimmy Carter ran for President today, he’d be almost impossible to elect regardless of his level of charisma. John Kerry is making a cold political calculation that he has a lock on the Democratic base, so he’s trying to appeal to whatever swing voters he can convince by saying he would still vote to give the President the authority to go to war. This is similar to Bush winking at his corporate polluter buddies while assuring swing voters he would mandate emissions reductions…then telling those voters he had his fingers crossed after he was elected. It would be nice if candidates could run honest campaigns when running for President, but it appears those days are over on both sides of the aisle. The bottom line for those of us who believe waging war in Iraq was an historic mistake is that we’re far more confident in Kerry’s ability to put this chapter behind us than we are Bush’s, despite Kerry’s often misleading hawkishness. And while he pays lip service to “pre-emptive strikes” it’s hard to believe he would ever exploit such a doctrine as irresponsibly as the present administration did.

  7. Mark: thanks for admitting your guy Kerry is a liar. Moreover, he is a serial liar.

  8. I admit that Kerry is a liar. Would you ever admit that Bush is a liar?

    The thing is, I can’t for the life of me think of one instance where Bush has outright lied. He’s been wrong, but that isn’t a lie. If the meterologist says that it’s going to rain tomorrow and it doesn’t, that doesn’t make him a liar.

    On the other hand, we know Kerry’s a liar. We know he was never in Cambodia, as there’s no way he could have and one of his own shipmates said it was completely not true. Yet there’s testimony by Kerry in the Senate records where he says he was.

    It would be a small matter, if Kerry hadn’t made his entire campaign based on events that happened 30 years ago.

  9. Now who’s the liar?

    Even if one is naive enough to give Bush the benefit of the doubt on sexing up intelligence about WMD to justify a war

    Which the US Senate specifically says he did not do. As Conclusion 83 of the report reads:

    The Committee did not find any evidence that Administration officials attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to change their judgments related to Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction capabilities.

    Strike one.

    the discrepancy’s of his National Guard service record

    A claim which both The New York Times and the Boston Globe investigated fully and found to be baseless. Bush’s records are similar to thousands of other National Guard soldiers – and unlike Kerry, Bush’s commanding officers have good things to say about him. Outside rabid partisans, the Bush ANG story carries no water.

    Strike two.

    and avenging an administration dissenter by outing his wife as an undercover CIA agent

    Do you know something then? Because there’s no evidence that yet suggests that Bush had anything to do with the leak, and it’s highly unlikely that he did.

    Strike three, you’re out.

  10. So was “we won’t use our military as a tool for regime building” a lie, or just another mistake?

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