Crunching The Numbers

Kevin Hassett, former economic advisor to John McCain, takes a look at the spending proposals of John Kerry and finds they would add $2.1 trillion to the budget deficit over the next decade.

Kerry is claming that he can tax the richest 2% to pay for all these programs. If you believe that a tax increase on the richest 2% will add $2-2.1 trillion in additional revenue over the next ten years, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. Kerry’s promised that he will cut taxes on the middle class – which would only add to the deficit, especially if it was tied to an economic anchor like a return of high taxes on dividents and other investments.

Those who chastise Bush on spending are right – but compared to Kerry, Bush is a penny-pincher. Considering that the economic effects of Kerry’s anti-growth tax plans, his opposition to free trade, and his budget-busting spending plans, a Kerry administration would be an economic disaster for this country.

48 thoughts on “Crunching The Numbers

  1. This study even gives Kerry the benefit of the doubt in assigning costs to all of his promises…first, it looked for third party estimates of costs, then if none were available, it actually used the Kerry estimate of costs, and if those were not given, then amazingly enough this study assigned the cost to be zero.

    So this estimate doesn’t even include the costs of proposals for which no estimates are available…that’s being pretty generous to Kerry.

    Also, as we all know, every govt. program always costs more than estimated…so again, this is a lowball estimate.

    All the media has to do to puncture Kerry is to bring these facts to light.

    No responsible economist believes Kerry can make it all add up. This study is one devastating confirmation of that.

  2. Even in the unlikely event we get a Democratic Congress in 2004, Kerry’s spending proposals wouldn’t have a chance of passage in these cash-strapped times. On the other hand, Bush seems to get every budget-busting boondoggle he proposes through Congress (albeit often by lying, threatening and employing dirty tricks on the House floor). Many of Kerry’s spending proposals would trouble me as well if I thought there was a chance of them becoming law.

  3. Kerry’s spending proposals wouldn’t have a chance of passage in these cash-strapped times. On the other hand, Bush seems to get every budget-busting boondoggle he proposes through Congress (albeit often by lying, threatening and employing dirty tricks on the House floor). Many of Kerry’s spending proposals would trouble me as well if I thought there was a chance of them becoming law.

    The same could be said of Bush (and was in 2000).

    Congress spends. It’s a fact of life. There are only a handful of truly fiscal conservatives in Congress, and they’re a tiny minority. Regardless of party, Congress loves their pork.

    The partisan composition of Congress is probably not going to change much, and if anything the Democrats might pick up a Senate seat or two.

    In other words, deficit spending didn’t bother Congress in the 1980’s, it doesn’t bother Congress now, and it won’t in the future. Electing a big spender on the hopes that he won’t be able to spend that money is never a sane hope.

    Granted, Bush isn’t a fiscal conservative except in tax policy, but Kerry is guaranteed to be significantly worse.

  4. Ah, but you’re missing one thing- Bush is a Republican, and congress is controlled by Republicans, so they’re going to listen to the president. If Kerry wins, congress is going to turn into a gaggle of Daschle-esq “obstructionists” who will recreate the fiscal deadlock of the 90’s- and in likelyhood, restore balance to the budget… just as the battle between the Republican congress and the Clinton Administration did.

    At least that’s what I’m hoping. I can’t see any change on the horizon with Bush remaining in the White House…

  5. Ah, but you’re missing one thing- Bush is a Republican, and congress is controlled by Republicans, so they’re going to listen to the president. If Kerry wins, congress is going to turn into a gaggle of Daschle-esq “obstructionists” who will recreate the fiscal deadlock of the 90’s- and in likelyhood, restore balance to the budget…

    The thing is, the fiscal deadlock didn’t work. The reason the budget was balances was because the economy expanded during the Internet boom and tax revenues increased accordingly.

    Even a Republican Congress can’t be counted upon to maintain fiscal discipline. If you want to get reelected, you need to bring on the pork. There’s too much incentive for any Congressman to just go along with a spending bill.

    The only way to restrain spending is to enact rules like PAYGO that prevent Congress from overspending. Unfortunately, the chances of that happening are slim to none at this point, even though both campaigns support such rules in theory.

    That also assumes that Kerry’s other regressive economic tendencies don’t bring the economy to a crawl first. Massive tax increases and trade barriers would bring our economy to its knees – and we cannot afford that right now. Economic growth is key, not government spending. Even if Bush continues his fiscally profligate ways, the damage can be repaired. Having someone who’s a bigger spender and would reduce the rates of growth necessary to sustain even current spending would be disastrous.

  6. Hold a second! If I remember correctly that was the same thing they said about Hitler. The Germans put Hitler in a “powerless” position and said something like, “he has some terrible ideas but the rest of the government will rein him in.” We all know how that turned out.

    I’m not calling Kerry a Nazi or comparing him to Hitler I am just saying that thinking the rest of the government will simply rein in Kerry’s economic policies is illogical and risky.

  7. It is foolish and risky to assume or to bet that Congress would somehow restrain any president Kerry in his profligate spending.

    The presidency is a huge bully pulpit; any president always has a good chance of getting his proposals through, especially if the media is on his side, which would definitely be the case with Kerry. A president Kerry could definitely shift the country leftward in spending, and to be otherwise is not being realistic.

    A president gets to define the agenda…as in Kerry asking if we want 2 trillion dollars in new spending or only 1.5 trillion. And again, don’t underestimate the power of the media in pushing through his agenda…expect to see many stories on how we need socialized healthcare.

    Remember, Bush wasn’t supposed to be able to get his tax cut through his first year, and he did so rather easily.

    Plus, if Kerry wins, that signals a voter trend that might give the Dems control of the Senate…if the Dems have the White House and the Senate, then you can be sure to see Kerry get a lot of what he wants.

    Bottom line: Kerry, like any president, would get a good chunk of what he wants through, which would be disastrous.

  8. Also, one has to ask what the list of Kerry promises says about the man himself as a potential leader.

    Let’s fact it…his economic proposals are another example of crass political pandering to every possible audience…the classic promise everything to everyone mentality…

    The very fact that Kerry would make these proposals and claim shows that either he and his economic team are seriously flawed in their basic reasoning, or are deliberately trying to deceive the American people. Either way that does not commend Kerry for president.

  9. It’s very telling that the best Kerry’s supporters can say on this thread is that, yes, Kerry’s proposals suck and don’t add up, but don’t take it too seriously because it never would get through anyway.

    That’s one bet I don’t want to take…anytime a person takes the presidency, one has to assume they have enormous leverage to get what they want.

  10. Let’s also face another reality…if Kerry gets elected, that means he has a strategy…a combination…that wins (by definition).

    That same strategy could very well get a lot of his proposals through…imagine the liberal media, the radical left, the Michael Moores, all working to get Kerry’s agenda passed. I can see it now…Moore comes out with a film on how much we need socialized healthcare, aging rock n rollers tour the country in support of this, and the media goes crazy with stories pushing the Kerry agenda.

    Bottom line: if Kerry can win the presidency, he surely has a good chance of getting many of his proposals through. And remember that if Kerry wins, it will be in spite of many people saying he couldn’t.

    I certainly don’t want to take the Kerry gambit.

  11. While a perpetual increase in government spending is inevitable in our “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” model of representative government, common sense and historical precedent indicate that when one party controls all of government, the lack of checks and balances maximizes the rise in government spending. This is why a number of the endangered species of fiscal conservatives are holding their nose and supporting Kerry.

    Furthermore, the GOP base has always been far more skillful in playing effective defense than the Dems, so Bill Frist will be less politically vulnerable to cries of “obstructionism” than Tom Daschle is/was. AT is uncharacteristically correct about the power of the President’s bully pulpit in influencing public opinion, but GOP bulldogs are unlikely to flinch on anything if it means a victory for Kerry if they do.

    Furthermore, if Kerry does manage to pass a sliver of his spending proposals and economic proposals, leading to Jay’s hysterical projection of economic doomsday, wouldn’t voters strengthen the GOP majority in 2006 to reverse Kerrynomics and return to the 2001-2004 Bush economic utopia? Trying to sell Bush within the context of healthy fiscal stewardship is a losing proposition no matter how dizzy you make yourself spinning it.

  12. This is why a number of the endangered species of fiscal conservatives are holding their nose and supporting Kerry.

    What world do you live in? I know a few conservatives who won’t support Bush (Spoons, for instance), but none of them would consider a vote for Kerry.

  13. Jay, I’ve heard of a few cases of old-school fiscal conservatives supporting Kerry, but the only specific name I can throw at you is former Nixon strategist Kevin Phillips.

  14. Quoting the WSJ:
    While we agree that Mr. Bush has a lousy first-term spending record, he is now saying that in a second term he’d restrain non-defense increases. Mr. Kerry’s stated agenda is increased spending nearly across the board and tax hikes. The voters can decide which of these better constitutes “fiscal discipline.”
    –end of quote–

    Also, any savings during the Clinton era came out of defense…that’s not good to have happen now…so if Kerry repeats Clinton’s fiscal reductions, everything will increase except defense, which will be cut…we don’t want that…

    Anyone who expects fiscal discipline in any administration of the most liberal member of the US Senate is smoking something illegal…

  15. Honestly, for me and many others, the only issue that counts is defeating terrorism and winning WWIII. Nothing else matters if we don’t stop terrorism.

    We won’t have much of an economy if we get hit again…we won’t have much of an economy if we wake up one morning to see a giant crater where there once was an American city, or if a bioterror plague spreads throughout the land…

    Security is always the prerequisite for everything else we enjoy, including prosperity.

    Bush will fight, we know that. There is nothing in Kerry’s political history to suggest that he will. He was against fighting the cold war, he wanted to kill every major weapons systems we enjoy today during the 80’s under Reagan, he would have left Saddam Hussein in Kuwait in 1991, he voted to cut intelligence spending, has an undistinguished record on the Senate intel committee, he was consistently the most dovish member of the Senate. And Kerry himself agrees with that assessment…that there is nothing in his political career to suggest he would be a hawk, because that is why he showcases his Vietnam experience 35 years ago…if Kerry had a strong record on national security in his political career, you can bet we would have heard about it by now.

    Bottom line: Bush will fight the war on terror, Kerry will not. No contest as to who gets my vote.

  16. Anyone who believes John Kerry is the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate is smoking something illegal.

    And by the way, if restoring the top tax rate to its 2000 level qualifies as a “huge tax hike,” I hate to see what adjective will be used to describe the future tax hike necessary to finance the consequences of years of perennial Republican debt.

  17. Another Thought, Bush’s problem is that very few people feel as though we’re fighting World War III….and even those who do aren’t willing to sacrifice their Saudi-financed gas-guzzling SUV’s or their Bush tax cuts in this “epic struggle against the worst enemy mankind has ever known.”

    Bottom line: Americans are more likely to fear that second-hand smoke will put them in a bodybag than terrorism. A people as pampered and superficial as our own will not be convinced by the paranoia that you and Bush peddle in an effort to hang onto power….if for no other reason than they see no personal benefit from it and won’t unless domestic terrorism becomes as commonplace in America as it is in Israel.

  18. The base is hugely behind Bush, let me assure you.

    Assure us on what grounds?

    You’ve talked to every single one of them?

  19. The ADA, a liberal group, gives Kerry a rating of 92 out of 100, more liberal than Ted Kennedy.

    The independent National Journal has rated Kerry the most liberal member of the Senate.

    Quoting William Mayer, an associate professor of political science at Northeastern University in Boston:
    In recent weeks, a number of commentators have asserted that Kerry’s voting history is complicated to classify. The evidence doesn’t bear this out. If you were to take the numbers shown here, cover up Kerry’s name and then ask a sample of American political scientists, “I have here a senator who in the past 10 years has had an average ADA score of 92 and an average ACU score of 6. Is he a liberal, a moderate or a conservative?” they would have no difficulty in classifying the 2004 Democratic candidate as, for better or worse, a liberal.

    –end of quote–

    Why do you think Kerry didn’t play up his record during his convention, but always fell back on Vietnam? It’s because his record is too liberal to sell to the general public, and he knows it.

  20. Mark: read the article…there is no way Kerry can pay for all of his spending promises just by rolling back the tax cuts for the highest bracket.

    Also, Clinton promised to only raise taxes on the wealthy, and we got a much deeper tax increase on the middle class.

    Anytime a Dem promises to raise taxes only on the wealthy, it inevitably reaches into the middle class.

    Kerry is a liar when he tries to make it seem he will only raise taxes on the “wealthy”…but then again Kerry specializes in lying.

  21. Quoting from Vodkapundit:
    The turnout for Bush’s apperances was astonishing: 10,000 people in Pensacola, filling the Civic Center to capacity (Bush was edged by only AC/DC for the largest audience in the venue’s history). Another big crowd showed in Niceville, just north of Eglin, and an amazing 23,000 turned out in Panama City.

    Folks, the population of Panama City is about 36,000. Nearly two-thirds of the populace showed up to cheer for a political candidate. According to a friend of mine who was there, they had to wait in line for three hours to get tickets, then another three hours to go through security.

    Did I mention this was all in a driving rain, with thunder and lightning going off like firecrackers?

    The bottom line to all of this: There ain’t nothing wrong with Bush’s base. If he can turn out 23,000 peole to stand in the rain for six hours in Panama City, that base is going to turn out like crazy to push a couple of buttons in a voting booth come November.

    –end of quote—

    I can say also from my personal experience knowing many people who would be considered part of Bush’s base, that his support seems rock solid.

  22. Mark asserts “that very few people feel as though we’re fighting World War III.”

    I guess that defines the separation of voters…and that is something we will know come election day. I would contend that many people believe we are at war. It is very telling that the left thinks their strategy to win is to downplay the fact that we are at war.

    Interesting that Mark references how people “feel”…typical of liberals, they value feelings over thought or analysis or knowledge. I don’t have to always “feel” at war to know we are at war. Anyone who goes through life based on feelings is destined for failure.

  23. Interesting that Mark argues that most Americans don’t “feel” we are at war…but the flaw in his argument is revealed by Kerry himself.

    If msot Americans do not feel we are at war, then why did Kerry work so hard to wrap himself in his Vietnam service and patriotic imagery at his convention?

    Kerry obviously believes that most Americans believe we are at war, and hence his focus on Vietnam.

    Of course, as already noted, Kerry’s focus on Vietnam betrays his lack of national security credentials established during his political career; it is testimony to a political record being a dove rather than a hawk.

    Bush will fight; Kerry will not. Case closed.

  24. I have to say most people don’t feel like we are at war, but everyone knows we are. And Another Thought, your wrong in deriding mark for bringing up feelings. Feelings are what many people make decisions on, gut feelings that they can’t shake. When someone is in the voting booth, and is attempting to predict which canidate will be able to do the most good in the next 4 years, and which do they trust the most, the often base their opinions on their feelings. If enough people feel that the war on terror doesn’t effect them, but healthcare does, people will vote that way.

    Kerry brings up patriotism because he is a politician, he wants to be everybody to everyone. But he forgets what Abraham Lincoln said- “You can fool some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time”

  25. Truthado: I agree that many people vote on “feelings” just as many people make many decisions based on “feelings.”

    My real point is that in general it is not a wise way to approach life to base important decisions on feelings over thoughtful analysis or reason or knowledge, and this seems to be a trait of liberals.

    I maintain that Mark’s own argument seems to be refuted by Kerry, given Kerry’s overt emphasis on his Vietnam service at the DNC. If people were more worried about domestic issues, I think Kerry’s focus would have been different.

    Truthado, I like your Abe Lincoln quote, and I think we all agree with you in the fact that Kerry tries to be all things to all people…in fact, he is the epitome of the slimy politician who operates that way.

  26. The independent National Journal has rated Kerry the most liberal member of the Senate.

    No, the determined that there were at least 10 senators more liberal than Kerry, including Kennedy.

    Moreover, the National Journal based its “liberalism” score based not on ideology, but on politics. Kerry voted with the Democratic majority a lot of the time; as a result, his votes were counted as “liberal.” On average, for every bill Kerry voted for, about 4 Republicans voted with him.

    It’s simply a lie to characterize Kerry as “the most liberal member of the Senate.” The National Journal’s analysis was deeply flawed, and moreover, doesn’t say what you said it does.

  27. Kerry is not only a super-liberal, but more importantly, is extremely weak on national security. He will not fight the war on terror, any more than he wanted to fight the Cold War (remember, he told us we couldn’t defeat Communism and shouldn’t even try). There is a reason terrorists don’t want Bush to win and are rooting for Kerry. There is a reason Kim Jung Il of North Korea plays Kerry’s speeches. There is a reason Castro of Cuba speaks highly of Kerry. There is a reason the mad mullahs of Iran endorse Kerry.

  28. Regardless of how you parse the National Journal report, it doesn’t change the obvious: Kerry is surely a very liberal Senator.

    Hrm, what’s the dragging sound I hear? Sounds like AT moving the goalposts.

    You admit, then, that it’s not true to say that Kerry is liberalist of all senators, as you said above?

    Kerry is surely a very liberal Senator.

    Oh, he’s plenty liberal, just like the American people. Generally though he’s been fairly conservative in regards to foreign policy. As I mentioned, he’s regularly on the same side as some Republicans.

    Not something I would say characterizes an “extremly liberal” record.

    There is a reason terrorists don’t want Bush to win and are rooting for Kerry.

    No, actually, a direct statement from a terrorist group advocated a Bush win, and told Americans not to vote for Kerry.

    It doesn’t get plainer than that. Terrorists are actually clamoring for a Bush win.

  29. As powerline notes:
    The latest view of al Qaeda’s operational planning seems to suggest al Qaeda’s alignment with Michael Moore and the heart of the Democratic Party: Anybody but Bush is the theme.

  30. My comment was that even if you don’t accept the National Journal’s latest report that Kerry is the most liberal Senator, then by other standards, including the ratings of a liberal group, he is an ultra-liberal.

    No, AT, your comment was:

    Anyone who expects fiscal discipline in any administration of the most liberal member of the US Senate

    which I proved was false. I realize that you’d like to go back in time and never have written anything so false, but the best you can do is admit you told a lie and we’ll move on. It isn’t, after all, your first.

    I don’t recall any terrorist group coming out for Bush (at least not in a legitimate story).

    Guess you’re not reading Fox News closely enough:

    Islamists Declare Spain Truce, Endorse Bush

    The London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi said on its Web site that it had received a statement from “The Brigade of Abu Hafs al-Masri (search) (Al Qaeda)” in which the group reiterated its responsibility for the March 11 attacks that killed more than 200 people and wounded more than 1,600.

    The statement tells American voters that Abu Hafs al-Masri supports the re-election campaign of President Bush: “We are very keen that Bush does not lose the upcoming elections.”

    The statement said Abu Hafs al-Masri needs what it called Bush’s “idiocy and religious fanaticism” because they would “wake up” the Islamic world.,2933,114489,00.html

    It doesn’t get clearer than that, AT. While the nature of terrorism means that one group can’t be said to speak for all, terrorists are certainly endorsing Bush.

    If he had a political record of being strong on national security, he would have used it…

    Actually, he does have such a record:

    As freshman senators in 1985, Kerry and Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin sent themselves on a fact-finding mission to Nicaragua to assess the dangers posed by the Sandinista government. Upon their return, Kerry began to receive tips suggesting that the Reagan administration was illegally funneling aid to the Nicaraguan Contras, the rebels struggling to overthrow the Sandinista government, and that the Contras were using supply chains established with U.S. assistance to carry on a bustling drug trade. Kerry took it upon himself to launch a probe. In the months ahead, he developed enough information to persuade more senior members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to conduct a full-scale investigation.

    In a follow-up investigation, Kerry developed information that Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega was trafficking in drugs and sending money out of the country to the Bank of Credit & Commerce International, or BCCI. Kerry launched another investigation and developed information leading to criminal indictments and the collapse of BCCI in 1991.

    A year later, Kerry and Sen. John McCain led a Senate select committee assigned to investigate whether American prisoners of war were still being held in Vietnam. After an exhaustive investigation, they reported finding no evidence that any American was still being held. Based on that finding, the two Vietnam veterans, one a Democrat, the other a Republican, worked together in an effort that would ultimately lead President Clinton to normalize relations with Vietnam in 1995.

    In other words, Kerry takes it upon himself to investigate threats to US security, not just make assumptions about them. What has Bush ever investigated besides the cleavage of the secretary pool at his National Guard post?

  31. In spite of your spin

    I wasn’t aware that it was “spin” to hold you accountable for your statements.

    Any way one looks at it, Kerry has a very liberal voting record in the Senate; political scientists do not hesitate in categorizing Kerry as a liberal.

    Yes, he’s a liberal.

    But he’s not ultra-liberal. He’s not the most liberal. He’s not any number of things that you have accused him of. On some issues, he’s liberal. On many issues, he routinely joins Republicans in supporting positions.

    That’s not behavior characteristic of an extreme liberal. Kerry is liberal, but he’s a more moderate liberal than some others.

    how he wanted in 1984 to kill all of our modern weapons systems as their development was just getting started

    See, that’s another falsehood. He didn’t vote against any weapon systems, he voted against an appropriations bill (one also voted against by Dick Cheney). The thing was, he voted for similar appropriations bills eleven times. On balance he has a very strong NatSec record.

    all of his votes to cut defense and intel spending

    Votes that Republicans, including Cheney, also made.

    Kerry consistently has been one of the most dovish members of the Senate.

    Unjustified warfare doesn’t make us safer, AT. Military proliferation doesn’t make us safer.

    Nothing you can say alters that.

    As I said, terrorists are not united in ideology. It’s ludicrous to compare which terrorists support which candidate; there’s bad guys rooting for both sides. (Of course, I’ve provided direct statements for my assertions; you’ve provided nothing but your own hot air.)

    He will not protect us.

    Seven minutes, AT. Kerry takes action. Bush waits around. It’s not hard to see who’s the proactive leader and who’s the guy having his decisions made for him.

  32. Oh, yeah, more proof of Kerry’s poor judgement and weakness on national security:
    Had Kerry been in charge of devising U.S. strategy against Communism, it would still exist. His approach to Communism was as softheaded as his current approach to terrorism. Communist terrorists, like the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, could count on his liberal gullibility, as when Daniel Ortega met with Kerry in Managua, promised to obey the Contadora Act for Peace and Cooperation in Central America (which Kerry dutifully recorded in the Congressional Record after he got home), and then proceeded a few days after meeting with Kerry to fly off to Moscow to pick up a $200 million check from his Soviet paymasters. As Ortega was pocketing his Soviet check, Kerry was on the Senate floor telling his colleagues that they didn’t need to support the Contras since Nicaragua was free of Soviet influence. Ortega could only have chuckled as he heard Kerry’s lame defense of his good faith.

  33. More proof of Kerry’s poor judgement and weak record on national security:
    In the 1980’s while Reagan was winning the Cold War, Kerry was a leading advocate of the “nuclear freeze” idea. Looking back, historians now agree that such an idea would have prolonged the Cold War. Reagan brought the Cold War to its successful crux by challenging the Soviets and forcing them to realize they could not compete against us. The nuclear freeze would have eliminated this pressure on their system, and frozen into place the status quo of the Soviet Union and the Cold War. In short, a nuclear freeze may very well have prevented victory in the Cold War and we likely would have the Soviet Union, the Iron Curtain, and all the other problems of the Cold War around today.

    As reported in the Wash Times:
    During the height of the Cold War, Mr. Kerry opposed the entire strategic modernization effort proposed by President Reagan — the Peacekeeper, B-1 and B-2 bombers, the Trident submarine and D-5 missile — even though his Democratic colleagues Sam Nunn, Al Gore, Norman Dicks, Sonny Montgomery and Les Aspin, for example, sided with Mr. Reagan. He supported the nuclear freeze, which would have placed U.S. nuclear forces in permanent obsolescence just as the Soviet strategic nuclear forces were becoming most formidable. Mr. Kerry opposed the deployment of the INF missiles in Europe that Mr. Reagan successfully achieved. The ground-launched cruise missiles and Pershings based in England, Germany, Holland and Italy turned out to be one of the turning points of the Cold War, and hastened the end of the Soviet empire. Mr. Kerry was not only wrong on this critical issue, but opposed the non-strategic modernization of the defense budget as well. The purchase of additional C-5 airplanes by Mr. Reagan turned out to be critical to rescuing U.S. allies in trouble later in the decade — and Mr. Kerry was opposed to that as well.

  34. Kerry said:
    “We cannot fight communism all over the world, and I think we should have learned that lesson by now…”

    Quoting a Gulf War 1 Veteran, Lt. Smash:
    The victory of liberal democracy over communism was one of the greatest triumphs of the Twentieth Century. But in 1971, while thousands of American troops were still engaged on the battlefield, John Kerry was advocating retreat, if not outright surrender.

    I do not dispute Kerry’s right to speak out against a war that he believed to be immoral. But Kerry’s words, whether he realized it or not, gave comfort to our enemies, and were used as propaganda to break down the resistance of American prisoners of war.

  35. Big Difference.

    No difference. Cheney voted against the same weapons Kerry did, more often than Kerry did.

    The United States believes the Abu Hafs group lacks credibility…

    Naturally, Fox News desperate to discredit this group so that they can continue with their “terrorists love Kerry” rhetoric.

    Had Kerry been in charge of devising U.S. strategy against Communism, it would still exist.

    It still does exist, AT. Or maybe you’ve never heard of China?

    But don’t let me get in the way of your revisionist history, where Reagan is Superman and China never existed.

  36. You know, I really doubt the terrorists would love to see Kerry in office. I’m not sure if anyone has talked about this possible train of thought, but the arab world really hates Bush, alot. A whole hell of alot. If Kerry was elected they would still hate him, but not as much. This hatred is a major supplier of Al Qaeda recruitment. Also consider the Suspected Kerry foreign policy; eventual pull out from Iraq, continued “look the other way” policy with Iran, and less support for Israel. All these things are exactly what the Terrorsits use to rally supporters and gain donations to fight against Bush. Because Bush takes a stand on these isssues, the terrorists know that they can always “Rally the troops”. If Kerry came into office then perhaps these issues would fade away, and then what would the terrorists use to gain more funding and support? Keep in mind these are true radicals who regardless of what their short-term goals are, really want to destroy the US and the West. To do this they know that they need to keep their organization alive, and the best way to do it is to leave those in power those who know there is a war on and will take action, thus giving this a real “crusade” feel. Just a thought.

  37. Truthado: I’ve heard your argument before about how being so tough on terrorists helps the recruiting of terrorists, but I don’t buy that.

    One, estimates are that bin Laden trained about 20,000 terrorists in his Afghanistan camps during the 1990’s under Clinton: so it is clear that taking the “softer” approach leads to a good amount of terrorist recruitment and training…in fact, Clinton did everything he could to kiss up to Arafat.

    Two, bin Laden laid out the rule of success for terrorist recruiting himself (and he should know): he stated, rather famously, by now, that the people of the Middle East would go with the “strong horse” and abandon the “weak horse.” He said this as America failed to effectively fight back against terrorism in the 1990’s. In short, his view was the exact opposite of your thesis. He believes that America and the West showing strength against terrorism actually deters recruitment, whereas taking a less hard line aids recruitment. Considering that bin Laden is the one who should know about creating terrorists, I would rather take his word than your assumptions.

  38. Troop recruiting I think had a great boost more because nothing was done to stop it, rather than just because clinton had such a “sensitive” view on foreign affairs. I’m curious to know what the roster of Al Qaeda looks like right now at any of the camps that they run.

    Also an interesting thing that was discovered was that bin ladin’s organization was relatively cash strapped. It did not have unlimited funds at its disposal, (this is derived from emails seized from an Al Qaeda computer, from which the findings were published in the Atlantic, ) And how do terrorist organziations make more money? By succeding, or appearing to be the major terrorist force. Investors, or otherwise known as donators to terrorists groups, will donate to those that seem succesful, and none seem more succesful than Al qeada. The fact that Bush continues to hunt them down so relentlessly just aids that perception.

    Concerning your point about Bin Ladin’s rules, If you could furnish me with a copy of his statement I’d be much ablidged, because while you say its famous, it defintely hasn’t crossed my radar, although it does intrigue me. I’m curious to see how much of what he actually says proves that point, and how much is inference.

  39. Kerry wanted to kill all of our major weapons systems that we use today before they entered development in 1984. That is a fact.

    No, AT, that’s a lie. Kerry supported those weapons eleven separate times; well more than Cheney ever did.

    But the issue is not really Cheney’s record…it is Kerry’s.

    Yes. Kerry’s record in comparison to his opponents. Since Bush never served in the Senate, that means comparing him with Cheney.

    Next, it is interesting that you don’t mind citing Fox News as a source when it suits your interests, but when I use the very same article to disprove your argument, all of a sudden the very same source you cited becomes non-credible.

    Its facts are credible and objective, as all facts are. Its opinions and conclusions are suspect. Surely you can tell the difference between “fact” and “opinion”?

    Two, bin Laden laid out the rule of success for terrorist recruiting himself (and he should know): he stated, rather famously, by now, that the people of the Middle East would go with the “strong horse” and abandon the “weak horse.”

    Like so many statements in plain English, AT, you’ve misinterpreted this one to serve your purpose.

    Bin Laden is clearly referring to “horses” within the Muslim world. Al-Queda is the “strong horse” and civil Muslim government is the “weak horse.” None of that refers to the United States except as the enemy.

  40. Truthado: Your point about fighting back only creating more terrorists is an absurdity.

    Victor Davis Hanson wrote this in response to such an argument:
    Focus on the sheer historical ignorance of such sentiments. The tardy decision to fight back — whether in Britain in 1939 or the United States in 1941 — always carries with it the acceptance of greater short-term bloodletting and chaos in hopes of long-term security. Churchill was applauded for ending Chamberlain’s appeasement — and then nearly was sacked after Dunkirk, Singapore, and Tobruk defeats that all could have been avoided by submissively “dialoguing” with a Hitler or Tojo.

    Pearl Harbor was not immediately followed by victory at Midway, but rather first the shame and violence of Wake Island and the fall of the Philippines. Certainly, there was more, not less, killing inherent in America’s defiant decision on December 8, 1941.

    –end of quote—

    Consider your statement:”The fact that Bush continues to hunt them down so relentlessly just aids that perception.”

    So I guess that means we shouldn’t hunt down the terrorists relentlessly…how foolish.

    The liberals are being infantile to think there is some easy way to win the War on Terror. The reality is this: if we don’t fight back, the terrorists will definitely continue to come after us, and will continue to recruit successfully. If we do fight back, the terrorists will still want to strike us, and will continue to recruit. But at least we will have a chance.

    People like Kerry are trying to deceive the American public into thinking there is some easy way to win the War on Terror. In Kerry’s case, his easy way is the predictable easy way: largely ignore the problem. But that doesn’t make the problem go away, and only makes it worse.

    There is no easy, cost-free way to fight and win the War on Terror. It is immature to suggest otherwise.

  41. I beleive you are missing my point AT, perhaps it is my fault. I’m not against the war on terror, But I want it to be run better, not the way its been going. Bush, I feel, uses bin Ladin like a political boogey man, and thats wrong. By doing that, he increases the support for Al Qaeda. What I feel he should be doing is to brush aside Osama bin ladin, and stop announcing so much of what they are doing, and also to take the focus off of Al Qaeda leadership. The organization is far more regionalized by now, and we should be focusing on taking down cells, not ringleaders. Also by limiting the talk about terror, he removes it as an issue, which will eat away at the terrorist support base. If he focuses on other issues, the attention and supporters and funds will flow in that direction. Consider what the liberals have done in America. Many once Die Hard “The system is corrupt, Vote green” liberals are pushing extremely hard for Kerry’s election. Why? Because the political situation has changed since the 2000 election (Because of action taken by Bush), and they have responded accordingly. Similarly the Arab world would if the US and president Bush shifted public attention away from the war. Keep in mind though, I do not agree in ending the war. Far from it, in fact I probably believe in expanding it more the most do. But I believe we need to rely on and implement far, far more black ops, and use alot more economic pressure. Right now we have some black ops, but alot of grandified pr missions (see the hunt for osama), and a war that while important, is being so poorly managed its an eyesore. All these things are hurting us more the helping us.

  42. Truthado: Thanks for the clarification…sorry if I misunderstood you.

    However, I would still argue that your thesis is incorrect.

    First, I think in an open society the govt has a responsibility to keep the public informed on the most crucial issues, and certainly war is the most crucial issue. I don’t think it is even possible in our society for our govt to fight an aggressive war and keep that downplayed.

    I think the only thing any govt can do is be honest, and that is what Bush has been doing all along. As for making bin Laden a political boogey man, I think it is the Dems who have done that. I think the Bush team has gotten it right: we definitely want to bring him to justice, but he is not the whole of the terrorist problem. It is the Dems who want to narrowly and foolishly focus on just one person.

    I also think the President does need to continually emphasize the War on Terror because that is the only way to maintain the political support necessary to get the job done. Plus, the people of this country are crucial to preventing another terrorist attack; just having people be aware and on the lookout is an asset.

  43. Truthado: You mention that in your opinion we need more use of “black ops” in the War on Terror; but this begs a question: how do you know how many black ops we really have ongoing? Isn’t the nature of black ops that they are top secret? So your assumption that we don’t use enough black ops is just that: an assumption with no factual basis, just another urban myth circulating.

    I also do not believe Bush’s overt emphasis on the War on Terror has hurt us with the Arab world…on the contrary, I think they respect him for it and it has if anything helped us. Keep in mind the Arab world wasn’t exactly for us before the War on Terror…how many Arabs openly celebrated 9-11…the Arab world respects one thing most of all: strength, and the more Bush shows it the better. Plus, we now have a friendly govt in Iraq whereas before there was one openly hostile to us…big difference.

    As to why the liberals are so against Bush…that is largely because the Dems/Libs decided after the 2002 election results to use a scorched earth policy against Bush. They would be dead set against him regardless. They would be dead set against any Republican regardless.

    Your objections really come down to worrying more about certain people’s opinions and currying popularity than about substance. I understand the need for some of that, but there is a huge overemphasis of that among many. Better to do the right thing than not just for the cause of popularity. Remember, taking out Hitler in the 1930’s would not have been very popular, but it would have been the right thing to have done. Too bad no one listened to Churchill until it was too late to prevent WWII.

    Great leaders will always encounter opposition. Lincoln was hated and vilified in his day, and even the revolutionary war that won this country’s freedom was actually opposed by many colonists, and some think the majority of colonists. Churchill was dismissed when he warned of the danger of Hitler.

    Again, it is immature to worry about everyone’s opinion. A recipe for failure in life is too try to please everyone, and that is a recipe for failure as a nation as well.

  44. Truthado: another point comes to mind. This war cannot be won without using the military. And one cannot use the military without adequate political support, and that requires the president not downplay the issue, but be honest, as he has been.

    Black ops alone could not have brought down the Al Qaeda haven in Afghanistan, nor could they have liberated Iraq and begun a process of transformation in the Middle East.

    Unfortunately, many want to cling to some notion of fighting a clean, antiseptic type of war, but this is immature. There is no easy way to fight the war on terror, but fight we must, and that means often with the military. It is a dodge of responsibility to try to downplay the war on terror, or to be obsessed with public opinion in Arab countries. Not everything we did in WWII or in winning the Cold War was exactly popular; on the contrary, often being strong is unpopular, at least at first. Reagan brought the Cold War to an end by staring down the Soviet Union instead of buying into cozy ideas like the nuclear freeze, and this was unpopular with many. But thank goodness he persevered and didn’t worry about every demonstration in Europe or what every Soviet leader thought of him.

    Bush is doing what is necessary to really win the War on Terror, but like a doctor adminstering some unpleasant tasting medicine, it sometimes goes down with a bitter aftertaste. However, better to be treated properly and made well than to listen to a charlatan who would promise a bogus miracle cure with less pain while one wastes away. Kerry is such a charlatan, trying to convince us of an easy way out in the War on Terror.

  45. Learn to read with some sense, AT.

    “The United States believes the Abu Hafs group lacks credibility…”

    Who in the United States? Members of the current administration? Gosh, you don’t suppose they’d be desperate to distance these people from the “real” terrorists, now do you?

    I 1984 Kerry wanted to kill all of today’s modern weapons systems before they entered development. Cheney did not…check the votes.

    You check them. And then show me what you found. It’s your assertion, you substantiate it.

    As for the bin Laden statement…

    Ok, one of your cites is to a webpage that doesn’t exist, and your other is to a PDF that won’t load.

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