Saturday, May 01, 2004

war and the flip flop

Okay, i'm getting pretty sick of hearing people repeat and repeat and repeat the same damned words about Kerry voting against the 1991 Iraq war and for the 2003 Iraq war.

Think about this for a second, people. I mean, really think. Why exactly is it more important for someone to vote the same way for two wars, twelve years apart, with radically different circumstances? Do we want a leader who can always be counted on to plumb for war as an answer to every ill, or do we want someone who actually weighs the current options and makes a decision based on the facts? Which sounds more reasonable, more responsible?

This matters. The republicans are drumming up every clever-sounding argument they can to paint Kerry as unreasonable and fickle--that's their job--but that doesn't mean people have to swallow it without putting a little thought into it.

And this is when I get so angry at the press. Its one thing for average people like you or me to take things at face value. We don't necessarily have the analytical equipment to understand the crossed wires behind the point. But the press do--or certainly should. Journalists get told a hundred distortions before breakfast by people trying to influence their message. How can they do their job without having some faculties for wading through the bunk?

And can we talk about the 87 billion vote, and Kerry's so-called "abandonment" of our troops? People based their arguments on the false premise that there could be only one vote on the issue. If you voted No you were consigning our troops to a purgatory without adequate equipment and supplies. But what actually would have happened, people? I mean in the real world?

Kerry and others advocated some reasonable accountability for the massive spending supplemental. Their admendment failed. But if the main vote on the supplemental bill had failed, Kerry and his colleagues would have had a much stronger bargaining position from which to fix some of the many major flaws of the bill.

This is a material point. Kerry is perhaps not highlighting it sufficiently, focusing on his amendment work before the main bill vote, mentioning vaguely that his no vote advocated more time to work on a bill that was being rushed through. Perhaps Kerry's people don't believe that average people can understand bargaining positions. If so, they are wrong.