07/17/2004: The incomparable Bob Somerby over at The Daily Howler
has been making a point that I've not been hearing the SCLM making lately, as King George the Prevaricator is out on the campaign trail, making his base and contemptible charge that Senator Kerry didn't "support the troops" because he voted against one version of the Iraq appropriations bill. Kerry himself, talking to morning talkmeister Don Imus, provided his own masterful defense:
Employing his familiar "but-I-scanned-the-headlines-last-Tuesday" approach, Imus asked Kerry a tired old question about that tired $87 billion:Kerry was right about Bush, of course. Bush had been out there enjoying good laughs as he misled the rubes about the $87 billion. After all, he, George Bush, had said he would veto the $87 billion if it passed in the form he opposed! But now—having threatened the veto the money himself—Bush was telling the rubes they should be disturbed because Kerry opposed one form of the bill, just exactly the way Bush had! Did Kerry “vote against the troops?” If so, Bush had said he would do the same thing! Readers, how big an H do you have in your file, to put at the start of “Big Hypocrite?”In case basic rationality escapes you, let Bob set it out in alphabet blocks:IMUS: I do find myself in the position of talking to people like Zell Miller and an unfortunate conversation I had with Orrin Hatch yesterday in which...they bring up these uncomfortable issues like, for example, both of you supporting the war in Iraq and then the president yesterday making fun of you, Senator Kerry, for your having said that you first voted for the $87 billion and then against it, and I feel foolish--At this point, Kerry broke in--but yes, his host had every right to feel foolish. There he was, mouthing tired old cant, in this case about the tired old vote on that tired old $87 billion. But what a superlative answer by Kerry! Imus was right--Bush had been out on the trail, churning Big Laughs at Kerry’s expense while fooling the rubes on a wide range of issues (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 7/15/04). To Imus, of course, this all made perfect sense. But Kerry cut him off--and took umbrage:KERRY: You know, Don, it’s so simple for the president to joke about very serious issues when young kids are dying because he didn’t make a plan to win the peace in Iraq. And I take that very personally as somebody who fought in a war which he chose not to...Ouch! As Kerry continued, he explained some of the tired old facts about that tired old “issue.” Here’s where he ended up:KERRY: When say I voted for it, I was willing to vote for the $87 billionproviding we paid for it! Providing we asked Americans to sacrifice, all of us together. So Joe Biden and I...brought an amendment to say, Hey America—rather than have a $690 billion tax cut for everybody over the next ten years who are earning over $200,000, why don’t we take just $600 billion, and that way we pay for the war right up front and not add it to the deficit. Guess what? George Bush said no. The Republicans said no. And what they’re doing is trying once again to mislead America as they do so effectively, make a joke out of something that’s serious.
YOU HAVE TO INCLUDE IT: Let’s review the key, basic point: You can’t discuss Bush’s attacks on Kerry’s vote without mentioning his own veto threat.Because it works both ways. If Kerry "isn't supporting the troops" because of his opposition to one version of an Iraq appropriations bill, then Bush "isn't supporting the troops" either when he threatens to veto another version which appropriates the same amount of money, but proposes to pay for the appropriations upfront (a truly fiscally responsible notion, it seems to me) instead of charging it to the "Republicard" credit account and leaving it to our children to pay for later, as Bush seems to prefer.
Len on 07.17.04 @ 08:14 PM CST