Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Repost: Conceding a Point

[Note: the following is a column that will be featured in next week's Dicta, the law school student newspaper. Crocodile fans get the scoop]

Some John Kerry supporters argue that it is unfair to describe him as an unprincipled flip-flopping political opportunist with no moral compass. I’m ready to concede that point. Basically, in order to flip-flop on a position, one must first take a position. By definition, therefore, the vicious Republican attack machine must be wrong when it calls john Kerry a flip-flopper. With that in mind, and as a public service, I offer a run-down and harmonization of certain Kerry statements that may look like flip-flops, to the untrained eye, but which actually are not. I’m good that way.

Immediately after the conclusion of the Republican National Convention, Kerry called the war in Iraq "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time." Please note that you should not read this as inconsistent with his statement, weeks earlier, that he would have voted to give the president authority to go to war even if he had known there were no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. As the "flip-flopper" door is closed to us, we must conclude that John Kerry supports wars when they are wrong. I’m glad that’s clear.

Similarly, just because Kerry told a group of Jews that he supports the wall Israel is building, and then later told a group of Arabs that the wall is a bad thing, that doesn’t mean he is flip-flopping. It could simply mean that he fully supports the walls that violate international human rights. This shouldn’t be too surprising, coming from an admitted war criminal who did nothing to stop soldiers in Vietnam from committing war crimes in the manner of "Jinjiz Khan." Again, he’s not flip-flopping, he just supports very bad things.

Just because John Kerry is on record saying he supports gay marriage, and also on record saying he does not, that doesn’t mean he’s a flip-flopper. It just means he’s lying to at least one of his audiences.

Just because he wrote a letter to a constituent claiming he supported Gulf War I, and wrote a letter to the same constituent the next day saying he didn’t, that doesn’t mean he’s a flip-flopper. It means that one of the letters was written by a John Kerry from an alternate universe, and somehow it ended up here. See, the explanations are all perfectly reasonable, and no one needs to resort to using names like "flippy," "waffles," or "shameless panderer."Just because he said, reportedly with a straight face, that he "actually voted for the 87 billion, before I voted against it" doesn’t make him a flip-flopper. A moron, perhaps, but not a flip-flopper.
Finally, just because John Kerry proposes a trillion-dollar spending increase on his medical programs alone, and later claims he won’t increase taxes, and yet he criticizes the President for the budget deficit, that doesn’t mean he’s flip-flopping. It just means he can’t add.

So in conclusion, I will not stand idly by while vicious conservatives accuse John Kerry of flip-flopping. Just because all the available evidence seems to point that way doesn’t mean the accusations have any basis in reality. It just means you aren’t being creative enough.