Friday, October 01, 2004

Entitled "Fact Check," the Times runs a post-debate feature designed to evaluate the consistency of Kerry's position on the war and Bush's charge of flip-flopping.

The conclusion:

...a review of Mr. Kerry's public statements found that his position had been quite consistent. But as the politics changed, Mr. Kerry repeatedly changed his emphasis. News accounts reflected what he was emphasizing at the time. And Mr. Kerry was often unclear in expressing his views.

Since well before the presidential campaign began, Mr. Kerry has maintained that Saddam Hussein was a menace and that removing him from power was a worthy goal. He has said that the president needed the authority to use troops in Iraq.

But Mr. Kerry has also said that Mr. Bush should not have gone to war without exhausting all diplomatic alternatives and without mobilizing international support...

...before he voted to give Mr. Bush the authority to use force in Iraq, he declared on the Senate floor: "I will support a multilateral effort to disarm him by force, if we ever exhaust those other options, as the president has promised, but I will not support a unilateral U.S. war against Iraq unless that threat is imminent and the multilateral effort has not proven possible under any circumstances."
The article then launches into 12 paragraphs - 12! - detailing the various curves John Kerry's position went through over the past year. I won't quote them here because the Times treatment of the issue grates on my nerves, but they are full of long unedited Kerry quotes elaborating each aspect of the above quote. This is supposed to show poor consistency on Kerry's part.

For the life of me, I can't understand the thrust of this piece - Kerry is consistent but he doesn't say the same thing in the same words every day? Imagine that. His emphasis depends on the news? You mean that when that statue of Saddam Hussein fell Kerry struck a different note than when it became clear that Iraq had no WMDs? Wow!


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