God forbid that an elected official actually admits a mistake.
God forbid that a politician actually takes a risky and courageous stand.
But that’s what John Kerry has done, and The New York Times hammered him for it in a nasty, ad hominem front-page story on June 21 entitled “On Iraq, Kerry Again Leaves Democrats Fuming.”
What Kerry has called for is withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq within the next year.
For this, Kate Zernike of The New York Times makes Kerry out to be a spoiler.
Here are some of the disparaging words from the paragraphs that appeared on the front page, not attributed to any Senator;
“the latest evolution of Kerry’s views”—as if they’re always evolving (you know, flip flopper);
“a frustration with Kerry”;
“Kerry, never popular among the caucus, and still unpopular among many Democrats” for failing to beat Bush;
“too focused on the next Presidential campaign”;
“more politics than principle”;
“insistence on pushing ahead with his own plan”;
“left the Democrats divided, and open to renewed Republican accusations that they are indecisive and weak—the same ridicule that Republicans heaped on Kerry in 2004.”
Well, let’s look at what Kerry did to deserve this barrage.
He acknowledged the errors of his ways on Iraq. “Most members of Congress, myself included, share some responsibility for getting us into Iraq,” he said on June 2. “We’ve got to take responsibility for getting us out.”
To me, that’s refreshing.
So he introduced legislation calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq by December 31, 2006.
That’s about time. And it’s the exact date that Senator Russ Feingold had proposed last year. Feingold and Kerry are co-sponsors of these withdrawal resolutions.
When their colleagues balked at December 31, Kerry agreed to amend the withdrawal date to July 1, 2007.
That’s not exactly “pushing ahead with his own plan.”
And if you want to talk about being more concerned with “politics than principle,” check out the Democratic leadership on this issue. They’re too scared to stick their necks out on the biggest moral issue of our day!
Like John Murtha, he sees the moral dimension quite clearly.
“Half the names on the Vietnam Memorial wall were added after America’s leaders knew our strategy would not work,” Kerry said on April 6. “It was immoral then and it would be immoral now to engage in the same delusion. You and I have to do everything in our power to stop that from happening again.”
Kerry knows full well how Karl Rove and the right will respond.
“For speaking the truth, the right wing and their surrogates will question our courage and commitment,” he said. “They’re going to question our patriotism.”
It is just this fear of being questioned that has many Democratic Senators running for cover. How that amounts to standing on principle is beyond me.
John Kerry is not going to be the Democratic nominee in 2008.
And he did run a bad campaign in 2004, and his position on the war back then was shameful.
But now he’s finally answered the war question correctly.
And no amount of sneering and sniveling by other Senate Democrats—or by the Kate Zernikes of this world—can take that away from him.