A clean sweep…for Bush


Oct. 21, 2004, midnight | By Armin Rosen | 15 years, 8 months ago

Debate victories for Kerry do not really matter


Let's see how well you know your presidential election history. Who won the first debate in 1996? The second debate in 1988? The third in 1980? Of course you have no idea, because debates don't really matter.

Unless, of course, one of the candidates does something totally ludicrous, like look at their watch or groan or deny that the Soviets control Eastern Europe. Thus, we should not judge the three run-ins between President George W. Bush and Senator John F. Kerry on such arbitrary criterion as "command of the facts" or "appearing presidential." Rather, we should judge them based on who made the fewest statements that could potentially jeopardize their candidacy.

The closest Bush came to achieving the level of campaign-killing lunacy matched by the likes of Gore, Ford, and, well, the first Bush, was when he said that he didn't know if homosexuality was a choice. But this was in response to a manipulative question; a "yes" or "no" answer to whether homosexuality is a choice appears close-minded, while a "maybe" puts the respondent in an uncomfortable limbo between homophobia and ignorance.

The President said very few things that could change the election. The Senator did. And they are:

"And in order to have the best intelligence in the world to know who the terrorists are and where they are and what they're plotting, you've got to have the best cooperation you've ever had in the world.

Now, to go back to your question, Nikki, we're not getting the best cooperation in the world today. We've got a whole bunch of countries that pay a price for dealing with the United States of America now. I'm going to change that.
And I'm going to put in place a better homeland security effort."
-John F. Kerry, second debate

Terrorists do not discriminate as far as targets are concerned; they have attacked European countries like Spain and Turkey, and Moslem countries like Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. Every country in the world has an incentive for joining the war on terrorism, because terrorism threatens every country in the world.

And yet Kerry is misguided enough to insinuate that countries "pay a price" for participating in U.S.-led efforts against global terrorism, as if association with the United States is somehow synonymous with the violence and bloodshed that such a relationship aims to halt.

Furthermore, to say this with the terrorist attack on the Australian embassy in Indonesia still fresh in people's minds is to allege that the attack was somehow a result of the U.S.-Australian alliance. I guess in Kerry's world, President Bush and Australian Prime Minister John Howard, and not Osama Bin Ladin were responsible for the deaths of nine Australians.

"I'm not going to appoint a judge to the court who's going to undo a constitutional right, whether it's the First Amendment, or the Fifth Amendment, or some other right that's given under our courts today -- under the Constitution. And I believe that the right of choice is a constitutional right."
-John F. Kerry, third debate

Kerry won't appoint a justice who will "undo a constitutional right;" he believes abortion is a constitutional right, thus any judged opposed to it will not be appointed to the Supreme Court. The very fact that Kerry somehow associates the right to choose with the Constitution only goes to show that he, unlike president Bush, would have a litmus test for choosing a Supreme Court justice.

Keep in mind also that before the president takes office, he or she must vow to "uphold, protect, and defend the constitution." Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that a woman has the right to terminate a fetus en utero. Plain and simple, it's not an enumerated right.

"We're all God's children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as. (emphasis added)

I think if you talk to anybody, it's not choice. I've met people who struggled with this for years, people who were in a marriage because they were living a sort of convention, and they struggled with it."
-John F. Kerry, third debate

This quote just begs to be examined in context, because, in context, it adds nothing to the Senator's answer. This reference to Mary Cheney is totally gratuitous. So what motivated Kerry to mention Cheney's sexual preference?

Could it be that he's trying to turn homophobic cultural conservatives against the vice president? If this is the case, John Kerry's not the kind of man the American people should want to have as president.

"I know exactly what we need to do in Iraq, and my position has been consistent: Saddam Hussein is a threat. He needed to be disarmed. We needed to go to the U.N. The president needed the authority to use force in order to be able to get him to do something, because he never did it without the threat of force." (emphasis added; Kerry is stating his justification for voting to authorize force)
-John F. Kerry, first debate

"He made a mistake in invading Iraq."
-John F. Kerry, second debate

Kerry said explicitly in the second quote that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake. Yet only one debate earlier, he conceded that 1) Saddam Hussein was a threat, and 2) an invasion or the possibility of an invasion was the way to alleviate that threat.

We know from the Duelfer report that Saddam Hussein had figured out ways to circumvent the UN sanctions used to minimize an Iraqi threat, since the report says that Iraq's trade in illicit materials including weapons had increased "exponentially" between the advent of the UN oil-for-food program in 1996 and the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Now remember prior to the Iraq invasion how the United States had over 200,000 troops along Iraq's southern border? Was this not a "threat of force"? And did Saddam Hussein budge when faced with the possibility of a U.S. invasion? No. The invasion was inevitable because the threat from Iraq was not going away despite the best efforts of the United States and the greater international community. Thus, by Kerry's logic, the invasion was necessary as well as justified.

Funny the difference a week and a half can make.

"No president, through all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America.

But if and when you do it, Jim, you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons."
-John F. Kerry, first debate

Kerry prefaces his internationalist philosophy for preemptive war with a disclaimer stating his philosophy on preemptive war is not internationalist.
This is a contradictory statement, and it should leave people confused as to what a president Kerry would do if faced with a threat from a rouge regime.

"With respect to North Korea, the real story: We had inspectors and television cameras in the nuclear reactor in North Korea. Secretary Bill Perry negotiated that under President Clinton. And we knew where the fuel rods were. And we knew the limits on their nuclear power."
-John F. Kerry, first debate

Read this detailed chronology of the North Korean nuclear program compiled by the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, and judge for yourselves how absurd this statement is. The chronology shows that the inspections had broken down as early as 1996, and that all semblance of nuclear transparency was gone by the end of the Clinton presidency.

More worrisome still is that this quote is an endorsement of those very policies that lead to the breakdown of weapons inspections during Clinton's presidency. So much for learning from history.

Kerry made other very questionable comments during the debates, but none of them provide the insight into how John Kerry plans on running the country that these quotes do.

Let's hope he never gets the opportunity.




Armin Rosen. Armin is a Seeeeenyor in the Communication Arts Program. "I am a journalist and, under the modern journalist's code of Olympian objectivity (and total purity of motive), I am absolved of responsibility. We journalists don't have to step on roaches. All we have to do … More »

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