Bush the Mocker

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This Reuters account, via Drudge, quotes Bush "mocking" Kerry's flip-floppery over the war in Iraq to a Pensacola, Florida audience:

"Now, almost two years after he voted for the war in Iraq, and almost 220 days after switching positions to declare himself the anti-war candidate, my opponent has found a new nuance," Bush said. "After months of questioning my motives and even my credibility, Sen. Kerry now agrees with me."

Kerry has himself lobbed some nastiness Bush's way. If this sort of thing keeps up (or, better yet, intensifies), the presidential debates may well shape up as the most anticipated on-air confrontation since Howard Stern faced off against Larry King while shilling for hawking the movie version of Private Parts in 1997.

Update: The language police (taking the shape of one Tim Cavanaugh) have warned me that my use of shill above is incorrect. Shills are audience plants, so technically you can't shill for your own product. Many apologies offered, in the hopes that one will be accepted.

NEXT: Creating Wealth in Afghanistan

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  1. Even if I knew nothing else about Kerry or Bush, I would admire Kerry for the fact that pretty much anybody who wants to can attend his campaign speeches, whereas in order to enter a Bush-Cheney campaign whistle stop you have to sign some terrifyingly Orwellian “loyalty oath” insisting that you support Bush.

  2. “But I read what Kerry said, and I didn’t see him saying he agreed with Bush about going to war.” He did not agree with Bush about going to war. There are positions other than those put forth by Dick Cheney and by International ANSWER, you know.

    “He just said he would have have went to war even if there were no WMD’s.” Actually, he said he would have voted for the use of force authorization even if he’s known that that there were no WMDs. Iraq was at least a thorn in our side and a miserable dictatorship, and could plausibly have become a genuine threat in the future. Carrying a big stick was a good idea, and having a credible threat to back up our position was a good idea. The fact that John Kerry takes heat for this position from both the bloodthirsty right and the pacifist left goes down as a recommendation in my book.

  3. Shannon,

    Your comment about the nuclear freeze movement is a guilt by association fallacy (note that SWVT accuse their detractors of the same thing because they point out Republican funding of their operation).

    “He voted against authorizing force for the first gulf war in ’91, preferring to let sanctions and diplomacy work.”

    From this you JUMP to the conclusion that he would have perferred a permanent sanctions regime; do demonstrate that he indeed did perfer such. Really, you’re smarter than this.

  4. loyalty oath” insisting that you support Bush.

    Comment by: Jennifer

    Get the the facts straight before you make wild eyed leftist comments. They were asked to sign an endorsement not a loyalty oath. So check out a Websters Dictionary to find out the difference.

    I think it was dumb to ask people to sign anything. The only defense they have is that it was an indoor event and there was limited seating and the event billed as a rally for the faithful.

    Hereis what they were asked to sign: An endorsement form provided to the Journal by Random says: “I, (full name) … do herby (sic) endorse George W. Bush for reelection of the United States.” It later adds that, “In signing the above endorsement you are consenting to use and release of your name by Bush-Cheney as an endorser of President Bush.”

  5. It seems to me that, in effect, Kerry’s new campaign slogan is “Just like Bush, only better!”

  6. Frankly, I don’t hold it against a politician for giving it the ol’ college try one more time before sending American troops into harms way – especially since the best casualty estimates at the time put the number of American deaths north of 10,000.

    Comment by: joe

    And you should not hold it against Bush for going to war after going to the UN several times. The case could be made that Bush gave it the old college try more than once.

  7. I suppose it could, but not very convincingly. As the inspectors were saying they were doing good work, making progress, and would have an answer soon, Bush declared Saddam to be in breach of blah blah blah, and started the war.

    You know that war – the one they started gearing up for on September 14?

  8. FWG-
    Forgive my hyperbole. Fact remains, Kerry apparently is not afraid to have people who disagree with him in the audience, whereas Bush is.

  9. Joe – You know that war – the one they started gearing up for on September 14?

    Somewhere you have to draw a line in the sand. There was no indication Saddam, the UN, France, Germany or Russia were going to change their positions. So using the Kerry model you would never go to war, just talk until you get attacked again.

    No one can show any evidence that Saddam would comply or that anyone else would be willing to make him comply. We were in direct military conflict with Iraq for 10 years with no change. It is a political cheap shot to say that Bush did not try to get UN support or Saddam to comply.

  10. Jennifer-

    Before we assume that Kerry is so much more open to opposing views, keep in mind that during the DNC non-violent protestors were herded into a barbed wire “free speech zone”. Kerry may not have had a direct hand in it, but one would think that at his convention in his home state he could have done something to allow freer protest.

  11. Re: Evan Williams – Bush Flip/flops

    I’m surprised (a little) that no news media have yet looked at Bush’s flip/flop record as Governor of my own Texas. I seem to remember, way back 96-98 way several reports like:

    ‘Today Gov. Bush’s office replied to reporters questions about his White house ambitions by stating releasing the following statement: “I intend to serve the State of Texas, I mean that I have no interest in seeking a higher office than that of Texas Governor.”‘ [highly approximated, not a direct quote of any source].

    These denials went on even during the ’98 gubernatorial election, with Bush denying any interest in the requests by ‘influential’ Republicans that he seek to challenge Gore in 2000. I remember distinctly somewhen in 98-99 that Bush was quoted as intending to serve out his full term as Governor of Texas before considering any other elective office.

    I think that that was when I started mis-believing statements of fact and intent from the Bush camp. Especially after his flip/flop to enter the 2000 Presidential race.

  12. FWG,

    Your remarks are based on the presumption that U.S. was indeed under threat from attack by Iraq; but aside from useless potshots taken at U.S. aircraft flying missions over the no-fly zones and the occassional U.S. air strike, no military hostilities existed between the U.S. and Iraq. However, there is absolutely no evidence that a credible threat existed. Now one can spin yarns about possible threats, but the fact remains there have never been any plans found (that I am aware of at least) for an Iraqi attack on the U.S.

    Now, you could certainly argue that Iraq was a potential future threat to the U.S. under Saddam’s regime, but that’s entirely different from the notion that you imply.

  13. Fat White Guy, my reference was not to the debate at the UN. On September 14, 2001, Donald Rumsfeld circulated a memo around the Pentagon recommending that we take action not only against “OBL,” but also against “SH.”

    Bush was not trying to avoid a war in Iraq – he was determined to have one, two years before he even began bothering to pretend that he wanted another solution.

  14. Thoreau-
    I’m not saying Kerry is an angel (although I have a feeling that the RNC will make the DNC look like a free-speech Utopia); I am simply saying that a leader who is willing to let those opposed to him visit his campaign stops is better than a leader who requires American citizens to testify to their political allegiance in writing before listening to him speak.

    If Fat White Guy has a reason why this is wrong, I would be interested in hearing it.

  15. Now, you could certainly argue that Iraq was a potential future threat to the U.S. under Saddam’s regime, but that’s entirely different from the notion that you imply.

    Comment by: Gary Gunnels

    Since pretty much everybody at the time.(including Kerry) believed that Iraq had WMD’s and was proven capable of using them. That was a real threat and the possbility that Saddam would pass weapons on to others was a real threat. Under the information available at the time I am not implying anything.

  16. FWG,

    Who paid for this “rally for the faithfull” where only citizens who endorse “W” for reelection are permitted? And must be one of the “faithfull?”

  17. If Fat White Guy has a reason why this is wrong, I would be interested in hearing it.

    Comment by: Jennifer

    Is Kerry the same free speech advocate that muzzled the speakers at the DNC so middle America would not see the true colors of the Democratic party.

    I already stated what they did in New Mexico was dumb. It was also done by a local party hack and not by Cheney. You might check Webster’s again. Allegiance and endorsement are as far apart as loyalty and endorsemnet. You lose credibility when you do things like that. It makes you wonder what else has been modified to suit your purpose.

  18. Who paid for this “rally for the faithfull” where only citizens who endorse “W” for reelection are permitted? And must be one of the “faithfull?”

    Comment by: Domini Blogimi

    The RNC did.

  19. Serious question: for those of you who think the Iraq war was a good thing for various reasons (i.e. getting rid of a murderous dictator who could possibly maybe someday pose a threat to the US), is there a single justification for war with Iraq that doesn’t apply even more strongly to North Korea?

    Even if one accepts that we have the right and the manpower to rid the world of all dangerous evils, shouldn’t Kim Jong-Il have been given priority over Saddam Hussein? Millions of people starving to death or being otherwise murdered by their government, nuclear weapons which we know for a fact exist, same level of responsibility for 9-11. . . .

    I do not mourn the lost reign of Hussein, but even apart from the administration’s lies about this I feel it’s a luxury we can’t currently afford until AFTER we handle more pressing issues.

  20. FWG-
    I fully agree with you about the DNC, as I have already stated, and I admire your Flaubertian dedication to le mot juste, which I don’t have when posting on a casual blog. But I must point out that the forced endorsement wasn’t a limited one-time event from this administration.

    I will repeat my original question in slightly different words: is it improper to say that in a democracy, a leader who won’t listen to questions from people unless they first endorse him might not be as good as a leader who will listen to constituents who have not yet been screened for proper political affiliations?

  21. Jennifer – is there a single justification for war with Iraq that doesn’t apply even more strongly to North Korea

    There are several. N.Korea already has nuclear weapons and China is willing to help reign in N.Korea. Also the N.Koreans are extremely poor and sanctions would be more effective with them. Since unlike Iraq they would not have France, Germany and Russia selling them things under the table since they have no money.

  22. I’ve been waiting for Kerry to explain his part in writing the president a blank check for war. Looks like it just might happen.

  23. Stern and King are anticipated.
    Kerry and Bush are dreaded.

  24. pigwiggle, he’s been s’plainin’ it for months….you see, he voted to go to war “the right way” with “a plan to win the peace” and with “our int’l alliances intact.”

    I doubt Kerry can top Gore’s desperation debate move of walking over to Bush’s podium and standing a few feet away from Dubya, as if trying to precipitate a physical confrontation.

  25. Good god, is this “flip-flop” thing the best that Bush can do? Hey, yo, Karl, time for a NEW SCHTICK! It’s like Jeff Foxworthy getting stuck on that “You might be a redneck if…” crap.

    You might be a flip-flopper if….

    Kerry seems to be even more inpet, failing to point out all of Bush’s flippedy-flops. One of the funniest things I have ever seen was a piece on The Daily Show awhile back, where they put recent clips of Bush up against Bush clips from the 2000 campaign. Everything he said before the election was completely contradictory to the things he said afterwards. Man, it was really like a true debate!

    Bush should be careful. Richard Cohen already slapped the “flip-flopper” thing right back in Bush’s face. If he’s not careful, more people are gonna catch on. Not to overuse the glass house mantra or anything, but, George, ix nay on the ip-flop-flay.

    Though, it seems Bush-supporters have been showing up at kerry rallies with flip-flop sandals. Clever bunch. WHat I’d love to see is, during the debates, the candidates start whacking each other in the head with flip-flops. At least, then, they’d be good for something other than stealing my money and forking it over to whichever voting bloc is the flavor of the week.

  26. Why doesn’t the Kerry campaign just buy and air the Daily Show’s Bush vs. Bush debate and then finish it off with “Who is the flip flopper now?”

    Bush has flip flopped just as much, stem cells and nation building as examples, as Kerry in the past 4 years, why hasn’t the Kerry camp called him on it?

  27. This election is going to suck.

  28. I second that, rst.

  29. You can’t call that a ‘flip-flop’ if he says one thing in 2000 and then something different in 2004. To do so is to ignore a little event that happened in 2001, of which you may or may not be aware. Bush and the republicans aren’t criticizing kerry for changing his mind, they’re criticizing him for not having any core beliefs. They call kerry a flip flopper because in their eyes he changes his position in issues so that he’ll please whoemver he’s talking to. It’s one thing if a candidate at one point says he’s against a securtiy fence in Israel and then, several years later say the opposite. It’s another if he says to a group of jews in New York that he supports the fence, and then says to a group of arabs in chicago that he’s against it, in the span of a couple of months. That’s the charge against kerry. He seems to be against the war when it’s politically advantageous to him, and when it’s not, he’s for the war. You’re not going to see bush changing with the political winds – he doesn’t seem to care at all what the american people think. He just does what he thinks is best.

  30. Bush likes to put words into people’s mouths. Kerry doesn’t agree with him. Kerry said that presidential powers include the power to manage our military, and that’s what he was voting on.

    Personally, I think he was ALSO voting to wipe out a source of WMD, which it turns out didn’t exist.

    But I read what Kerry said, and I didn’t see him saying he agreed with Bush about going to war.

    But it’s interesting the Administration is trying to focus only on a very small number of issues, because they know on absolutely everything else, they’re going to get rightfully creamed.

  31. they know on absolutely everything else, they’re going to get rightfully creamed.

    Where is this creaming going to come from? I still haven’t seen any evidence that Kerry would make a good commander in chief. Just about the only thing that Kerry has been advertising is that Bush is *not* a good commander in chief. Thanks for the heads up, Live Shot. And thank you for reminding us that your parties both stick it to us without the KY…if you don’t vote for one, you’re invariably stuck with the other.

    This election is not about issues. It is about who is and is not Bush.

  32. joe is right – it IS true Kerry left himself wiggle-room by only explaining his authorization vote, without saying whether he would have gone to war on the then-available intel…or in any other scenario. Which leaves us, of course, with still no clear view of what sort of President Kerry would make –

    apart that he would bring all the expertise you might expect from a junior officer who spent four months on a small boat, three decades ago,with a hazy recollection of where he was SEARED in his mind forever.

    joe would add that Kerry would never be “stupid” or “incompetant”, where Bush may seem to have been…and I have no idea how joe comes by this certitude.

  33. That was Joe, not me.

    I come by my certitude about Kerry’s capacity to be a good president, and a strong CinC, from watching his performance over the past 20 years as my Senator. Teddy, I might have a few qualms about installing Teddy in the White House, but John Kerry has always impressed me as a guy who’s both thoughtful and hard-headed, and whose expertise is in foreign relations and national security issues.

  34. 20 years as your Senator, that says is all, bub.

  35. Mark,
    What about opposing CFR and then signing the bill? Or opposing the AWB but intending on signing it if it reaches his desk? The Kerry-esque straddle on stem cells?

    I understand that this is part of the political process and both sides are guilty of it, but if you’re going to call the kettle black, make sure you’re not a pot.

  36. Mo,

    The 9-11 Commission – its creation, testimony by Rice, release of the PDBs, testimony by the President himself (well, not really himself…)

  37. Loved the Bush vs. Bush segment!

  38. joe (joepboyle@hotmail.com),

    “I come by my certitude about Kerry’s capacity to be a good president, and a strong CinC, from watching his performance over the past 20 years as my Senator.”

    Lets see.

    Kerry supported the unilateral nuclear freeze movement in the early 80’s At the end of the Cold War, the freeze turned out to be an idea planted and monetarily supported (in Europe at least) by Soviet Intelligence. It’s defeat was recognized by former Soviet policy makers as one of the straws that broke the back of the U.S.S.R.

    In the 80’s he voted against the repeal of the windfall profits tax on domestically produced oil. The repeal of the tax contributed to a catastrophic drop in the price of oil that (1) Drove Bush’s oil field service company into bankruptcy (2) Broke the back the OPEC cartel (3) cut off the last source of hard currency for the USSR and sent it into it’s economic death spiral.

    He voted against authorizing force for the first gulf war in ’91, preferring to let sanctions and diplomacy work. With the benefit of 12 years hindsight experience with Saddam and sanctions and diplomacy, we can say safely that the most likely outcome for that policy would have been a nuclear armed Iraqi-Kuwaiti superstate parked on top of the lion’s share of the worlds petroleum resources and widely admired throughout the Arab world for it’s ability to stare down the U.S. and other Western powers.

    Had Kerry not been defeated at nearly every turn in his foreign policy goals the world today would be a much more dangerous place.

    Kerry is very intelligent and hard headed but like many such people it does him no good because his fundamental model of foreign relations and economics is profoundly flawed.

  39. joe,
    Not to mention the DHS. He was against it before he was for it. I could go on, but I don’t have the time or desire.

    Shannon,
    You bring up good points regarding Kerry’s foreign policy creds. Heck, even Dean supported GWI.

  40. I don’t expect people who oppose John Kerry for being a liberal to have their minds changed. My comment referred to his character and abilities, and was an attempt to point out that I draw my conclusions about those traits from observing him do his job for two decades, not from b.s. ads (pro and con) about his Vietnam service, or from self serving statements by the two campaigns.

  41. Joe – But I read what Kerry said, and I didn’t see him saying he agreed with Bush about going to war.

    Kerry has been Bush-lite on Iraq. The only difference is he would have gotten France and Germany on board and since when do we need them to have an international coalition. He just said he would have have went to war even if there were no WMD’s.

  42. Shannon, the Soviets also gave financial support to groups working on voting rights for black peole in the South. The fact that they latched onto certain movements in the United States is irrelevant to the validity of those issues.

    I think you, and Soviet officials, overestimate the importance of external pressure in the collapse of the Soviet Union, and underestimate the degree to which communism was doomed to fail on its own – both for your own distinct ideological reasons.

    Finally, your assumption that Kerry would have supported a permanent sanctions strategy, rather than a finite extension of the sanctions regime, is contradicted by his statements at the time. Frankly, I don’t hold it against a politician for giving it the ol’ college try one more time before sending American troops into harms way – especially since the best casualty estimates at the time put the number of American deaths north of 10,000.

  43. FWG,

    You are wrong to state that “everyone” agreed that Saddam had WMD prior to the invasion. The Bush administration claimed that they did, but neither Hans Blix or his organization, nor other countries like Germany or France, backed up this view. Indeed, they stated that he might have such weapons, but that their existance had not been demonstrated (indeed, if they had been one wonders why Blix wanted to continue inspections to find some). Sorry, but your narrative simply does not jive with reality.

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