Waffling: Kerry supported war — no he didn’t — yes he did ...Republicans are trying to convince voters that John Kerry waffles on the issues. That is, that he will take either side on the same question, depending on what his audience wants to hear. Kerry, a senator from Massachusetts, will be the Democratic nominee to run against Republican President George W. Bush unless something very unexpected happens, and the GOP is looking for ammo. They got some help during the Democratic primaries — back when Vermont Gov. Howard Dean was leading the race for the Democratic nomination — from a source not known for its conservatism: The New Republic magazine. A New Republic researcher, Josh Benson, turned up two letters that Kerry sent to a constituent, Wallace Carter of Newton Centre, on the same issue. The issue was whether the United States should have led a coalition to war against Iraq in 1991. Benson discovered that the New Republic had printed the letters under the headline “Same Senator, Same Constituent” 13 years earlier. This is the first letter to the constituent: “Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition ... to the early use of military force by the U.S. against Iraq. I share your concerns. On January 11, I voted in favor of a resolution that would have insisted that economic sanctions be given more time to work and against a resolution giving the president the immediate authority to go to war.” That letter was dated Jan. 22, 1991. Apparently Kerry and his aides didn’t remember it when they sent Carter another letter on Jan. 31, 1991. That letter read as follows: “Thank you very much for contacting me to express your support for the actions of President Bush in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. From the outset of the invasion, I have strongly and unequivocally supported President Bush’s response to the crisis and the policy goals he has established with our military deployment in the Persian Gulf.” If a politician is going to take both sides of an issue, he ought to keep track of his mail and at least be consistent in his letters to the same constituent.
Published in Editorials on March 11, 2004 11:15 AM