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Thursday, September 02, 2004

Kerry's rebuttal

John Kerry gave a speech at midnight tonight in Springfield Ohio soon after the end of the Republican convention. Here are a few of the things he had to say.

You all saw the anger and distortion of the Republican Convention. For the past week, they attacked my patriotism and my fitness to serve as Commander-in-chief. We'll, here's my answer. I will not have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they could have and by those who have misled the nation into Iraq. The Vice President called me unfit for office last night. Well, I'll leave it up to the voters to decide whether five deferments makes someone more qualified to defend this nation than two tours of duty.
A few days ago, John Kerry said, knowing what he knows now, he would have invaded Iraq. How then was the nation misled? I also am unaware of anyone questioning John Kerry's patriotism. They questioned his politics, and they questioned his judgement, but never his patriotism. Zell Miller and Dick Cheney made a strong case that John Kerry's votes show a weakness on defense and a misunderstanding of what it takes to defeat evil in the world. John Kerry could have responded by explaining those Senate votes. He could have said he was wrong, but given Sept. 11th he now has a very different attitude. Instead, he makes ad-hominim attacks against the President and the Vice-President for the choices they made about serving in Vietnam. This is the same John Kerry who defended Bill Clinton's draft dodging.
Let me tell you what I think makes someone unfit for duty. Misleading our nation into war in Iraq makes you unfit to lead this nation. Doing nothing while this nation loses millions of jobs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting 45 million Americans go without healthcare makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting the Saudi Royal Family control our energy costs makes you unfit. Handing out billions of government contracts to Halliburton while you're still on their payroll makes you unfit. That's the record of George Bush and Dick Cheney. And that only scratches the surface. I believe it's time to move America in a new direction; I believe it's time to set a new course for America. And together, you, John Edwards and I will do that on November 2nd. For four years, George Bush has stubbornly misled America and taken us in the wrong direction.
George Bush did not, I repeat, did not mislead the nation about Iraq. It is true that our intelligence about Saddam Hussein's existing stockpiles was wrong. We, along with the rest of the world, though he had stockpiles for a lot of good reasons. The Kay report contains evidence that Saddam thought he has stockpiles. Russia thought he had stockpiles. Britain, France, Germany and Israel thought he had stockpiles. Regardless of that, Saddam clearly wanted WMDs. He clearly was not adverse to dealing with terrorists. And he clearly hated America and was a threat to the region. John Kerry is right to think that the invasion of Iraq was a good idea. It is ironic, that after a convention that spent a lot of time talking about how often John Kerry flip-flops on Iraq, he appears to do it again the night the convention ends. Dick Cheney is not on Haliburton's payroll. He is recieving money from Haliburton still in the form of deferred payments on his salary from when he was working there but this money is fixed and unrelated to how well, or how poorly Haliburton does as a company. Here is what FactCheck.org has to say about the awarind of the no-bid contracts:
As for Halliburton, it's true the company is under investigation (by Bush's Pentagon) for a variety of allegations of possible overcharging in connection with the Iraq war. And it's also true that Vice President Richard Cheney once headed the company. But it is false to imply that Bush personally awarded a contract to Halliburton. The "no-bid contract" in question is actually an extension of an earlier contract to support US troops overseas that Halliburton won under open bidding. In fact, the notion that Halliburton benefitted from any cronyism has been poo-poohed by a Harvard University professor, Steven Kelman, who was administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy in the Clinton administration. "One would be hard-pressed to discover anyone with a working knowledge of how federal contracts are awarded . . . who doesn't regard these allegations as being somewhere between highly improbable and utterly absurd," Kelman wrote in the Washington Post last November.
As for letting the Saudi Family control oil prices...well..they do have a fair amount of influence on oil prices but they are certainly not the only factor. Regardless of that, is John Kerry proposing we invade Saudi Arabia and depose the royal family? There are some merits to that idea, but I think a better case than we want cheap oil should be made before anyone proposes war with another country. As for the jobs and healthcare stuff, well the economy is a complex thing and Presidents have only limited power to effect it. I wonder though, if John Edwards thinks his life so far has helped to lower the price of health care and thus make insurance affordable for more Americans. This is the final line of John Kerry's speech:
I believe we can be stronger at home - we can create jobs again, get health care costs under control, and make ourselves independent of Mid-East oil - but George Bush's policies won't get us there. And I believe we can be more respected in the world - but it won't happen with George Bush's arrogant, go-it-alone foreign policy.
I don't think I will spend the time to rebut any of this. You all know my feelings. But read his speech and decide for yourselves.


Blogger Jennifer said...

It's interesting that JK rarely touches the subject of his 20+ year history of voting in the Senate. As you mentioned, that is what is frequently brought into question by republicans. He seems to always defer to his service in Vietnam (and Bush's lack thereof) and how this somehow makes him fit for comand. Nevermind whether or not he lied about it or exaggerated(which is still up for debate); either way, his military service, combined with his condemnation of nearly everything the Bush administration has done, does not make him presidential material.

9/03/2004 07:50:00 AM  

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