John F. Kerry's statement that his previous vote in support for the war was a "mistake" is earning him justifiable scorn. The Washington Times editorializes:
John Kerry's sorriest moment, until now, sounded like this: "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it." But this week he has arguably outdone that equivocation.
"It is essential to acknowledge that the war itself was a mistake," the Massachusetts Democrat told a crowd of cheering leftists Tuesday at the "Take Back America" conference in Washington. "It was wrong, and I was wrong to vote for that Iraqi war resolution." He called on President Bush to withdraw all troops from Iraq by the end of the year. Sen. Hillary Clinton disagreed and was booed. Thus, Mr. Kerry, in his bid to remake himself as the antiwar partisan his liberal base has wanted all along, has flip—flopped his way to an even bigger self—contradiction than the one that did him in two years ago.
This is just too convenient. The supposed change of heart comes at the very moment President Bush's polling numbers ticked up on news of terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi's death; at the very moment an Iowa poll places Mr. Kerry behind John Edwards among Democratic voters there for 2008; at the moment other Democratic hopefuls like Mrs. Clinton are being called formidable by Republican commentators; at the moment John Kerry is being written off as a has—been among presidential contenders.
Consistency has never been Mr. Kerry's strong suit, but this is exceptional. We don't know whether the actions are sheerly cynical or a cynical calculation coupled with colossal bumbling.
Martin Peretz of The New Republic blogged:
John Kerry can be trumped by just about anybody. But today, the titular leader of the Democratic Party was trumped by Mitch McConnell, consummate cynic and the second—ranking Republican in the U.S. Senate. Kerry had announced that he would soon offer a measure requiring the administration to withdraw almost all of the American troops now in Iraq by the end of the year. What was in the tactical side of his brain when he made this pronunciamento before he had figured out the details of his proposal? Well, a way to get headlines, I suppose. But every time Kerry speaks about Iraq you are almost automatically reminded of his seriatim record which shows that he was all over the place on the matter. I was for it before I was against it or I was against it before I was for it. No matter. Well, instead of waiting for Kerry to even file his bill, McConnell engineered a vote on its essence. Ninty—three senators voted against it, showing that a huge majority of Democrats are wary of, if not actually against, a pull—out. Six senators voted in the affirmative, Kerry and his Massachusetts teammate Ted Kennedy, Russell Feingold (who, like Kerry, has unrealistic ambitions to be president), Barbara Boxer, Tom Harkin, and Robert C. Byrd, whose motives on everything are always suspect. Which tells you that for all their ragging against Bush's war, as they term it, even the Democratic Party isn't for a withdrawal from the field. Of course, this does not bode well for Kerry's perpetual aspirations to be president. But nothing else does either.
Contributor Rick Moran minced no words at Rightwing Nuthouse:
If there were any doubts as to whether the best man won the election for President in 2004, they were dispelled by the announcement by once and future candidate John Kerry that he is now 'sorry' for his vote authorizing force in Iraq back in 2003:
U.S. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts on Tuesday told an audience at the liberal Take Back America conference that he was sorry for voting to authorize the war in Iraq, calling the entire mission 'a mistake.'
'We were misled, we were given evidence that was not true,' Kerry said. 'It was wrong, and I was wrong to vote [for it].'
Kerry, who led an unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 2004, said it was necessary to admit mistakes because 'you cannot change the future if you''re not honest about the past.' He criticized supporters of the war, who label anti—war activists and politicians as unpatriotic and pessimistic.
Given Kerry's numerous statements during the campaign in 2004 that he didn't 'regret' his vote to authorize force, one wonders what has changed in the intervening two years. There have been no formal findings that Bush 'misled' the country about WMD's or that Saddam didn't pose the same kind of threat that Kerry had been talking about for 10 years prior to the war. Hell, Kerry even voted for regime change as a goal of US foreign policy in 1998.
The only 'evidence' that has surfaced since 2004 has been in the wild imaginings and conspiratorial nuttiness of the far left whose rantings fly in the face of the known facts as presented by 2 committees of Congress and the 9/11 Commission. Surely Kerry can't be basing his decision to apologize for his vote based on the selective leaking of cherry picked classified documents by Bush opponents at CIA and other intelligence shops in the government.
What has changed is the attitude of a vast majority of Democratic party activists who have stated flatly that they will not work for a candidate who voted for the war in 2003. This includes the lucrative block of netnuts who can be counted on to raise enough money to give the candidate of their choice a decent shot at upending Hillary Clinton's drive for the nomination.
These are weasel words from a weasel of a politician who has proven time and time again that he will do or say anything to curry favor with those who can help him politically.
Hat tip: Ed Lasky