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Monday, June 07, 2004

I constantly hear the right saying, "John Kerry is a flip-flopper!" I guess they fail to realize that anyone that has been in the Senate for 20 years is not going to have a perfectly consistent voting record. Kerry, like all lawmakers should, changes his mind, considers all the evidence, and makes deals; these critics also unfairly refuse to acknowledge that bills are often huge and are not single-issue propositions.

But these attackers are also blind to another fact: George W. Bush is quite the flip-flopper himself.

In February 2000, Bush remarked on gay marriages on Larry King Live: "The state can do what they want to do. Don't try to trap me in this state's issue like you're trying to get me into." But now he says, "Today I call upon the Congress to promptly pass, and to send to the states for ratification, an amendment to our Constitution defining and protecting marriage as a union of man and woman as husband and wife."

After September 11 Bush said about Osama bin Laden: ''I want justice. And there's an old poster out West, I recall, that says, 'Wanted: Dead or Alive.'" But in March 2003 he said, "I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him… I truly am not that concerned about him."

In March 2002, Bush said in Peru: "I believe strongly that if we promote trade, and when we promote trade, it will help workers on both sides of this issue." It didn't take him long to change his mind again. In a decision largely driven by politics, Bush set aside his free-trade principles and imposed heavy tariffs on imported steel, a huge reversal.

Bush also vacillates when it comes to his fake al-Qaeda/Iraq "link": "You can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the War on Terror." (9/25/02) But I guess you can, Mr. Bush. Because you yourself said so: "We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved in Sept. 11." (9/17/03)

Bush also flip-floped on having a UN Resolution vote. In March 2003 he vowed to have a vote. "No matter what the whip count is, we're calling for the vote. We want to see people stand up and say what their opinion is about Saddam Hussein and the utility of the United Nations Security Council. And so, you bet. It's time for people to show their cards, to let the world know where they stand when it comes to Saddam." [President Bush 3/6/03] But then Bush withdrew his request. "At a National Security Council meeting convened at the White House at 8:55 a.m., Bush finalized the decision to withdraw the resolution from consideration and prepared to deliver an address to the nation that had already been written." [Washington Post, 3/18/03]

All of these questions raise doubts about the credibility of those whom claim that Kerry is a "flip-flopper." Those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

Caleb Hayes

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