Dohiyi Mir
    In Which NTodd Says His Peace

Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Go to the new DM blog.


Happy St. Pat's Day


BushCo and their hit squads must've gotten into the sauce a little early this year1. How else to explain the latest wacko lies and smears?

Josh over at TPM (via BBWW) addresses the latest Bush ad:

This one uses last year's $87 billion Iraq supplemental, and the fact that Kerry voted against it, to accuse him of voting against each of the various line items for troop funding included in the bill. Now, this is inherently misleading since I believe Kerry, like many other Dems, voted for an alternative bill which would have funded these needs by rescinding part of Bush tax cuts.

As I observed over at Mustang Bobby's, Josh is sorta right. Kerry was co-sponsor of the Biden amendment (S.Amdt. 1796) that proposed to "provide funds for the security and stabilization of Iraq by suspending a portion of the reductions in the highest income tax rate for individual taxpayers." That would've been tacked onto the Emergency Supplemental (S.1689) that was eventually passed, but the amendment was tabled.

Here's what Kerry said on the Senate floor on October 17, 2003 (PDF of CR page S12816):

I have said many times, and I will say it again, it is critical that we succeed in Iraq. But it is equally important that we do the job the right way--the way that best protects our troops on the ground, enhances our security, and shields the American taxpayer from undue burden. President Bush's approach fails this test.

I support our troops in Iraq--and their mission. I believe we must do our part to reconstruct Iraq and make it a force for peace and stability in the region. I am prepared to spend whatever it takes to win the peace. But I want to spend that money responsibly and effectively--pursuant to a strategy that will maximize our prospects for success through greater internationalization and burden sharing and provide the transparency and accountability that American taxpayers expect and deserve when we spend their hard-earned money. I want to be sure that the financial costs are distributed, in the spirit of shared sacrifice, among those Americans who can best afford to pay. Unfortunately, the President and his advisers disagree.

I cannot vote for the President's $87 billion request because his is not the most effective way to protect American soldiers and to advance our interests.

Kerry had 5 objections to the bill, which I'll summarize:

  1. The reconstruction portion was clearly padded with unnecessary spending.

  2. Halliburton got billions of dollars in a no-bid contract.

  3. There was no specific spending plan for 20 billion in reconstruction dollars.

  4. There was no plan to pay for it all. That's where the Biden amendment came in.

  5. There was no urgency to pass the bill since there was already money allocated. Kerry wanted to take the time to get more contributions from other countries.

All very reasonable issues to bring up. Kerry concluded his remarks:

[I]t is incumbent upon us to ask what needs at home are underfunded? The answer is: plenty, including health care, education and homeland security.

The President must be held accountable and he must change course. While he may still salvage success in Iraq, the question we must ask is: at what cost--in terms of dollars and lives? We should do this the right way. We can win the peace in Iraq but we cannot--and should not--do it alone. Our troops on the ground deserve a strategy that will take the target off their backs and bring them home more quickly. The American people deserve a strategy that decreases the bill, pays our costs fairly, and makes America safer. We must have a new approach, one that maximizes international cooperation and burden sharing and minimizes the risk of failure. If the President adopts that new approach, I will gladly support any proposal that funds it.

In short, Kerry supported our troops, reconstruction efforts in Iraq, and winning the peace. He voted against a bill that he (rightly) felt was ineffective and incorrectly funded, but in BushCo's binary world there are no alternative approaches: it's either the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Iraq and Afghanistan Security and Reconstruction Act, 2004, or the highway.

Josh has more:

[T]he commercial highlights three budget items, each of which were ones the president opposed and had to be bullied into supporting -- by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. The text narration says: ""No body armor for troops in combat. No higher combat pay. No to better health care for reservists and their families. No -- wrong on defense." What's most bracing about this narration is that this is actually a pretty factual statement if the target is the president, not Kerry. Now, one claim really stands out here. The ad says Kerry voted no to "higher combat pay." This is truly a milestone in the long bilious history of gall.

Read the whole post to see BushCo chutzpah in all its glory. And if that isn't enough to get your blood boiling, check out another wonderful smear that Hesiod debunks (via ODub):

Now the fuckers are saying that John kerry ignored a warning about lax security at Logan airport in 2001, which directly led to (ta! da!) the 9/11 attacks!

I hope Kerry fights back quickly, and hard, against this bullshit. He'll need money to do it--thanks very much to all of you who have helped him out thus far.

ntodd

1 - In all fairness, they might've started partying for St. Urho yesterday, just as we did. 
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A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.

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