John Kerry

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John Kerry
God, guns, and freedom
U.S. Politics
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Starting arguments over Thanksgiving dinner
Persons of interest
I'm John Kerry and I'm reporting for duty.[1]
We are asking Americans to think about that because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?[2]

John "Heinz" Kerry is a politician in the United States of America, although he has since become more notable for his diplomatic work. He is the former Secretary of State under the Obama Administration.[3] From 1985 to 2013, he represented Massachusetts in the US Senate (from which he resigned to become Secretary of State)[4] and almost won an election to the presidency in 2004, against an incumbent during wartime.[5] Which, as a C student in college, is a position he is eminently qualified for.[6] He is currently the United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, an office created by President Joe Biden.[7]

He is also ridiculously French.

In September 2007 an incident at the University of Florida caused a stir in the media and the Internet in which a student was forcibly removed and tasered at an event where Kerry was speaking.[8]

Kerry famously piloted a boat up the Mekong River in The 'Nam to locate one rogue colonel named Kurtz while jamming to "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" and dodging tigers and Playboy bunnies and the like while the whole crew was tripping on something. A movie was eventually made about this with the names changed to protect the guilty. He was also in Skull and Bones at Yale,[9] which makes him very eminently qualified to be president, at least in the view of our secret rulers.

He was an early supporter of Barack Obama,[10] and many thought he would become the American Secretary of State. He did eventually replace Hillary Clinton in this role for Obama's second term, but during Obama's first term, he instead served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In this role, he did do some diplomacy for the United States, such as when he convinced Hamid Karzai to hold a runoff election after accusations of fraud in the Afghan election.[11]

On December 21, 2012, Obama officially stated that Kerry would succeed Clinton as Secretary of State.[12] He formally took office as Secretary of State on February 1, 2013.[13]

His record as Secretary of State was surprisingly consequential. In 2013, Kerry accidentally suggested that Bashar al-Assad could turn over his chemical weapons to ward off a military strike from the United States;[14] Russia jumped at the advice and convinced Assad to do exactly that with Kerry stewarding the deal.[15] He helped spearhead the Iran Deal, which reduced Tehran's nuclear program and prevents them from building nuclear weapons in exchange for a loosening of sanctions on their economy.[16] He presided over the Cuban Thaw, which allowed America and Cuba to begin official diplomatic negotiations for the first time in over 50 years.[17] More recently, he pushed for the successful signing of the 2016 Paris Agreement, which set international standards for combating climate change.[18] He also successfully negotiated a ceasefire with Russia over Syria.[19]


John Kerry Flip Flops

During the 2004 Presidential Election, the Bush-Cheney team did everything they could to portray Kerry as a "flip-flopper." This was not because Kerry was especially prone to flipping nor flopping, as Bush had planned to use this line of attack against any Democrat regardless of who wins the nomination as early as 2002.[20]:105 Bush supporters even started buying and selling actual flip flops with positions Kerry had supposedly "flip-flopped" on.[21] It was "The Label That Sank Kerry" wrote William Schneider shortly before the election.[22] (Never mind that Bush had contradicted himself at least just as often as Kerry,[23] that was ignored by all the partisans.)

Typically, these accusations would involve distorting important context or just downright lying about Kerry's positions. One particularly infamous example is Kerry's declaration “I actually did vote for the $87 billion [of Iraq War funding] before I voted against it,” which was later described as "poison to his 2004 campaign" by one commentator.[24] When asked to explain it, Kerry clarified that he was in favor of funding the war through reducing tax cuts the Bush Administration had already put into place, but was against funding it through any other means.[25]

However, this was merely the tip of the iceberg, as on every issue, it seemed, the Bush team found some way to call Kerry a flip-flopper. Sean Hannity on 3/25/2004 summarized the Republican view of Kerry with the following comment:

Here's a guy that supported gay marriage, now against it. Here's a guy that by my count has had six separate different unique positions on the war on Iraq. Here's a guy that voted for the eighty seven billion dollars to fund the war before voting against it. Here's a guy that was for the Patriot Act. Now against it. No Child Left Behind, for it, now against it. Here's a guy that supported--was against the death penalty for terrorists who kill Americans. Now he's for it.[26]:88

Even ignoring the already mentioned point about Kerry's vote for and then against the funding of the Iraq War, this is still filled with distortions:

  • The reference to Kerry being in favor of same-sex marriage is most likely a reference to his vote against DOMA, even though he said in the speech he gave on the Senate floor regarding that bill "I am not for same-sex marriage."[26]:89 (Although, funnily enough, Kerry did come out in favor of same-sex marriage in 2011.[27])
  • On Iraq, Marc Sandalow of San Francisco Chronical looked over more then two hundred speeches and statements from Kerry and found he "has offered the same message ever since talk of attacking Iraq became a national conversation more than two years ago."[26]:91
  • Kerry never opposed the PATRIOT Act, although he didn't agree with all of it, he voted for it and then grew to dislike the abuses of power he felt Bush and John Ashcroft, his Attorney General, were using it to engage in.[26]:93 However, disliking the way one particular President and/or member of the Executive Branch takes advantage of a piece of legislation is not the same thing as opposing the legislation itself. In the same regard, one could oppose Clinton's bombing of the Balkans in 1999 (as Sean did, funnily enough[28]:138) but not oppose the War Powers Resolution with gave President Clinton the power to do it.[29]
  • Similar to the PATRIOT Act, Kerry's opposition to Bush's implementation of No Child Left Behind is being conflated with opposition to the policy itself. Kerry had supported the measure on the condition that Bush would--you know--actually fund it, which he didn't, and that's the part that Kerry opposed.[26]:93
  • Of these, the only actual contradiction Sean points out is Kerry's opposition to the death penalty for terrorists, which changed as a result of the attacks on 9/11.[26]:94


In 2004, an organization called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was formed in order to oppose the Presidential Campaign of John Kerry, with them claiming Kerry had not been honest during his time in Vietnam or had done something to enable to enemies of the United States.[30] However, for a group that claimed Kerry was not honest about his actions, it should be unsurprising that they themselves were the lying ones. Many of these men did not serve at the same time or place that Kerry did,[31] and of veterans who did serve with Kerry only one actually joined the group.[32] Meanwhile, those who were actually with Kerry at the time constantly called these accusations nothing short of nonsense.[33]


  1. John Kerry
  2. John Kerry: 'How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?' Vietnam Veterans Against the War testimony - 1971
  3. Making the grade? Assessing John Kerry’s record as secretary of state, Brookings, January 20, 2016
  4. Sen. John Kerry, GovTrack
  5. Kerry's fatal error: Edwards, Chicago Tribune, November 7, 2004
  6. Bush Beats Kerry by a Point, at Yale, NPR, June 7, 2005
  7. How will John Kerry fare as Joe Biden’s climate envoy?, The Economist, February 20, 2021
  8. Student Tasered, arrested at Kerry forum
  9. Skull And Bones
  10. Kerry endorses Obama
  11. Karzai Endorses Runoff In Disputed Afghan Presidential Election
  12. President Obama Nominates Senator John Kerry to Serve as Secretary of State
  13. Kerry confirmed as secretary of State
  14. John Kerry gives Syria week to hand over chemical weapons or face attack
  15. Syria 'Welcomed' Russian Proposal to Destroy Its Chemical Weapons
  16. Kerry is quietly seeking to salvage Iran deal he helped craft
  17. Kerry and Cuban Foreign Minister Laud Thawed Relations
  18. Biden Administration International Affairs Personnel Tracker
  19. Kerry announces US-Russia deal on Syrian ceasefire
  20. Cracking The Code: How to Win Hearts, Change Minds, and Restore America's Original Vision by Thom Hartmann. Berrett-Koehler. 2007. ISBN 978-1-57675-458-0.
  21. Flip flops, anti-John Kerry, 2004
  22. The Label That Sank Kerry
  23. Bush's Top Ten Flip-Flops
  24. Kerry, under fire
  25. Kerry discusses $87 billion comment
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 26.4 26.5 The Truth (With Jokes) by Al Franken (Dutton Books, 2005) ISBN 0-525-94906-2
  27. John Kerry backs gay marriage
  28. Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right by Al Franken, (Dutton Books, 2003) ISBN 0-525-94764-7
  29. Clinton's War Powers Upheld
  30. Swift Boat Veterans For Truth
  31. Veterans Long to Reclaim the Name ‘Swift Boat’
  32. The Tenth Brother
  33. Kerry comrades have credibility on their side