|God, guns, and freedom|
|Starting arguments over Thanksgiving dinner|
|Persons of interest|
“”I'm John Kerry and I'm reporting for duty.
“”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?
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. From 1985 to 2013, he represented Massachusetts in the US Senate (from which he resigned to become Secretary of State) and almost won an election to the presidency in 2004, against an incumbent during wartime. Which, as a C student in college, is a position he is eminently qualified for. He is currently the United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, an office created by President Joe Biden.
He is also ridiculously French.
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, 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, 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.
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; Russia jumped at the advice and convinced Assad to do exactly that with Kerry stewarding the deal. 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. He presided over the Cuban Thaw, which allowed America and Cuba to begin official diplomatic negotiations for the first time in over 50 years. More recently, he pushed for the successful signing of the 2016 Paris Agreement, which set international standards for combating climate change. He also successfully negotiated a ceasefire with Russia over Syria.
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.:105 Bush supporters even started buying and selling actual flip flops with positions Kerry had supposedly "flip-flopped" on. It was "The Label That Sank Kerry" wrote William Schneider shortly before the election. (Never mind that Bush had contradicted himself at least just as often as Kerry, 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. 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.
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. No he's for it.: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.":89 (Although, funnily enough, Kerry did come out in favor of same-sex marriage in 2011.)
- 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.":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.: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:138) but not oppose the War Powers Resolution with gave President Clinton the power to do it.
- 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.: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.:94
- John Kerry
- 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
- Making the grade? Assessing John Kerry’s record as secretary of state, Brookings, January 20, 2016
- Sen. John Kerry, GovTrack
- Kerry's fatal error: Edwards, Chicago Tribune, November 7, 2004
- Bush Beats Kerry by a Point, at Yale, NPR, June 7, 2005
- How will John Kerry fare as Joe Biden’s climate envoy?, The Economist, February 20, 2021
- Student Tasered, arrested at Kerry forum
- Skull And Bones
- Kerry endorses Obama
- Karzai Endorses Runoff In Disputed Afghan Presidential Election
- President Obama Nominates Senator John Kerry to Serve as Secretary of State
- Kerry confirmed as secretary of State
- John Kerry gives Syria week to hand over chemical weapons or face attack
- Syria 'Welcomed' Russian Proposal to Destroy Its Chemical Weapons
- Kerry is quietly seeking to salvage Iran deal he helped craft
- Kerry and Cuban Foreign Minister Laud Thawed Relations
- Biden Administration International Affairs Personnel Tracker
- Kerry announces US-Russia deal on Syrian ceasefire
- 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.
- Flip flops, anti-John Kerry, 2004
- The Label That Sank Kerry
- Bush's Top Ten Flip-Flops
- Kerry, under fire
- Kerry discusses $87 billion comment
- The Truth (With Jokes) by Al Franken (Dutton Books, 2005) ISBN 0-525-94906-2
- John Kerry backs gay marriage
- 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
- Clinton's War Powers Upheld