m a r k a n d e y a

John Kerry on Fox NEws

Posted by Brian on October 16, 2006

Watching Fox News this morning I was reminded yet again of one of the many problems in American olitics in this day and age.

Chris Wallace was interviewing John Kerry about, among other things, Iraq and North Korea. At one point, things went like this:

WALLACE: Senator, back in 2004 — and this is the summer of 2004 by which point we all knew that, in fact, there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq — President Bush challenged you on whether you would still have voted for the authority to go to war. Here’s what you said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it was the right authority for a president to have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: But this week you wrote this, and let’s put it up on the screen, “There’s nothing — nothing — in my life in public service I regret more, nothing even close. We should all be willing to say I was wrong. I should not have voted for the Iraq war resolution.”

Senator, if it was right to vote for the Iraq war resolution in 2002 and it was right in August of 2004, why is it now your biggest policy mistake?

KERRY: Because this administration has made every mistake and abused every authority that it was given to such a degree beyond where we were at that point in time.

And also, we have learned since then, Chris, of the degree to which they misled us, the degree to which they have abused the authority that they were given. At the time…

… 

WALLACE: But I want to ask you a question which goes to you…

KERRY: Sure.

WALLACE: … not to President Bush, because this, quite frankly, is a rap against you. Isn’t this — and I’m talking about your vote now for the war resolution and now your recanting of this — isn’t this another case of I was for the $87 billion before I was against it?

The “rap” against Kerry that Mr. Wallace is speaking of must be the old “flip-flop” label that the right painted on Kerry back in 2004. Back then, Mr. Wallace was saying, Kerry was in favor of the war… but now he is against it. What gives, Senator?

My reaction was that Kerry should be commended for fessing up to his part in the current Iraq fiasco. After all, it’s not everyday a politican says “I was wrong.” Yet there was Mr. Wallace playing “gotcha” with the Senator and using his words against him as an example of a Kerry “flip-flop.”

Sure, I hate finger-in-the-wind pols as much as the next guy, but sometimes a regret or a change of position, even from a politician, can be sincere. Kerry trusted Bush and his team to do a good job in Iraq, but they botched the job in a big way. As a result, he regrets his vote. Where’s the story?

Just take a look at the current president, a man who sells his stubborness and tunnel-vision as a virtue and people buy it. Heck, when asked for a single mistake he made in office, he couldn’t think of a anything he would have done differently. If only I were so omniscient when it comes to the tough choices I have to make.

At what point did we fetishize consistency in politicians to such an extent that we threw out our common sense?

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