Bush Campaign Lies

Monday, April 12, 2004

Bush Campaign Lie #32: Kerry Flip-Flopped On Military Experience As Credential For Public Office 

This is ridiculous. The requirements for every public office --- in particular, the presidency --- have been spelled out long ago and anyone with even a rudimentary understanding about how our government works understands what those requirements are. No candidate for public office is going to campaign on the idea that 'litmus tests' for office should be introduced, and certainly Kerry has never done that.

This is what we call 'Republicans desperate to smear their opponent any way they can' --- even if it means making stupid accusations.

For the record, here is the Republican argument, in its entirety:

  1. Kerry: Service Should Not Be 'Litmus Test' For Leadership. 'Mr. President, you and I know that if support or opposition to the war were to become a litmus test for leadership, America would never have leaders or recover from the divisions created by that war. You and I know that if service or nonservice in the war is to become a test of qualification for high office, you would not have a Vice President, nor would you have a Secretary of Defense and our Nation would never recover from the divisions created by that war.' (Sen. John Kerry, Congressional Record, 10/08/92, p. S17709)
  2. But Now Kerry Constantly 'Challenges The Stature Of His Democratic Opponents' Over Their Lack Of Military Service. 'And more than ever, Mr. Kerry is invoking his stature as a Vietnam veteran as he challenges the stature of his Democratic opponents -- none of whom, he frequently points out, have ‘worn the uniform of our country’ -- to withstand a debate with Mr. Bush on national security. (Adam Nagourney, “As Campaign Tightens, Kerry Sharpens Message,” The New York Times, 8/10/03)
First, note that in item (1), Kerry is discussing the requirements for holding a 'high office', like the presidency. In item (2), Kerry is claiming that he is the candidate best suited to 'withstand a debate' with Bush. So these two statements aren't even discussing the same thing.

In (1), Kerry is saying that it's possible to be president without having served in the military. In (2), Kerry is pointing out that since the country is at war (which Bush feels compelled to mention every five minutes), the voters might prefer a war hero as president.

Kerry is a war hero. The other Democrats vying for the nomination weren't, except for possibly Wes Clark. A political campaign is mostly about distinguishing yourself from your opponents, so of couse Kerry is going to point this out. But he never says that his opponents aren't qualified to be president because they aren't veterans.

10:12 PM