When his campaign was on the brink of collapse at the hands of Howard Dean and Wesley Clark, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry hurriedly switched his tactics and tone of voice. The new candidate Kerry replaced his condescending northeast Senator image with the ability to beat Bush come November.
The new strategy obviously paid off, as he gears up for his eventual one-on-one battle with the President. But as his new persona is sweeping the Democrats off their feet, many wonder whether or not Kerry has passed a point of no return. More importantly, which Kerry are they voting for: Senator Kerry or candidate Kerry?
Senator Kerry voted for the No Child Left Behind act in 2002, hailing it as a ground-breaking piece of legislation. The act embraces many of the principles and programs I believe are critical to improving the public education system. Candidate Kerry now assails the very program he voted to put into place.
He now publicly criticizes Bush for his one-size-fits-all testing methods and claims that the program is undefended by the current administration. Senator Kerry on the other hand, voted for budgets that have increased federal education spending by more than 50 percent in three years, one of the single largest increases in history.
Candidate Kerry claims that the most basic responsibility of government is to provide for the common defense. Senator Kerry voted consistently to cut funding for intelligence and the military. After the first World Trade Center bombing in 1992, Senator Kerry voted to slash $1.5 billion for the next five years from our intelligence agencies.
Senator Kerry voted against funding for essential military equipment, including the B-2 Stealth Bomber, Patriot Missile, F-14, Apache Helicopter, and the Harrier Jet, many of which are currently in use in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Candidate Kerry also says President Bush has guided the United States to one of the most arrogant, inept and selfish foreign policies this country has seen since World War II.
That did not stop Senator Kerry from voting for the resolution supporting military force to remove Saddam Hussein from power, as well as a 1998 Clinton resolution supporting regime change in Iraq.
Senator Kerry voted for and wrote portions of the Patriot Act in October 2001. Senator Kerry praised the hard work by fellow legislators on the new intelligence laws that helped to strengthen America after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Candidate Kerry wants to repeal the Patriot Act, replace it with laws that protect civil liberties and end the era of John Ashcroft.
Candidate Kerry is proposing an executive order to prohibit lobbying from former government officials to end influence peddling. Senator Kerry has received more money from special interests in his 15-year Senate career than any other Congressional member, totaling more than $640,000. Three of Senator Kerry’s nominees to Federal positions have been linked to contributions donated to him before or soon after his support.
Although candidate Kerry and Senator Kerry continue to contradict each other on nearly every issue in the upcoming election, Democrats appear confident and steadfast in their man. They feel that John Kerry, in any state of mind, is capable of beating George Bush come November. The only question remains is which version will John Kerry settle on?
Brian Reimels can be reached at email@example.com.