Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Bush takes a cue from the Dems' in-house critics and attacks Kerry for flip-flopping. Unfortunately, Kerry's response to the attacks are so nuanced they may be hard to sell to the public:

"The other party's nomination battle is still playing out. The candidates are an interesting group with diverse opinions," Bush said. "They're for tax cuts and against them. They're for NAFTA and against NAFTA. They're for the Patriot Act and against the Patriot Act. They're in favor of liberating Iraq, and opposed to it. And that's just one senator from Massachusetts." His supportive audience erupted in laughter and applause.

"Kerry spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter disputed Bush's list of purported flip-flops. Kerry opposed Bush's tax cuts for the richest Americans and stands by that; voted for NAFTA and stands by it; voted for the Patriot Act, but believes the Justice Department is using it to trample civil liberties; and stands by his vote to authorize force for Iraq, but believes Bush's prosecution of the war `created a breeding ground for terror' and alienated allies, Cutter said."

I'm not sure these maneuverings will work. The underlying principle governing Kerry's decisions, as Mickey Kaus and others have noted, is: what's the most politically expedient move for Kerry at the time? Even the liberal Washington Post notes how Kerry is giving stump speeches denouncing Bush's policies on Iraq, civil liberties and "No Child Left Behind," even though he voted for the laws that put those policies in place. Doesn't it seem as if his current stances are borrowing a page from then-Governor George Romney's reversal on the Vietnam War, who claimed that he was "brainwashed" by LBJ into supporting it? But despite such criticism, unless John Edwards pulls a miracle upset in Ohio, Georgia and New York on Super Tuesday, we should get used to Kerry as the Democratic nominee. There isn't enough time left for "buyer's remorse."

Yahoo! News - Bush Accuses Kerry of Waffling on Issues

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