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'Substance' on Kerry the straddler' no pic
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SHADOW



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Post 'Substance' on Kerry the straddler' no pic Reply with quote
William Safire: Kerry the great straddler
By William Safire (NYT)
Thursday, July 29, 2004


BOSTON: Too-careful politicians think the best defense is giving no offense. To avoid offending any voters, John Kerry has come down foursquare on both sides of three social issues.

1. He says he opposes the death penalty - except for terrorists.

To a principled minority that believes government must never take a human life, this Kerry straddle is untenable. It makes no sense to hold that society has no right to execute a rapist-murderer whose DNA proves guilt, nor a confessed serial killer or genocidal dictator - but if the killer's motive is to terrify, then execution is in order.

You can take an honest stand against the death penalty, but as soon as you begin to equivocate - making exceptions based on the degree of heinousness or public fear - you erode your moral position. 2. Kerry has long identified himself with a woman's right to choose abortion, but recently revealed to a supporter that he believed "life begins at conception."

People who are resolutely pro-choice believe that life begins at birth, and that a woman has a right to abort what is taking place in her own body any time during a pregnancy. People who are resolutely pro-life believe that life begins at conception and that aborting that embryo or fetus is akin to murder. You can be pro-choice with no restrictions on abortion, or pro-life with absolute restrictions, or - like most Americans - comfortable enough with current law discouraging late-term abortion. But most find it difficult to be for both extremes at the same time.

That has relevance to today's debate about federal funding for stem cell research. If you hold that life begins at conception, you have a rational basis for arguing that taxpayer dollars should not be used for medical research that extracts stem cells from even a tiny blastocyst already destined for destruction.

Kerry is making a campaign issue out of his desire to add federal funds to this lawful research. That's the vote-getting view (and my own as well), but he will not risk disavowing his contradictory belief that "life begins at conception' lest he seem indecisive or anti-pro-life. And so his straddle goes on.

3. He says he is against same-sex marriage, on one hand, and against a constitutional amendment to ban it, on the other. His position: leave it to the states to battle out.

Pollsters show this neat dodge to be popular. Kerry can say he opposes same-sex marriage (appealing to the majority) while opposing doing what it would take to stop it (which also polls well). George W. Bush, contrariwise, seriously opposes it and is willing to put his opposition to a test that Congress and the state legislatures would decide.

What pattern emerges from these three issues? What difference does it show in the leadership quality of the two candidates?

On the death penalty, Bush is for and Kerry straddles. On abortion, Bush is against and Kerry straddles. On same-sex marriage, Bush is demonstrably against, while Kerry is rhetorically against but cleverly finds a policy resting place that allows him to straddle.

It happens that I agree with Bush on the death penalty, prefer the Supreme Court compromises on abortion and disagree with him on a same-sex amendment. But in all cases, this president takes a stand and makes clear what it is. Bush is not trying to be, in the biblical phrase, all things to all men.

Contrariwise, these Kerry straddles are troubling in one who aspires to trustworthy leadership. I won't be watching his acceptance speech tomorrow for war stories, Clintonian crowd appeal or sudden, soaring eloquence. An end to the straddling would help.

E-mail: safire@nytimes.com
Thu Jul 29, 2004 7:12 pm View user's profile Find all posts by SHADOW Send private message Send e-mail
bodom



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Post Re: 'Substance' on Kerry the straddler' no pic Reply with quote
[quote="SHADOW"]On the death penalty, Bush is for and Kerry straddles. On abortion, Bush is against and Kerry straddles. On same-sex marriage, Bush is demonstrably against, while Kerry is rhetorically against but cleverly finds a policy resting place that allows him to straddle.[/quote]
and why are these "issues" even important? seriously.

abortion was legalized by the SUPREME COURT back in the early 70s. sure, presidents say "i'm against abortion", but NOT ONE president has actually tried to challenge to get this overturned. has bush even DONE ANYTHING about reversing the abortion ruling since he's been in office? of course not. has he even mentioned it? no. it's political spiel that's crammed down the throats of dumb voters.

rather than take on abortion head on, he's dodged the definition of abortion from the supreme court ruling and only talks about "partial-birth abortion", which is an extremely rare case anyhow.

if you're going to be anti-abortion, then be about it while in office. otherwise, shut it up. all the abortion talk is politics, because it energizes the conservatives, even though it will ALWAYS be a NON-ISSUE once he assumes presidency.

i'm not a republican or a democrat. i vote based on the PERSON. many people here would waffle if bush were the democrat and defend him and roast kerry if he were the republican. had bush been the democrat, i would still be bashing bush, because his job performance has been subpar. for me it's not republican vs democrat or conservative vs liberal... no, it's BUSH vs KERRY. and BUSH (regardless of his party affiliation) is not the best candidate in my eyes.

[quote="SHADOW"]It happens that I agree with Bush on the death penalty, prefer the Supreme Court compromises on abortion and disagree with him on a same-sex amendment. But in all cases, this president takes a stand and makes clear what it is. Bush is not trying to be, in the biblical phrase, all things to all men.[/quote]
bush has NOT made one stand on (standard) abortions. he simply says "i'm against it", but proposes nothing to the supreme court about it. it's just smoke and mirrors. all he talks about is "partial-birth".

i, too, disagree with him on same-sex amendment. the constitution is NOT the place for this. the constitution states what our RIGHTS are, NOT what our RESTRICTIONS are. if you want to restrict same-sex marriage (or define it), then it should be on the law books, not the constitution. that's not the intention of the constitution.


i don't know why i bother responding to all of this SPAM you throw out here. why don't you just make one thread and keep it all in that thread?

--
bodom
Thu Jul 29, 2004 7:39 pm View user's profile Find all posts by bodom Send private message AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger ICQ Number
cornbread



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Post Reply with quote
very impressive post bodom... i'm particularly please that you are able to see and expose this

[quote]
all the abortion talk is politics, because it energizes the conservatives, even though it will ALWAYS be a NON-ISSUE once he assumes presidency.
[/quote]

its the entire modis operandi of the Republicans -- to portend that "liberal elites" want to infringe on their rights, morals, and way of living , but the sad thing is that most of the economic policies of the Republicans, hurt the very same people they try to appeal to with their rhetoric.... they continuously pick some issue that they know is impossible implement -- like abortion and same sex marriage, and drum on and on about, while at the same creating economic policies -- like privatization and deregulation, that hurts their constinuents pockets... its a sham


[quote]
many people here would waffle if bush were the democrat and defend him and roast kerry if he were the republican. [/quote]

i'm guilty, but i'm assuming that Bush would then espouse Democrat pricinples and Kerry Republican??? i think there are some good Republicans, like McCain, Lindsey of SC, and some others but I'm a liberal, progressive thinker, and I think Democrat principles are better for the country... its the policies that i vote for more than the man..


as for Kerry "waffling", it doesn't bother me one bit... some think its a big deal that Kerry volunteered to serve and fight in Vietnam, but criticized the war when he came back... i see a man who believed it was important to serve his duty, and saw first hand how wrong it was, and instead of hiding and covering up, he spoke the truth...

i would much rather have a leader who chose to go in one direction, but changed his mind when he saw we were headed over a cliff, than to have a man who would rather head over the cliff than change his mind or admit a mistake
Thu Jul 29, 2004 8:48 pm View user's profile Find all posts by cornbread Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address
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