Remember when Hugh Shelton, former Chairman of the Joint Cheifs of Staff, made these remarks:
I’ve known Wes for a long time. I will tell you the reason he came out of Europe early had to do with integrity and character issues, things that are very near and dear to my heart. I’m not going to say whether I’m a Republican or a Democrat. I’ll just say Wes won’t get my vote.
You remember the faux outrage? Why no outrage when John Kerry makes the following claim:
”I’ve met foreign leaders who can’t go out and say this publicly, but, boy, they look at you and say, you gotta win this, you gotta beat this guy, we need a new policy,” said Kerry, who has talked about taking a trip overseas as part of his campaign.
I’ll tell you why there is no outrage, no demand for Kerry to name names. It has to do with what follows Kerry’s name:
It really is that simple.
I agree with your main point, John. But:
I came to hate Clark by the end of his campaign. Wasn’t his positions, wasn’t his harshness toward the president, I just thought he was a liar, and an unusually nasty one at that, who’d tell his audience whatever he thought would make them love him.
So I suspect Gen. Shelton is right. But even so, I was somewhat outraged myself. Either he should have spelled out the problem, or he should have said, “Well, I won’t be voting for him” and left it at that. The opaque reference to character and integrity struck me as underhanded.
One was a positive allusion and the other was a vicious back handed slur.
Or does that difference escape you?
The worst possible outcome of Kerry’s remark is that he looks like a fool. But on the other hand, a slur made without evidence can do a great deal of damage before it’s disproven.
Try again, Hal.
Andrew J. Lazarus
I didn’t have a problem with EITHER of these quotes. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect Kerry to name names.
Wow, what a defense.
Hal- there is nothing to defend. You came up with some mealy-mouthed way in which they are different, when in fact if you take the implied meaning of both quotes, they are rather much the same.
But what Kerry says is obviously true, in the sense of self-evident.
in general, certainly in Europe, foreign leaders recognise that it is in their long term national interest to have good relations with the USA. However, being associated with the Bush administration is a political disaster for them.
therefore, of course they want Bush out. but of course they can’t say it, owing to the likelihood of his reappointment.
why is it wrong for Kerry to say something which is true? i don’t understand. why is this a problem?
What’s true is that Kerry claimed to have “met” with foreign leaders who “told” him various self serving things…
I concur with Colin Powell who suggested that Kerry either name names or find something different to talk about.
The real concern, IMO, is what Kerry has promised these “foreign leaders” in exchange for their support if and when he is elected?
Ape- And what Shelton said is most certainly true- there are many men within the military who dislike Clark. Your point?
I’d like to hear the names of Kerry’s “imaginary friends” that lead foreign countries, too.
We won’t, though. It’s too embarrassing for Kerry to explain multi-hour conversations with the Prime Minister of Fredonia and the Chancellor of Erehwon.
why is it wrong for Kerry to say something which is true? i don’t understand. why is this a problem
1) Becaused he LIED and said he met with them, when a check of records shows he hasn’t.
2) It shows a disgraceful mindset of pandering to Europe. Howabout we elect leaders that we think are good for AMERICA, not France?
I’d prefer if we elected voters who aren’t utter morons like everybody here, save Hal.
Who would “elect” the “voters”?
Just wanted to be sure about who the moron was….
And now Kerry denies saying he met with foreign leaders, and the details are “none of your business.”
Ape is right. What John Kerry said was clearly true and there were obvious potential consequences if he revealed who said it to him. In that respect, it’s much like forcing a journalist to name the sources that told him something embarassing about a public figure — it’s for their sake, not his, that he keeps quiet.
Shelton’s remark was designed to smear Clark and was not self-evident. Kerry’s remark relied upon the postulate that George Bush has not put a lot of time or effort into diplomacy, which is clearly true. Shelton’s remarks was that something was wrong with Wesley Clark, but he wouldn’t tell us what. Since we had no way to understand what could be wrong or what part of Clark’s character he was referring to, clarification was needed to take his comments seriously, there were no underlying realities that moved them beyond one man’s subjective interpretation of another.
Now, this is different than what you may or may not have seen in Clark as the campaign progressed. I like him very much and think Shelton was out of line, others disagree. Regardless, the comment was made when no one knew much about Clark and, as such, it should have been clarified. Kerry’s comment was made when everyone knew about Bush’s attitude towards the rest of the world and it needs no clarification, particularly because naming names would open up leaders to punishment from Bush.
Kerry’s comment was made when everyone knew about Bush’s attitude towards the rest of the world and it needs no clarification, particularly because naming names would open up leaders to punishment from Bush.
Ok Ezra, except he’sa LYING because he never met them like he said he did. Records prove he didn’t meet any of them, and he even tripped himself up and now has changed his story to “he talked to them” which is open to wide intepretation.
So based on that, YEAH Kerry has to reveal who they are. Otherwise we have to conclude it’s a craven lie on his part.
And don’t you think it’s a disgraceful thing for him to bring up? WHO CARES WHAT FOREIGNERS THINK OF OUR INTERNAL POLITICAL ELECTION? Aren’t you offended that Kerry is placing more emphasis on being good for France than being good for America? That he’s wrapped up in the international popularity contest instead of finding solutions to issues? That happy Frenchmen mean more to him than safe Americans>??
Good to see that, when Senators declare they have lists of folks believing such-and-such, they should be given a pass on actually producing it, they should not have to, if, as Ezra put it, “there were obvious potential consequences if he revealed who said it to him.”
Joe McCarthy thanks you from the grave for removing the need to actually produce the list of 57/81/205 either card-carrying members or certainly loyal to the Communist Party.
After all, producing the list itself would have “obvious consequences” for those who provided him the list, no?
Unfair? Why? Is it really wrong to know which foreign leaders would tell a running candidate “We hope you win”? Let’s say it was Tony Blair or Jacques Chirac. You don’t think that it might be helpful to know this? (Geez, it might well help Kerry’s campaign, not hurt it!)
Would it be alright to ask, if Kerry had said that he had met w/ prominent Republicans who hoped he would defeat Bush, who they were?
And if Dubya said HE had met w/ many foreign leaders, and they openly expressed the hope that he would win, would you expect him to divulge this?
Take a deep breath, Shark.
Look, I don’t want a candidate whose first loyalty is to anyone other than the home team, either. But before we tell the rest of the globe to take a flying @#$% at a rolling donut, we might want to remember that we need the rest of the civilized world’s help if we’re going to put any kind of dent in international terrorism. Much as some would wish it different, we can’t do it alone.
Unless, of course, you and/or your kids are planning on visiting your local Armed Forces Recruiter soon…
“it’s much like forcing a journalist to name the sources that told him something embarassing about a public figure.”
Well, any two things are much alike, if you ignore enough differences between them. Journalists have to find and report information, and if they start naming their sources, they won’t get nearly as much information to report, which is generally a bad thing.
Kerry did not have to add, in essence, “And the rest of the world will like us again!” True, if he named his sources, foreign govt types might be less inclined to tell him how much they’d prefer him.
And this is a bad thing…why?
How delightfully absurd. I first must mention that I love the outrage over Kerry mentioning that other people in this world have an interest in the election. From the tone of your indignation, you’d think it was the center-piece of his campaign rather than, you know, a single comment. The idea that he’s placing “more emphasis” on the French (who were never mentioned, might I add. You just find them a convenient whipping boy) than on Americans is so utterly ridiculous that it requires no rebuttal.
As for whether or not he could have met with these people, you neither know the time frame nor the circumstances. It could have been 2.5 years ago, when he was just thinking of running for President. Regardless, I’m willing to grant that Kerry exaggerated and he actually spoke to these people by phone…it still doesn’t impinge upon the truth of the statement’s premise: most other countries really want Bush out. And if Dubya said that foreign leaders said they wanted him in, I wouldn’t expect him to divulge who, but I’d internally suspect it to be Bin Laden. He’s been great for that guy.
It would be perfectly alright if Kerry said there were Republicans rooting for him. It clearly wouldn’t be politically savvy after the uproar his international comments have made, but it wouldn’t be wrong. The truth of the matter is you’re all missing the point. The comments weren’t about the foreign leaders, they were about the desperate and deplorable state our foreign relations have sunk to under Bush. It’s gotten to the point that association with Bush is an electoral liability (See Blair, Tony). Being on America’s side should be something to trumpet from the rooftops, not hide beneath other policies. Unfortunately, Bush has so destroyed the world’s esteem for us, that foreign leaders are desperately hoping he loses the election. That’s not a good place for us as a country, particularly in a time when we need allies and the popularity that allows them to make significant contributions to our interests.
I agree with you that there are many around the world, who called themselves pro-American for a few weeks after 9/11/01, who now do not. I even agree with you that the policies of the Bush administration are largely responsible.
I also believe that the price of keeping their affection would have been to remain vulnerable to a much larger attack. Which was coming, unless we overturned the whole rotten status quo in the Middle East, which certain allies were always going to freak out about our doing, no matter how humbly we beseeched their approval.
So I don’t care.
I tend to agree with Ezra & that Kerry’s probably telling the truth. He may not have talked straight to various leaders (Chirac) but their surrogates, who relayed that -gasp- socialists around Europe prefer Kerry to Bush. However, his rhetoric & posture pertaining to foreign policy lately has been rather unbecoming, keeping in mind that we have soldiers fighting a war on terror (that he voted for) and that the hint of removing support (that he voted against funding) doesn’t help things.
There’s a way to legitimately criticize foreign policy of any administration without showing weakness from within the country as the arguments enter the edge of our nation’s borders. Kerry hasn’t been doing that.
Besides, if we were to poll those leaders he’s talking about, how many would hope that we get rid of the death penalty, that we’d swing away from capitalism much more and that our commitments ($$$$ and freedom) to the UN multiply? And would Kerry want to run on THAT?
“…it still doesn’t impinge upon the truth of the statement’s premise: most other countries really want Bush out. ”
No Ezra, the truth of the statement is: Kerry claimed to have met with these leaders, who wanted him to win
Big difference, no?
Not only is there no proof of this, but he’s backtracked on his story enough to cast serious doubt.
If you’re willing to grant him an exaggeration that he spoke on the phone instead of meeting them (which is still a lie in my book, as actually meeting with them carries much more weight) then grant me that he may have been exaggerating when he said they wanted him to win. Maybe they were being courteous and wished him luck, and his skill at nuance came up with this.
Only Democrats exaggerate. Republicans lie.
If you don’t remember that, then a mis-statement such as Kerry may have made would be characterized as a lie, whereas Dubya’s comments on a range of things might be viewed as exaggeration. Mustn’t go down THAT path.
Ezra: “It’s gotten to the point that association with Bush is an electoral liability ”
Yet Aznar was winning (before the bombs) and Blair has beaten back a couple no-confidence votes as well as a disgraceful lie by the BBC. And I don’t keep up 100% with their news, but the leaders of Austrailia and Poland seem to be able to hang onto their jobs.
On the other hand…being against America sure seems to have backfired big time on Schroeder, Chirac (France has lost a lot of prestiege in the aftermath of the lead up to war) and Kofi Anon (implicted in the oil for food scandal)
But your main point is not as bad as you would have us think. Are US and French troops working together in Hati now? Hav ewe engaged the UN in Iran? Do we have a multi-lateral approach to N Korea?
Sorry, but the international popularity contest matters much more to others than it should. “Some people are too worried about what the waiter will say to them while they’re visiting Paris”.
Sorry, one more before I go:
I wonder how many of these “leaders” who endorsed Kerry were on the recieving end of the Saddam money pipeline that it looks like he used to help create anti-war positions?
Just a thought…
First, an electoral liability does not equal electoral defeat. Blair beat back challenges stemming from Bush and Aznar’s party almost beat them back, but they would have been far stronger had they never allied themselves in Bush.
And no, I don’t grant you that he was exaggerating when they said they wanted him to win. Just this week, the Economist had an article on how Europe supports John Kerry. Even if Kerry had never spoken to these men, the simple truth is that the majoirty of the world wants Bush out of office. Now, their opinions don’t decide our election and I don’t think they should, but the fact that Bush has so destroyed America’s prestige worldwide is a viable campaign issue.
Undoubtedly, Dubya has destroyed American prestige, just like Ronald Reagan did.
And John Kerry? He’ll probably restore it as well as Jimmy Carter did.
* but the fact that Bush has so destroyed America’s prestige worldwide is a viable campaign issue.*
I’m not so sure that I’d want to have the support of Jacque Chiraq & Kim Jong Il hanging around my neck.
And American “prestige” hasn’t been destroyed, Ezra. Last time I checked, there weren’t very many people risking their lives to get into Cuba, France or Korea.
Socialists hate Bush worldwide.
Terrorist sympathizers hate Bush worldwide.
Israel-haters hate Bush worldwide.
The BBC hates Bush.
Al Jazeera hates Bush.
Having that list love John Kerry may win a few blue states, but it’s not necessarily an electoral selling point.
As a sidenote, it might help to clarify the broader european attitude to know what the commisioner of the EU said today: “It has now been shown that you cannot use military force to deal with terrorists.”
Lord…that says it all. I guess all we have to do is ask nicely and they will leave us alone, or just hide our heads in the sand and hope it all goes away.
Could it be that europe is watching a ferocious United States doing exactly what they can no longer do? Apply force in a way that tells our enemies, “You punch us and we break your skull…you kick us and we snap your spine…you shoot us and we smash you into jelly.”
Europe likes to talk since its all they have left. Then again they can always run. Wonder if Spanish patriots are longing for the return of El Cid?
Well, I’ve met with leaders of al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups and they tell me they want Kerry to win, too.
Now, I can’t give you the names of these individuals. But, isn’t it “self-evident” that this is true?
Now a reporter sheephishly, at this late date, says, oh by the way, he said “more leaders”… which, in context, doesn’t appear to change a whole lot, or anything… especially in light of his “not your business” comments.
Yawannaknowwhat’sfunny: how brave mr free expression, atrios, deletes posts making fun of the fact that he’s an underemployed loser.
Hey, it’s a good thing that Philadelphia schools are doing so well that state employees can get paid to blog all day.
“And no, I don’t grant you that he was exaggerating when they said they wanted him to win. Just this week, the Economist had an article on how Europe supports John Kerry. Even if Kerry had never spoken to these men, the simple truth is that the majoirty of the world wants Bush out of office. Now, their opinions don’t decide our election and I don’t think they should, but the fact that Bush has so destroyed America’s prestige worldwide is a viable campaign issue”
Ezra, you sidestep the issue AGAIN. The point is not that European leaders want bush out of office. That’s not news. The point is KERRY CLAIMED TO HAVE SPOKEN WITH THESE LEADERS WHO VOICED THAT POINT TO HIM.
And that claim of Kerry is a lie. Period. End of discussion.
Why do you continually deny this fact?
” but the fact that Bush has so destroyed America’s prestige worldwide is a viable campaign issue”
Ezra, to you, the world must be France, Germany amd the left in England.
Because S. Korea, Japan, Poland, all of the new countries to the EU that Chirac told to “shut up” seem to like us fine. Oh yeah, those people we helped in Iraq also.
I would also submit that “world prestiege” doesn’t come from making nicey nice with nations, but from strength and determination, which we have shown. Nobody respects a paper tiger.
I would further submit that the same people who’s opinion you so value ranked Israel and the US as the #1 and 2 threats to world peace.
You judge a man by his enemies. Seems to me that Pres. Bush has made the right enemies.
M. Scott Eiland
“I’d like to hear the names of Kerry’s “imaginary friends” that lead foreign countries, too.”
They probably hang out in the lounge where Dick Gephardt talks to his friend the billionaire who thinks tax cuts are icky.
Yeah and the reason Dick and george don’t have to answer questions is because of the “R” added to their names.
Just because kerry is a liar doesn’t excuse Georgie and friends.
I suggest shooting them all as that blond bimbo suggest to send a strong message to American politicians that we are tired of lies and want truth in politics.
Kerry, George, Dick, and that lawyer guy from the south would be a good start.
“They probably hang out in the lounge where Dick Gephardt talks to his friend the billionaire who thinks tax cuts are icky.”
Would that be Warren Buffett or George Soros?
I’d suggest that shooting politicians of any stripe is NOT a good way get their attention.
I’d also suggest that one might be more selective in their choice of words. They can come back and bite you in the ass.
Interesting column by Buffett. It’s quite probable that the Senate has stepped on its collective units, here. Not being a tax accountant, it’s hard to see whether this sort of thing would pass through the AMT worksheet unscathed, though. If it does, this is truly a wide, gaping hole.
I think there ought to be a mechanism in the US income tax code so that people can contribute whatever they want, if they feel guilty at earning too much untaxed as Soros seems to think. JMO, of course.
Interestingly enough, Buffet’s zeal for the common man & his fervor at making sure that folks like him don’t have “too much”, don’t make it down the totem pole of his own company, where many hourly employees got 0% raises last year.
It’s not on a web site. I personally know someone who works for one of the companies.
It is a fact.
Next Bush campaign ad: Kerry’s “That’s not your business” and “I voted for it before I voted against it.” We have Kerry the flip-flopper, Kerry the tax-lover, Kerry the elitist all rolled into one with two sentences. What’s Kerry going to do in response (besides use his “Republican attack machine” talking point, which never addresses substance?)