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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Sunday, January 26, 2003


Dean rips Kerry for two-sided policy on Iraq

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, January 26, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
From the Boston Herald, more about Dean's criticism of Kerry's inconsistency about war with Iraq:

During a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Dean noted tartly that Kerry (D-Mass.) and other Democratic White House hopefuls voted last fall to give President Bush authority to use military force against Iraq.

``Now they're trying to say, ``We tried to constrain the president,' '' Dean told reporters in the leadoff primary state. ``Nonsense. They all voted to give the president a blank check.''
Dean's sharp words came as Kerry delivered a major foreign policy address at Georgetown University, ripping into Bush for failing to build international support as he pushes toward a risky war with Iraq.

``I say to the president, show respect for the process of international diplomacy because it is not only right, it can make America stronger - and show the world some appropriate patience in building a genuine coalition,'' Kerry said. ``Mr. President, do not rush to war.''

After his speech, Kerry took heat from a student questioner who asked him to explain how he could have voted to approve the use of force against Iraq in his Senate vote last fall while now criticizing Bush's push toward war.

``I don't see any inconsistency at all,'' said Kerry, noting that at the time of his Senate vote, he called on Bush to work with the U.N. before going to war.

``I believe leaving this man (Saddam Hussein) unfettered with nuclear weapons is unacceptable,'' added Kerry.

Kerry contradicts himself with his last statement, by basically endorsing Bush's characterization of the Iraq war as all about WMD. Kerry is trying to have it both ways. His comment that he "called on Bush" to work with the UN is irrelevant - after all, Bush technically DID consult with the UN. And if he really wanted to "call on" Bush to do anything, he should have voted no.

Reading to the end of the article, Kerry tried to critique Bush, but is unable to do so with the same clarity as Dean, given that he is hamstrung by his own record:

Kerry sketched a broad vision urging enlightened American engagement with nations and cultures that are the breeding grounds for terrorism such as the Arab world.

``I am here today to reject the narrow vision of those who would build walls to keep the world out - or who would prefer to strike out on our own instead of forging coalitions,'' said Kerry. ``As much as some in the White House may desire it, America can't opt out of a networked world.''

The United States, Kerry said, should work with Arab nations to build democracies and encourage economic development. ``What America needs today is a smarter, more comprehensive and far-sighted policy for modernizing the Middle East,'' said Kerry.

Does any of this make any sense? "enlightened American engagement" ? "work with" Arab nations? "more comprehensive" policy? These are empty words that sound like critiqe but have absolutely no meaning. Unlike Dean, who has invoked the Marshall Plan and has been very specific, Kerry is floundering with empty rhetoric, the kind that conservatives will have absolutely no problem tearing apart into the empty shreds that they are.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.