George Bush seeks to paint John Kerry as an aimless wanderer, skipping merrily down the halls of Congress, casting votes with gay abandon and without regard to consistency. And while Kerry hasn't helped his case by saying things like "I voted for it, before I voted against it," listening only to the Bush camp isn't a wise course either. So in the greatest tradition of giving the other side of the story, I'm going to give you the perspective the Bush camp doesn't want you to hear. I'm sure that I will get a phone call from Bush, accusing me of being a soft-money supporter of Kerry and try to put us both in jail for campaign finance wrong-doings, but I'll run the risk because I care about all of you knowing the truth.
So let's have it. Below are Bush's flip flops, and the reasons for Kerry's. I'll update both lists as new ones arise.
Bush George (see, I flip-flopped the names there...aren't I clever)...
1) Bush devoutly opposed the creation of the Department of Homeland Security as proposed by the Democrats in the months that followed 9-11. Several months later, he went on national TV to demand it's creation. He even went as far as using it on the 2002 and now 2004 campaign trail as a measure of how well he has handled the war on terror.
2) Bush was against the creation of a Committee to look into the intelligence failures that lead up to 9-11 until the pressure from other Republicans and the families of the victims convinced him to change his mind.
3) Bush was adamant that Condoleeza Rice not testify publicly before the 9-11 Committee. Until weeks later when it was pointed out to him that other Presidents had allowed their NSA chief to speak publicly and on the record to similar committees in the past (as in after the bombing of Pearl Harbor). Not only a flip-flop, but it was brave "leadership" only after he found out that everyone else thought it was ok.
4) Bush felt that the subject of Gay marriage was best left to the States to decide. Then he proposed the creation of a Constitutional amendment several months later.
5) Bush ran on a platform of fiscal conservatism and promised fiduciary discipline. He then proceeded to run up the largest deficit in real dollars that this country has ever seen.
6) Bush was for imposing steel tariffs on imports from other countries to protect American jobs in that industry. Then the EU complained about them and Bush caved. Whether you agree with the tariffs or not, Bush flip-flopped.
7) Bush was against the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate reform bill, feeling that we didn't need the creation of an independent body to oversee corporate accounting. A few months later, after the WorldCom debacle, suddenly Bush was caught saying "I look forward to prompt action by the Senate so that I can sign this important legislation into law." Leadership after the fact again. Nice work.
8) Bush was against the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill, which would make soft money contributions to political candidates. Not only did he end up signing it after originally opposing it, now he is attempting to wield it to his advantage against John Kerry. Guess you lucked out on that particular flip, eh Bush.
9) When questioned about the "Mission Accomplished" banner aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln in his speech after the war, Bush stated that the banner was put up by the ship's crew and that his administration had nothing to do with that. Several months later the White House conceeded that not only did they put the banner up, but they also produced and paid for it. Is this flip-flopping or is it just lying?
10) The Baath party used to be bad and Bush felt that there was no way to allow anyone tied to Saddam's regime to stay in power. He felt that he had to completely tear down the military and rebuild it from the ground up, which is why they don't currently have much of a military. However, suddenly Bush feels that the Generals under Saddam are not only good guys who had nothing to do with filling all of the mass graves with hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi's, but that they also should be put in charge of the new armies (i.e. the new head of the Fallujah Protection Army). This is the second sign of a sped up time table for withdrawing from Iraq (the first being an almost instantaneous agreement with Al Sistani to "hand over power" on June 30th, even though it had never been discussed prior to January).
11) And why leave Dick Cheney out of things? During the 2000 election campaign, he had this to say on gay unions, "It's really no one's business in terms of trying to regulate or prohibit behavior in that regard. I think different states are likely to come to different conclusions, and that's appropriate. I don't think there should necessarily be a federal policy in this area." That is before he flip-flopped and betrayed his lesbian daughter, Mary, and proved that he is the mindless 'yes' man that everyone always believed him to be. On the plus side, his wife Lynne is staying true to her beliefs and continues to push for states rights in this regard.
Why John Kerry changed his mind a few times...
1) Kerry was against the first war, but for the second. Was that a flip flop or was it two entirely different wars? It was the latter if you missed it. He was against the first because he didn't want to meddle in a middle-eastern problem. One that ultimately, regardless of how much money the US pours into it, is going to have to be sorted out by the middle-east on it's own. And technically Kerry wasn't "for" the second war, he was for granting the President the power to conduct a war if necessary which many people feel never reached that point.
2) First he voted for the $87 billion package for the rebuilding in Iraq (which the Republicans term as 'money for the troops' which is in reality only a small portion of what the money is actually for). When that package was voted down (by Republicans, by the way) he voted against the next package because they removed a line that would have raised the taxes to actually pay for it (by rolling back one of Bushs' earlier tax breaks). He was for the measure, he just didn't want to pay for it with more debt.
3) Kerry is for stricter gun controls, but is an avid hunter. Kerry must be good enough to take down a deer/quail with a rifle, whereas those who attack him for his stance must feel that they need a rocket-propelled grenade or an M-16 to do the same.
4) Kerry is a Veteran, who protested the war when he got home. Kerry fulfilled his obligation to his country, even though he was against the war. When he got home, he tried to lobby to end the war to save the lives of his comrades in arms who were still in harms way. Hmm, as I was writing that it struck me as being rather patriotic more than a sign of wavering convictions.
5) Kerry changed his mind regarding the separation wall in Israel. But then again, so did Israel when they saw the impacts it was having and have since started removing some sections. Something there is about a wall (name the poem...) wherein you can't always tell the affect it has until it exists.