Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Flushing Out the Johns

Flushing Out the Johns
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
July 7, 2004

Anyone surprised by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry’s (MA) selection of Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) as the senior John’s running mate for the 2004 race for the White House has undoubtedly been cloistered in a cave in Outer Mongolia or working for the New York Post.

Another Pretty Face?
On its face – Edward’s face – this looks to be a smart choice, as myriad news agencies have said Edwards will appeal to women and young voters. Hmm – is this the liberal media taking a sexist approach by suggesting women will vote for the Johns because Edwards is a pretty face? Where is the NOW gang and other feminists decrying this suggestion? Where is their outrage?

It is preferable to dig deeper than one’s looks when determining who will chart the course for the future of this great nation. Sure, Sen. Edwards has a youthful appearance (age 51), and yes, he is charismatic and smart – North Carolina State University undergraduate and University of North Carolina School of Law. But, as with Sen. Kerry, who served his country in Vietnam, it is important to study what the two Johns have done while in the US Senate.

Both men supported the current military actions in Iraq, but neither voted for the $87 billion in supplemental funding. Genuine concern has been raised regarding the fitness of the two Johns to properly arm and defend the United States during a time of war. Don’t take my word for it. Take the word of liberal stalwart and former Mayor of New York City, Edward I. Koch. “I do not agree with President Bush on a single major, controversial, domestic issue, whether it's tax reductions or health care. But he has been superb both on the war on terror and on Israel. That is why I am voting for him. I don't believe the Democrats have the stomach for the fight against international terrorism.”

Shalom Senators
Koch continued, saying, “In my book, the three presidents who have been the most stalwart friends of Israel are, in order, George W. Bush (43, as they call him, not 41), Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. … John Kerry conveyed his lack of knowledge on the subject of Israel when he stated that he would on election appoint either former president Jimmy Carter or former Secretary of State James Baker, both hostile to Israel, as his representative to the Mideast negotiations.”

In addition to Kerry’s lack of knowledge as aptly described by Koch, is Edwards’ clear display of ignorance in 1998 as quoted in Charles Peters’ article “Tilting at Windmills,” that appeared in Washington Monthly in June 2003.

“One evening while he was campaigning for the Senate in North Carolina, Edwards was faced with a choice of several events he might attend. An advance man suggested, ‘Maybe we ought to go to the reception for Leah Rabin’ Edwards responded, ‘Who’s she?’ ‘Yitzhak Rabin’s widow,’ replied the aide. ‘Who was he?’ asked Edwards.”

Additionally, in none of the 74 bills Edwards sponsored since joining the Senate in 1999 has included language regarding Israel or the Jewish community. Edwards also voted against bills funding aid to Israel in Fiscal Years 2000 and 2001.

Pocket Picking Liberals                                                          
The two Johns have called for the repeal of the Bush tax cuts, are against the repeal of the “death tax,” have already stated they would raise the taxes on capital gains and reinstate the dividend taxes. Corporate America will suffer at the hands of the two Johns, ultimately forcing people to lose jobs. As increased taxes and greater regulation puts a stranglehold on American corporations they will find more ways to cut costs – exporting jobs and cutting American payrolls is just one example.

Both senators support abortion rights, although Kerry recently said he believes life begins at conception and that he personally opposes the life-ending procedure. Yet, he and Edwards voted against the ban on procedure commonly known as partial birth abortion. The two senators are ideological soul mates. Take the word of the non-partisan National Journal, having rated John Kerry the most liberal US Senator and John Edwards the fourth most liberal US Senator. That’s only a little bit surprising considering their main competitions are Senators Edward Kennedy (MA), Barbara Boxer (CA), Russ Feingold (WI), Barbara Mikulski (MD) and Charles Schumer (NY). This is the most liberal ticket since George McGovern chose Sergeant Shriver as a running mate in 1972. The end result? Richard M. Nixon trounced McGovern 49 states to one – McGovern winning the typically liberal Massachusetts and not even his home state of South Dakota.

Absent-minded Senators
While running first and fourth in the liberal category, Kerry and Edwards run first and second, respectively, in attendance. More accurately, lack of attendance, as Kerry has missed the most votes this year with Edwards missing the second most votes. Kerry has already undergone scrutiny from his home state of Massachusetts as several lawmakers have called for the junior senator to resign his seat in order to fill it with a working and voting senator. And when asked about her working experience with the senior senator from North Carolina, Elizabeth Dole (R), the junior senator from the Tar Heel State replied that having only been a colleague of Edwards’ for one year, it’s hard to evaluate since he is so often absent.

Kerry on Edwards
If the two senators are so ideologically matched, save for Kerry opposing the death penalty and Edwards supporting it, what is the point of having Edwards on the ticket? Aside from Edwards’ folksy charm going up against Vice President Dick Cheney’s appearance of quiet brooding, which will only be exhibited in one face to face debate on October 5.

Will Edwards bring the South to the Democratic column on Election Day?

Not according to Kerry, who in February of this year said, “Edwards says he’s the only one who can win states in the South… He can’t win his own state.”

Does the freshman senator bring experience to the table?

Not according to Kerry, again commenting this year, when he said of Edwards, “In the Senate four years – and that is the full extent of public life – no international experience, no military experience…”

“Mr. Edwards has spent only a few years in public life. When he departs from a stump speech and discusses domestic issues or – particularly – foreign affairs, his lack of experience shows,” said Kerry earlier this year.

There’s no need to listen to Republican rhetoric when John Kerry’s words on his choice for vice president speak volumes.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and political consultant living in Alexandria, VA.