Monday, May 10, 2004
John Kerry said something amazing the other day. He was talking to the Wall Street Journal and was asked about his many attacks on "Benedict Arnold CEOs."
In Virginia on Feb. 10, for example, he said: "We will repeal every single benefit, every single loophole, every single reward for any Benedict Arnold CEO or corporation that take American jobs overseas and stick you with the bill."
But he didn't mean this at all, even as he said it four or five times a day for weeks:
"You know, I called a couple of times to overzealous speechwriters and said 'Look, that's not what I'm saying.' Benedict Arnold does not refer to somebody who in the normal course of business is going to go overseas and take jobs overseas. That happens. I support that. I understand that. I was referring to the people who take advantage of noneconomic transactions purely for tax purposes sham transactions and give up American citizenship. That's a Benedict Arnold. You give up your American citizenship but you want to continue to do business."...
It wasn't he who attacked all those "Benedict Arnold CEOs" but his "overzealous speechwriters." And the minute he discovered it was going on, he called them to say, "Look, that's not what I'm saying."
I mean, OK, it was what he was saying in the narrow technical sense of words emerging from his lips, day after day, night after night, all through primary season. I had a quick rummage through the Nexis database, and found a mere 746 citations for Mr. Kerry and the expression "Benedict Arnold." I myself have been present on three occasions when he attacked "Benedict Arnold CEOs" who "take jobs overseas," and on two of them he didn't have a TelePrompTer or even a script. He just stood in front of us and the words came out of his mouth, almost as if they were what he himself believed.
All politicians flip-flop, and I really do not care. Bush does it all the time, without admission, explanation or, God forbid, apology. Frankly, I have always found that aspect of his personality annoying. Kerry, though, is even worse. He blames his underlings, disavows his family, and parses the language legalistically to explain his own changing positions. Nobody, other than the press corps, wants a President who does not at least appear to support his own people.
UPDATE: Blogger released its new software last night, which includes a "block quote" function, and this is the first post that includes it. No more hideous bold quotes. (I know, I know, I should have picked Moveable Type in the first place, but I haven't worked up the energy to move and convert TigerHawk. Maybe I'll take a day off from work this summer to do it.)