I'm John Kerry and I
approved this fantasy message
to pick which piece of White House re-election propaganda most insults our
intelligence – there's so much to choose from!
President Bush's “compassion” hoax – that is, pretending to care about those in
need yet looking the other way while (say) a record 44 million Americans go
without health coverage. There's the deficit hoax – that is, pitching us on the
absurd notion that Bush is fiscally responsible even as he's squandered record
surpluses and is racking up the biggest deficits in history.
winner (at least for now – the night is still young!) has to be the ad Bush is
running in 18 swing states to “persuade” Americans that John Kerry doesn't
support our troops in Iraq. And the most offensive part of this most insulting
of appeals is the way it takes a Kerry video clip out of context in which the
Massachusetts senator tells an audience, “I actually did vote for the $87
billion before I voted against it.”
thinks this is thigh-slapping proof that Kerry is pure waffler. In fact, Kerry's
full point shows precisely the opposite. If I were Kerry, I'd use this fight
over the funding for Iraq to showcase the difference between his values and the
president's on a choice where the vast majority of Americans would side with
would that sound like? Let's go to the videotape.
Kerry in suit and tie talking to camera):
Bush is attacking me in a cynical and preposterous ad that says I don't support
our troops in Iraq.
He's making fun of the fact that I voted for money for Iraq on one vote
before voting against his plan to pay for the war on another. Once you
know the facts, I think you'll be as disappointed as I am that this is the kind
of discourse to which an American president would stoop.
the facts: George Bush is having our children pay for Iraq. He has put $160
billion so far on our kids' credit card to pay for a war we chose to wage. We
are running record budget deficits of over half a trillion dollars a year
because George Bush says our children should pay for their parents' war.
was different. My plan was to pay to finish the job in Iraq by repealing some of
the tax cuts that George Bush gave to the best-off Americans.
well-off American I've asked has told me they would have gladly supported such a
plan. They feel, as I do, that it is un-American to stick our children with
debts for today's wars in order to preserve big tax cuts for people at the top.
It's just wrong.
voted for my plan to pay for our own choices today, and against President Bush's
plan to slip our children the bill so that he could give tax cuts to the
wealthiest. I can't think of a clearer way to show you how my values differ from
those of this White House. You'll be choosing between these values come November.
challenge President Bush to stop hiding behind slick attack ads and to explain,
from his own mouth, and in more than hit-and-run sound bites, why my plan to pay
for the war we've chosen to fight today isn't more responsible than the Bush
plan to stick our kids with the bill for a war he's mismanaging – all in order
to give tax cuts to those who need them least.
Kerry and I approved this message because one of the choices you face this fall
is whether you want a leader who will finally trust you with the truth – or one
who can only achieve his goals by misleading you or insulting your intelligence.”
Matthew Miller, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, is the author
of "The Two Percent Solution: Fixing America's Problems in Ways Liberals and Conservatives Can Love." Reach him at
© 2004 MATTHEW MILLER
DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA