September 06, 2004


Could it be that accused segregationist Zell Miller is also an email plagiarist? Well, possibly. He is a Democrat, after all! Hereís a extract from a Kerry-attacking (and misleading, according to Snopes) email that was circulating earlier this year:

He voted to kill the B-1 Bomber
He voted to kill the B-2 Stealth Bomber
He voted to kill the F-14
He voted to kill the F-15 Strike Eagle
He voted to kill the F-16
He voted to kill the AV-8B Harrier Vertical Takeoff and Landing Jet Fighter
He voted to kill the AH-64 Apache Helicopter
He voted to kill the Patriot Anti-Missile System
He voted to kill the Aegis Anti-Aircraft System
He voted to kill the Trident Missile System
He voted to kill the M-1 Abrams Tank
He voted to kill the Bradley Fighting Vehicle
He voted to kill the Tomahawk Cruise Missile

In short, he voted to kill every military appropriation for the development and deployment of every weapons systems since 1988 to include the battle armor for our troops. With Kerry as president our Army will be made up of naked men running around with sticks and clubs.

And hereís an extract from Millerís rousing convention speech:

The B-1 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, dropped 40 percent of the bombs in the first six months of Enduring Freedom.

The B-2 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered air strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Hussein's command post in Iraq.

The F-14A Tomcats, that Senator Kerry opposed, shot down Gadhafi's Libyan MiGs over the Gulf of Sidra.

The modernized F-14D, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered missile strikes against Tora Bora.

The Apache helicopter, that Senator Kerry opposed, took out those Republican Guard tanks in Kuwait in the Gulf War.

The F-15 Eagles, that Senator Kerry opposed, flew cover over our Nation's capital and this very city after 9/11.

I could go on and on and on -- against the Patriot Missile that shot down Saddam Hussein's scud missiles over Israel; against the Aegis air-defense cruiser; against the Strategic Defense Initiative; against the Trident missile, against, against, against.

This is the man who wants to be the commander in chief of our U.S. Armed Forces? U.S. forces armed with what? Spit balls?

Got some big-time similarities there ... although the crucial point is whether Kerry actually did vote against the measures cited in the email and by Miller.

Posted by Tim Blair at September 6, 2004 01:25 PM

The "crucial point"? If Dick Cheney and the first Bush also opposed the defence bills in question, that would be a crucial and rather hypocritical point, would it not?

Posted by: Michael at September 6, 2004 at 01:46 PM

Interesting thoughts are struck here!

By the Congress links from Snopes, Kerry did vote "Nay" on all three measures; there is a by name vote tally. So, in general, he did vote against these weapon systems.

But, as Snopes points out, that "Nay" vote may not have been against these particular systems as opposed to something. It's hard to say. Either Kerry has to say what his intent was, or there might be some committee reports with Kerry's statements on record to show his leaning. Misleading indeed. One has to draw their own conclusion.

Me, I'm more concerned about his over all Senate record, than a few specific votes. 20 years as a Senator, and his attendance has been poor, and accomplishments minor. This is hardly a qualification for President.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at September 6, 2004 at 01:57 PM


Cheney was trying to manage the military budget. As the Snopes site states, Cheney said:

"You can't have all three. We don't have the money for all three." So I recommended that we cancel the AH-64 program two years out. That would save $1.6 billion in procurement and $200 million in spares over the next five years.

The military departments (since they are bureaucracies) tend to pour good money after bad, and still ask for more. Cheney, at that time, was trying to haul the reins in. In retrospect, it's good he didn't, because the Apache is a good weapons system.

But hindsight is always 20/20, and second guessing a manager (as Cheney was while Secretary of Defense) can hardly come to the conclusion of hypocrisy.

I'd say we'd need to know why Kerry voted against those bills before crying "Hypocrisy!"

Posted by: The Real JeffS at September 6, 2004 at 02:06 PM

Actually the patriot missiles didn't take out the scuds. Even the Pentagon admitted this long ago.

Posted by: Homer Paxton at September 6, 2004 at 03:06 PM

Homer, yes they did. What the Pentagon was "admitting to" was that they did not destroy the missles' warheads. A good analogy would be claiming that shooting down an aircraft, but not the destroying the bombs it was carrying, would be a "failure" of air defenses. Especially if those bombs caused casualties on the ground.

Posted by: Spiny Norman at September 6, 2004 at 03:31 PM

OK, I'll bite. What has the Patriots hitting/not hitting SCUDS have to do be with how Zell described Kerry's voting record?

Oh, wait. Homer Paxton posted that comment. Excuse me, now I understand why the question was so odd. My bad!

Posted by: The Real JeffS at September 6, 2004 at 03:32 PM

Um, speaking of being inaccurate and grossly misleading...

According to Zell Miller, he got the info about the military programs Kerry opposed from a Kerry campaign press release from back in the '80s that specifically stated that Kerry opposed those programs and wanted to cancel them.

I wasn't able to find a copy of the press release online, but I don't think Zell Miller would make that up.

Posted by: rosignol at September 6, 2004 at 03:33 PM

Really, rosignol? That would be interesting to see! Not to mention ironic.

And you have a point that I didn't consider -- Miller is too smart to make stuff up for a nation wide TV speech. He'll have supporting information. But I doubt that the press release was from the 80's, since all of the bills were in 1990 or 1995 (check the Snopes link).

Posted by: The Real JeffS at September 6, 2004 at 04:20 PM

Senator Miller's speech was based on this Kerry memo, which he was distributing in his 1984 Senate run in which he advocated the cancellation of a whole raft of weapons systems.

The particularly telling bit about this is that given the procurement cycle times for major weapons systems, it would have been at least a good decade before alternate systems could have been fielded.

Most of the rebuttals to this memo have tried to shift the focus from his campaign platform to his actual voting record (which still isn't altogether that spectacular). Some of the other attempts have tried to tar Cheney with the post-Cold War peace dividend. These attempts still fail to mention that while Bush & Cheney wanted a 25% cut in armed forces, under Clinton, the military budget was cut by something closer to 40%. At the end of the day, we went from a total of more than 54 combat brigades in 1991 to something closer to 30 brigades. So even in those cases where Kerry did vote for some defense appropriations, he sure as heck didn't stanch the bleeding.

Posted by: Bravo Romeo Delta at September 6, 2004 at 04:29 PM

Yeah, also linked here:

There are two distinct time periods in this discussion, circa 1984 and circa 1991. In 1984, at the height of the Cold War, Kerry wanted to gut the US military. This memo is probably a better reflection of his desires than his actual voting record, since (as Kerry supporters point out!) he was making votes on large omnibus bills and under party discipline, while the memo reflects his personal wish list. The post-Cold War era has him on somewhat more solid ground, but it's dishonest for Kerry supporters to conflate his 1984 wish list with Republican policies in 1991.

Posted by: Ernst Blofeld at September 6, 2004 at 05:42 PM

The 1992 edition of the authoritative Almanac of American Politics had this to say about Kerry: "He has been a reliable vote for lower defense spending and a less assertive foreign policy." They don't bother to fill in the first point because it was obvious. The second they illustrate with his opposition to throwing Saddam out of Kuwait, in which he opposed the United Nations and most of the nations in the world.

Whether Zell Miller was right in all his particulars I do not know -- and don't much care. That Kerry opposed many weapons systems in the past is simply indisputable. And, he now opposes much of what Bush wants to do on missile defense.

Posted by: Jim Miller at September 6, 2004 at 11:37 PM

If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend the Hardball in which Miller ripped Chris Matthews a new one. It was a joy to behold. Video here, transcript here.

Posted by: Ken Summers at September 6, 2004 at 11:50 PM

John Kerry clearly has a history of cancelling weapons systems, or at least cutting them back.

From that, I conclude that when John Kerry voted "Nay", he was voting against those systems in particular.

Should someone send that memo to Snopes?

Posted by: The Real JeffS at September 7, 2004 at 12:39 AM

BRD also brings up a good point in the "Bush is gonna bring back the draft" scare tactic used by the left. We know that the draft is unecessary simply because of the former levels of military manning. Not that it has stopped Democrat lawmakers from trying to push a draft and implying that it's the Bush administration doing it.

Thanks Charlie Rangel.

Posted by: Kalroy at September 7, 2004 at 01:16 AM

The Snopes link does not show that Kerry ever voted for a single one of the weapons systems that Miller said Kerry had opposed. All it says is that *maybe* Kerry had other reasons for voting against the appropriations bills. Well, maybe he did, and maybe he didn't -- but the Snopes link sheds no light on this whatsoever, as Tim rightly notes.

Posted by: Patterico at September 7, 2004 at 08:18 AM

Tony Pierce really needs to quit commenting on politics if he wants a reputation as anything but an internet dummy. But the Zell/Freddy Kruger Photoshop was funny.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at September 7, 2004 at 09:07 AM

Two things:

The 1984 memo (linked by Bravo Romeo Delta above) shows that Kerry's campaign position was to cancel most of the weapons systems under contention.

The Snopes links to the Senate voting records in fact show that Kerry voted "Nay" on each of the three bills with those same weapon systems.

Now, we don't know if Kerry changed his position(hardly a new thing for him) between 1984 and 1990/1995. But the sequence of events demonstrates that he probably voted against the weapon systems. This is not conclusive, I agree; it's probably circumstantial evidence.

But Kerry's behavior is important to consider as well. He apparently did carry out his campaign promises, which means he did not change his position (a rare event for him). Of course, he could use his "I was for the bill before I voted against it" approach. That has potential.

But he now stands having to prove a negative by showing he voted against the bill for other reasons. Possible, but difficult. I don't envy him.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at September 7, 2004 at 09:33 AM