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Friday, September 5, 2003
Kerry: Gore Part II?

By Steven Taylor @ 6:40 am

While the examples are not as egregious, I am starting to think that Kerry has Al Gore’s problem of embellishing the truth because he so badly wants to win. In Gore’s case it was stuff like the whole inventing the internet brouhaha, or worse, remembering a trip to Texas with FEMA officials that didn’t happen, amongst others. Kerry less makes stuff up, as tries to re-interpret the past to fit his current political needs, like telling Russert on MTP the other day that the reason he was running for the Presidency was that he was angry at the way the Bush administration had executed the war. While he may well be angry at the way the administration has run the war, it is manifestly untrue that that was Kerry’s motivation for running, since he was obviously in the race well before the war started.

However, it sounded good.

Indeed, Kerry is trying to re-interpret much about his recent political past vis-a-vis Iraq, as Charles Krauthammer points out:

In relaunching his presidential campaign on Tuesday, John Kerry did not just recalibrate his campaign. He recalibrated his position on the war in Iraq. In his announcement speech, he claimed that he had voted just to “threaten'’ war with Iraq, which is an odd way to characterize voting in favor of a resolution that explicitly authorizes the president to go to war if and when he pleases.

I bring up Gore because I think that one of Gore’s weaknesses was the perception (that I think was accurate) that he wasn’t always genuine, and that, specifically, he wanted to win so badly that he was willing to lie if it helped him. Indeed, it sometimes seemed that he couldn’t help himself.

While Kerry hasn’t made anything up, per se, I think that he is going to be tagged, mostly by Dean (who is perceived as the straight-shooter in this race), about this “flexibility” in interpreting the past. And I think it will damage him. He comes across not as someone running on convictions as much as someone tweaking convictions and finding motivations to support the running.

Filed under: US Politics

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  1. I bet there’s a lot of politicians out there who wish their voting record was subject to such . . . a flexible interpretation.

    “Today, Sen. Bob Graham says he co-authored and voted for the Patriot Act on the basis that he was trying to threaten domestic terrorists. He says he doesn’t actually support the Act itself.”

    Comment by Matthew — Friday, September 5, 2003 @ 6:46 am

  2. Indeed. :)

    Comment by Steven — Friday, September 5, 2003 @ 7:57 am

  3. Exactly right - Kerry wanting to have it all ways is a hairbreadth away from lying and certainly no better than Gore’s shading of the truth.

    He’s really damaged goods now.

    Comment by Eric Lindholm — Friday, September 5, 2003 @ 9:31 am

  4. It isn’t a good sign for a candidate when he has to “reintroduce” himself before things have barely gotten started.

    Comment by Steven — Friday, September 5, 2003 @ 9:57 am

  5. “Kerry less makes stuff up, as tries to re-interpret the past to fit his current political needs…”

    Uhhhh…. haven’t you just described every politician?

    Comment by Eric — Friday, September 5, 2003 @ 11:12 am

  6. What I am trying to say is that Kerry is rather brazen in this actvity, and is not just trying to put the best face on past activities, but is really fabricating the past to suit the present. I am trying not to say “lying” but perhaps that is the only appropriate word.

    Comment by Steven — Friday, September 5, 2003 @ 2:34 pm

  7. Greetings,

    Im no great fan of Al Gore, but Im also no great fan of perpetuating a misconception.

    Gores remark about his involvement in the creation of the Internet took place on March 9, 1999 during CNN’s “Late Edition” show. Specifically, what Gore said was “I took the initiative in creating the Internet.”

    The fact of the matter is that he did.

    In 1986, Gore wrote in favor for funding of the National Science Foundation Authorization Act. That was only one year after Dennis Jennings chose TCP/IP as the protocol for the planned National Science Foundation Network (NSFnet). Isnt that what you call taking the initiative?

    Lets put Gores action into historical context, not Coulteresque hyperbole. When Gore endorsed the NSFnet, the IBM PC was only four years old. The Apple II computer was still in widespread use. The number of hosts on the Internet was 5,089. Entire universities were just beginning to make their initial online connection. Isnt it fair to say that the Internet was literally being created?

    In 1988, Gore argued for the creation of a high-capacity national data network. He urged the federal government to consolidate several dozen different and unconnected networks into an “Interagency Network.” He worked with the Reagan and Bush administrations, to secure the passage of the High Performance Computing and Communications Act.

    Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn, who designed the basic architecture and the core protocols that make the Internet work (and gives you the technology to snipe about Gore), have gone on record confirming Gore’s role in U.S. Internet development.

    No other elected official to our knowledge, they said, has made a greater contribution over a longer period of time.

    Writing about Gore they concluded, The Vice President deserves credit for his early recognition of high speed computing and communication and for his long-term and consistent articulation of the potential value of the Internet to American citizens and industry and, indeed, to the rest of the world.

    A word of advice: Next time you give an example of a political lie or embellishment be sure its not your own.

    Nathan Callahan

    Comment by Nathan Callahan — Friday, September 5, 2003 @ 2:39 pm

  8. You have to admit, he did not help “create” the interent. I think it is far clsoer to the truth to say that he helped a great deal in its growth. ARPANET, USENET, BITNET and other elements of what we now refer to as the internet existed well before the time period you are talking about. So I stand by that as an example of an exaggeration that was the hallmark of Gore’s discourse.

    Check out this timeline, for example.

    Indeed, the whole point is that instead of just saying he was a “supporter” of the development of the internet, or that he was involved in key funding that helped the internet grow, he had to make himself sound almost like the father of the internet.

    I can accept, however, that it hardly is the most egregious example. Mostly I find that one amusing.

    And even if you drop that one from the post, you still have the whole “Love Story” being based on he and Tipper and the the FEMA example from the first debate with Bush still stands. Even if you want to split hairs on the internet quote, I don’t think that it obviates the basic point.

    Comment by Steven — Friday, September 5, 2003 @ 3:08 pm

  9. Comment by Deleter Spy — Monday, July 12, 2004 @ 2:58 am

  10. Comment by Anonymous — Tuesday, August 10, 2004 @ 3:06 pm

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