The Truth Isn't Out There

Good read that pretty much sums up my feelings on the RNC.

Those on this forum who have derided claims that the republican campaign has distorted the truth or outright lied in order to smear Kerry, and have wondered why we would be prone to discount outrageous claims made in order to discredit him - do you have a response to this article? It contains a series of well documented lies made at the convention, in which every single speech was vetted and approved, word for word, by the chiefs of the party. Nothing was allowed to be said at the convention that was not said with the express approval of the party. So, how do you defend the lies?

The lies only matter when they are

A) Completely alleged hearsay from dubious sources no self-respecting lawyer would admit
B) Thirty years old
C) Not contradicting the bought-and-sold views of fearful neocons who shat their pants post-9/11

• Kerry did not cast a series of votes against individual weapons systems, as Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.) suggested in a slashing convention speech in New York late Wednesday, but instead Kerry voted against a Pentagon spending package in 1990 as part of deliberations over restructuring and downsizing the military in the post-Cold War era.

• Both Vice President Cheney and Miller have said that Kerry would like to see U.S. troops deployed only at the direction of the United Nations, with Cheney noting that the remark had been made at the start of Kerry’s political career. This refers to a statement made nearly 35 years ago, when Kerry gave an interview to the Harvard Crimson, 10 months after he had returned from the Vietnam War angry and disillusioned by his experiences there. (President Bush at the time was in the Air National Guard, about to earn his wings.)

• President Bush, Cheney and Miller faulted Kerry for voting against body armor for troops in Iraq. But much of the funding for body armor was added to the bill by House Democrats, not the administration, and Kerry’s vote against the entire bill was rooted in a dispute with the administration over how to pay for $20 billion earmarked for reconstruction of Iraq.

In remarks prepared for delivery last night, Kerry denounced the Republican convention for its “anger and distortion” and criticized Cheney for avoiding the military draft during the Vietnam era.

One document frequently cited by Republicans is a 350-word article in the Boston Globe, written when Kerry was lieutenant governor of Massachusetts and battling to win the Democratic nomination for senator in 1984 – a period of soaring deficits in the wake of a huge defense buildup by President Ronald Reagan. Calling for a “strong defense,” the article said, Kerry proposed to slow the rate of growth in defense spending by canceling 27 weapons systems, in part to reduce the deficit and also restore cuts Reagan had made in domestic programs.

While Cheney said Kerry opposed Reagan’s “major defense initiatives,” the campaign does not cite any votes against such defense programs while Reagan was president, relying instead on a campaign speech before he was elected senator.

Six years later, Kerry took part in a complex and serious debate in Congress over how to restructure the military after the Cold War.

Cheney, at the time defense secretary, had scolded Congress for keeping alive such programs as the F-14 and F-16 jet fighters that he wanted to eliminate. Miller said in his speech that Kerry had foolishly opposed both the weapons systems and would have left the military armed with “spitballs.” During that same debate, President George H.W. Bush, the current president’s father, proposed shutting down production of the B-2 bomber – another weapons system cited by Miller – and pledged to cut defense spending by 30 percent in eight years.

Though Miller recited a long list of weapons systems, Kerry did not vote against these specific weapons on the floor of the Senate during this period. Instead, he voted against an omnibus defense spending bill that would have funded all these programs; it is this vote that forms the crux of the GOP case that he “opposed” these programs.

On the Senate floor, Kerry cast his vote in terms of fiscal concerns, saying the defense bill did not “represent sound budgetary policy” in a time of “extreme budget austerity.” Much like Bush’s father, he singled out the B-2 bomber for specific attention, saying it is “one of the most costly, waste-ridden programs in a long history of waste, fraud and abuse scandals that have plagued Pentagon spending.”