Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Kerry's answer to Bush at the Canyon's edge
Kerry flew to the edge of the Grand Canyon to highlight the Bush administration's neglect of the national park system. But reporters were pressing him on another matter.
Since last month's Democratic National Convention, the senator from Massachusetts has been under mounting pressure to provide a clearer explanation of his views on the war, including why he voted for the congressional resolution authorizing the invasion yet opposing funding for the war.
On Friday, Bush challenged Kerry to answer yes or no to the question of whether he would support the war "knowing what we know now" about the failure to find weapons of mass destruction that U.S. and British officials were certain were there.
In response, Kerry said: "Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it was the right authority for a president to have." [my emphasis]
I listened to an account of this on NPR this morning in the story "Kerry Reaffirms Iraq Stance at Grand Canyon Stop." They seem to have heard his response as support for going to war. That is clearly not what Kerry said.
His response was standard polit-speak: When asked a question, answer another. He did not say that he supported going to war; he said he supported giving the President authority to go to war, which was of course how he voted in the first place.
I don't agree with his position or with his vote, but as a candidate for the Presidency he's hardly going to argue differently. After all, when he assumes office, he will want just as much power as the last President. I don't expect to hear in my lifetime a Presidential candidate arguing that Congress should not delegate its power to declare war to the President. That's an argument that can only be made by the Congress itself—our pathetic Congress.