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He Voted for it, Before he voted agaisnt it - II

Sort of like a bad joke, "Stop me if you've heard this one."

Kerry's stances on Cuba open to attack

John Kerry had just pumped up a huge crowd in downtown West Palm Beach, promising to make the state a battleground for his quest to oust President Bush, when a local television journalist posed the question that any candidate with Florida ambitions should expect:

What will you do about Cuba?

As the presumptive Democratic nominee, Kerry was ready with the bravado appropriate for a challenger who knows that every answer carries magnified importance in the state that put President Bush into office by just 537 votes.

''I'm pretty tough on Castro, because I think he's running one of the last vestiges of a Stalinist secret police government in the world,'' Kerry told WPLG-ABC 10 reporter Michael Putney in an interview to be aired at 11:30 this morning.

Then, reaching back eight years to one of the more significant efforts to toughen sanctions on the communist island, Kerry volunteered: ``And I voted for the Helms-Burton legislation to be tough on companies that deal with him.''

It seemed the correct answer in a year in which Democratic strategists think they can make a play for at least a portion of the important Cuban-American vote -- as they did in 1996 when more than three in 10 backed President Clinton's reelection after he signed the sanctions measure written by Sen. Jesse Helms and Rep. Dan Burton.

There is only one problem: Kerry voted against it.

Asked Friday to explain the discrepancy, Kerry aides said the senator cast one of the 22 nays that day in 1996 because he disagreed with some of the final technical aspects. But, said spokesman David Wade, Kerry supported the legislation in its purer form -- and voted for it months earlier.

It amazes me they would use that same line again.

Humor aside, it is worth following the link. Kerry has some real problems in Florida. I doubt I need to remind anyone reading this the importance of Florida.

Here is just one more snippet.

But there are also constant reminders that Kerry struggles with the complexities of Cuba. Asked in the Herald interview last year about sending EliŠn back to Cuba, Kerry was blunt: ``I didn't agree with that.''

But when he was asked to elaborate, Kerry acknowledged that he agreed the boy should have been with his father.

So what didn't he agree with?

''I didn't like the way they did it. I thought the process was butchered,'' he said.

Cubans are a passionate people who take this issue seriously. Bush is sure to make (if he has not already) at least one campaign stop down there where he will address the crowd in his clumsy but passable version of the spanish language. The Cubans of course don't know he speaks english that way as well.

Bush has strong support from the Cuban community. For Kerry to do well he has to address this issue in a stronger way than he is likely to take the effort to do.

Comments (9)

So he voted against Castro ... (Below threshold)

So he voted against Castro before he voted for him? Truly Amazing

Part of the problem with ru... (Below threshold)

Part of the problem with running on a legislative, rather than an executive, record is that there are all sorts of niggling details that might cause somebody to vote against a bill even though he supports the general concept behind it.

For example, if I support a bill that lifts the embargo on Cuba, but the bill also contains language that tightens sanctions elsewhere, I might end up voting against the bill ... even if I supported an earlier version of it.

"I voted before it before I voted against it" is an idiotic way to summarize it, though. Far more effective might be to break out much of the objectionable language in a bill and note its deleterious effects.


Trouble is, Pennywit, brea... (Below threshold)

Trouble is, Pennywit, breaking out the language of the bills doesn't fit the soundbites.
It's not that I mind, in this case, my only regret is that the political professionals that don't ever run for office, the Carvilles, the Lanny Davises, even the Roves, are all absorbing this.
If ever a decent man or woman from the Senate runs for the Presidency you can bet the same thing will happen.
For that matter, expect the same thing in legislative elections.

You won't believe this, but... (Below threshold)

You won't believe this, but Kerry posted a similar Miami Herald story on his Web site. The story includes this passage: Kerry has been under fire in recent days for his shifting stands on Cuba -- including his assertion in Florida recently that he backed a 1996 law to stiffen sanctions on the communist island even though he actually voted against it on final passage."

Peter -- You're ri... (Below threshold)

Peter --

You're right on that count. But there are ways to say "This bill did A, but it also did X, Y, and Z. Do you want that for your family?"


I first noted a similar sto... (Below threshold)

I first noted a similar story in June, that shows a deeper flaw in Kerry's character than just being a fence straddler on a vote. A small but growing organization called the Varela Project seeks to use a loophole in the Cuban Constitution that allows ordinary citizens to propose legislation if they can gather 10,000 signatures on a petition. They began a petition drive to call for a national plebiscite on five basic human rights: free speech, free elections, freedom to worship, freedom to start businesses, and the freeing of political prisoners. In January the US, thru Sec. Powell signaled limited support for the project.

This is certainly a step in the right direction. One would think Kerry might also think so. Not even close, this is what he said to Andres Oppenheimer of the Miami Herald about the project:

[the Varela Project] "has gotten a lot of people in trouble . . . and it brought down the hammer in a way that I think wound up being counterproductive.".

The same quote can be found at Cubanet, and Ed Driscoll noted a NYT piece in June. Now somebody explain how Mr. Nuance can believe dissent that is legal within the Cuban Constitution and a positive sign that change is happening within the country can be labeled "counterproductive."

What's the point of telling... (Below threshold)

What's the point of telling someone you voted for something in preliminary stages when the only thing that counts, as far as legislation actually taking effect in people's lives, is the final up/down passage? Aside from providing a "I didn't lie; what I MEANT was _____." escape, it doesn't really seem relevant to the audience at hand.

Say there's a piece of legislation that gives $50 to some specific person. A senator can walk up to that person and say, "I voted in favor of giving you that $50". But if he/she voted in favor of defeating the final passage of the bill, why are previous votes relevant? If they had had their way, that bill would be defeated, not passed; it's final passage was in spite of their effort, not because of it.

Marc,Thanks for li... (Below threshold)


Thanks for linking to my site. Now that I'm on MT, this link takes you right to the post.

(Good luck to Wizbang in the Big Apple!)


Stop! There are so many opp... (Below threshold)

Stop! There are so many opportunities with Kerry, it's just not fun anymore. Sort of like clubbing baby seals or something






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