OP-EDS

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February 6, 2004

Democrats still shouldn't vote Kerry

Josh Steinman refers to presidential candidate John Kerry as "what's next" in his recent column. Kerry is running away in the polls, and this may be so. But will he be, according to his hokey campaign slogan, the "real deal" in a match-up with George W. Bush?

Kerry's record suggests otherwise. While Steinman does offer valid criticism of deficit spending by the President, Kerry has been about as fiscally responsible as Paris Hilton. Kerry routinely votes with the Democratic majority on its spending binges, although he did once vote for a balanced budget amendment. He has not been anything close to a beacon for fiscal responsibility like John McCain or Dianne Feinstein. Kerry's own personal finances cast doubt on how he would manage the finances of the United States. For an example, take Kerry's 1993 tax return, which revealed that he gave $175 to charity out of his $126,000 dollar salary. At the same, time Kerry bought himself an $8,600 Ducati motorcycle. And God only knows how much money he has spent on those Botox injections.

Kerry's departure from Bush's "unilateralism" would in effect give the United Nations veto power over our role in the world. The U.N. has been an unwieldy tool itself, unable to combat extremism, terrorism, anti-Semitism, or AIDS in Africa, and while it is trying, it is not getting the job done. Kerry will soon have to offer answers to these problems.

Steinman accuses Bush of a "credibility gap," after going to war over weapons of mass destruction that were not found. This is the same war that Kerry voted for when it was politically prudent to do so. Other questions of Kerry's credibility exist too. Kerry is claiming to be fighting special-interest influence in politics. However, the Associated Press is reporting that when a U.S. senator was trying to prevent a loophole that would have let Insurer American International Group (AIG) funnel millions of dollars for a construction project, Kerry stepped in and blocked the bill. AIG then paid for Kerry's trips to Vermont and then donated $30,000 to the group that Kerry used to run for president. Company executives donated $18,000 to his campaigns. This from the man decrying the influence of special interests?

While people laude his courage in Vietnam and as a protester, Kerry lacks the backbone to deal with touchy subjects. In a famous 1992 speech at Yale, Kerry called affirmative action an "inherently limited and divisive program," and said that it "actually engenders racism," and that it had helped to "foster a culture of dependency." After getting hammered by the left-wing Boston Globe for two days, Kerry said that his quotes were taken out of context and that "the new focus is on how to build a consensus for social activism." He has stayed away from racial issues ever since, perhaps the most important social problem in our country today. Say what you want about Bush, but his policy initiatives are at least clear.