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View Full Version : Zell Miller's attack on Kerry outdated - per FactCheck



Bandit2981
09-03-2004, 07:42 PM
www.factcheck.org/article.aspx?docID=252 (http://www.factcheck.org/article.aspx?docID=252)

Miller slams Kerry for opposing bombers, fighters, and helicopters. That WAS true 20 years ago but not lately.

Summary

Sen. Zell Miller, the Georgia Democrat who delivered the Republican National Convention's keynote address Sept. 1, said Kerry "opposed" weapons including the B-1, B-2, F-14, F-15, and Apache helicopters. "This is the man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of our US Armed Forces?" Miller exclaimed. "Armed with what? Spitballs?"

Miller said "Americans need to know the facts" about Kerry's record, but his applause-getting recital is a decade or so out of date. Kerry did oppose all the weapons Miller cited when he was a candidate for the Senate in 1984, and did vote against the B-2 bomber, Trident nuclear subs and "star wars" anti-missile system more than a decade ago. Kerry also voted in three different years against the entire Pentagon budget.

But in his nearly 20 years in office Kerry's record has evolved. Kerry hasn't opposed an annual Pentagon appropriation since 1996. And he's voted for them far more often than against them.

Analysis

This is a Republican line of attack that we first took on back in February. Nothing much has changed. Miller was a bit more careful in his wording than some previous Republican critics, and avoided saying anything factually incorrect.


Zell Miller's Spitball

(excerpt from keynote speech to Republican National Convention)

Miller: But Americans need to know the facts. The B-1 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, dropped 40 percent of the bombs in the first six months of Enduring Freedom.
The B-2 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered air strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Hussein's command post in Iraq. The F-14A Tomcats, that Senator Kerry opposed, shot down Gadhafi's Libyan MiGs over the Gulf of Sidra.
The modernized F-14D, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered missile strikes against Tora Bora.
The Apache helicopter, that Senator Kerry opposed, took out those Republican Guard tanks in Kuwait in the Gulf War.
The F-15 Eagles, that Senator Kerry opposed, flew cover over our Nation's capital and this very city after 9/11.
I could go on and on and on -- against the Patriot Missile that shot down Saddam Hussein's scud missiles over Israel; against the Aegis air-defense cruiser; against the Strategic Defense Initiative; against the Trident missile, against, against, against.
This is the man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of our U.S. Armed Forces?
U.S. forces armed with what? Spit balls?

Kerry the 1984 Candidate

Miller didn't say that Kerry voted against the weapons on the list he rattled off, only that he opposed them. And indeed Kerry did, in 1984, as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Senate from Massachusetts.

All the weapons cited by Miller are listed in a memo from the 1984 Kerry campaign, which we posted along with our Feb. 26 article on Republican distortions of Kerry's defense record. In that 1984 memo Kerry called for "cancellation" of the very weapons Miller cited.

Kerry the Senator

Once elected, however, Kerry's voting record evolved. He did cast votes more than a decade ago against the B-2 Stealth Bomber in 1989, 1991 and 1992. But by 1992 even President Bush (the current incumbent's father) was calling for cancellation of the B-2 and promising to cut military spending by 30% in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was no secret -- Bush did that in his 1992 State of the Union address. But Miller left out that little detail.

Miller did avoid some earlier Republican excesses, as when Miller's fellow Georgia senator, Republican Saxby Chambliss, told reporters on Feb. 21 in a Bush campaign conference call with reporters that Kerry had a "a 32-year history of voting to cut defense programs and cut defense systems." Since Kerry has only been in Congress for just under 20 years, the Chambliss statement was an impossibility. Republicans have also accused Kerry of voting against more mainstream weapons including the M-1 Abrams tank and the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, but have been unable to cite any specific votes against those weapons. The best they can do is point to occasional votes Kerry cast against the entire Pentagon budget, which hardly constitutes opposition to any specific weapon.

Kerry voted against the entire Pentagon appropriations bills in 1990 and 1995. Kerry also voted against the Pentagon authorization bills (which provide authority to spend but not the actual money) in those years and also in 1996 . However, he hasn't opposed an annual Pentagon appropriation since then, nor did he do so in 16 of his 19 years in office. So by the Republicans' own measuring stick, Kerry voted for the weapons they list far more often than he voted against them.

From "Stupid" to "Responsible"

Kerry himself conceded that some of the positions he took 20 years ago were "ill-advised, and I think some of them are stupid in the context of the world we find ourselves in right now and the things that I've learned since then." That was in an interview published in June, 2003 in the Boston Globe. "I mean, you learn as you go in life," Kerry was quoted as saying. He added that his subsequent Senate voting record on defense has been "pretty responsible."

Other Misleading Remarks

Note: This isn't the only misleading claim made at the Republican convention. Miller falsely claimed "Kerry has made it clear that he would use military force only if approved by the United Nations," when in fact Kerry has said no such thing.

And New York Gov. George Pataki made a similarly misleading statement Sept. 2 when he implied that Kerry would "just wait for the next attack" before using military force to defend the US.

What Kerry really said -- in his own acceptance speech -- is this: "I will never hesitate to use force when it is required. Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response. I will never give any nation or international institution a veto over our national security." That's the opposite of what Miller said Kerry "made clear."

But we'll leave those other distortions for another day.

Yonivore
09-03-2004, 07:56 PM
1996 isn't that long ago and Kerry's still voted against them more than any other Senator.

Nice try at rehab.

Bandit2981
09-03-2004, 11:16 PM
cheney recommended many of the same cuts kerry was supporting...i thought your spin on that was "its a different time we live in now"...i guess that doesnt apply when its your hatred for kerry talking

Yonivore
09-03-2004, 11:23 PM
I never said that. I've seen it said, and there may be some truth to that, in that when the cuts were mandated, Secretary Cheney made them in the most judicious and effective manner possible, given the state of our defenses at the time.

But, the bottom line is, I doubt seriously that Secretary Cheney would have suggested any cuts if he had not been mandated to do so by a Demoncratic Congress.

Bandit2981
09-03-2004, 11:25 PM
doesn't the president have power to veto such mandates?

Yonivore
09-03-2004, 11:30 PM
Not with the Congress the way it was during the Bush I administration. I believe it was veto-proof, if I'm not mistaken.

Tommy Duncan
09-04-2004, 12:17 AM
Kerry has been one of the most Dovish senators on defense throughout his time in the Senate. He held those positions at the height of the Cold War. No amount of "fact checking" is going to change what he has consistently advocated throughout his career in federal office.

Tommy Duncan
09-04-2004, 01:20 AM
www.weeklystandard.com/Co...8sgbzm.asp (http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/004/568sgbzm.asp)

The Kerry Record
What John Kerry said about foreign policy and defense in 1984 and 1985.

by Daniel McKivergan
The Weekly Standard
09/03/2004 4:30:00 PM

BEHIND THE STARTLING FLIP-FLOPS, beneath the gauzy rhetoric, what does John Kerry really think about foreign and defense policy? Ranging from his 1971 testimony on Vietnam to his current statements on Iraq and the war on terror, there's a lot to be said. But one good place to start, of course, is his Senate years. Here's an appetizer.

In 1984, Senate candidate Kerry stated that Reagan's "defense buildup . . . is consuming our resources with weapons systems that we don't need and can't use," and that "there's no excuse for casting even one vote for unnecessary weapons of mass destruction . . . and I will never do so." He attacked the Reagan administration in a campaign policy brief for having "no rational plan for our military," and, presaging sentiments he often expresses today with regard to President Bush's national security policies, charged that the "biggest defense buildup since World War II has not given us a better defense. Americans feel more threatened by the prospect of war, not less so." Kerry also proposed a $53 billion cut in Reagan's fiscal year 1985 defense budget and called for the termination of the following defense programs: MX missile, B-1 Bomber, Anti-satellite weapons, Strategic Defense Initiative, AH-64 helicopters, Patriot Air Defense System, Aegis Air-Defense Cruiser, battleship reactivation, AV-8B Harrier jet, F-15, F-14A, F-14D, and the Phoenix and Sparrow air-to-air missiles. Kerry also proposed cutting funds for the Tomahawk cruise missile by half, as well as reductions in other weapons systems.

In 1985, in his
first floor speech as a Senator, Kerry detailed his opposition to President Reagan's policy with regard to the Soviet Union:


In addition, the past 30 years of arms negotiations have demonstrated that the United States resolve to expand its military will prompt a renewed Soviet military buildup, not a mutually satisfactory agreement to reserve the buildup. . . .

Unfortunately, bargaining chips in the form of new weapons, particularly when it is obvious that deployment will proceed no matter what arms talks may produce, are rarely cashed in. In fact we know they frequently add to military power, [and] seldom, if ever, contribute to security or arms control trade-offs. . . .

As my senior colleague, Senator Kennedy succinctly stated, "a bargaining chip is good so long as it is not played. Once played, its only effect is to raise the stakes." The history of bargaining chips is miserable. . . .

It is time that we accept the idea that the Soviet Union is not going to bargain with the United States from a position in which we have grabbed the upper hand through the development of some new technology. They are only going to agree with the United States on arms limitations if they have parity, in overall force capacity. . . .


In 1985, Kerry also sponsored a nuclear freeze resolution--the Comprehensive Nuclear Freeze and Arms Reduction Act of 1985--and traveled to Nicaragua with Iowa Senator Tom Harkin and 10 House Democrats to meet with Sandinista officials. His group was criticized by Secretary of State George Shultz for going to Nicaragua as "self-appointed emissaries to the communist regime."

And John Kerry had just begun. More on his later career next week.


Daniel McKivergan is deputy director at the Project for the New American Century.

scott
09-04-2004, 03:42 AM
So... the title of the thread is "Zell Miller's attack on Kerry outdated" and the great rebuttal is "What John Kerry said about foreign policy and defense in 1984 and 1985"?

Tommy Duncan
09-04-2004, 04:03 AM
It's part of his record and it is rather relevant given that those votes and speeches he made occurred during the Cold War in opposition to Reagan's strategy. Examining his full record displays a pattern of consistent thinking on national defense strategy. The fact that the US began to downsize its military after the collapse of the Soviet Union and Kerry went along with that does not make Kerry's nearly 20 year record as a dovish Senator into something else.

Nbadan
09-04-2004, 06:48 AM
So... the title of the thread is "Zell Miller's attack on Kerry outdated" and the great rebuttal is "What John Kerry said about foreign policy and defense in 1984 and 1985"?

Seems to me that the evidence presented by Fact-check (thanks Scott) against Miller's attack is, well, factual, while the stuff presented by Tommy about Kerry's support for our military is merely opinion. Then again, I've noticed that many libertarians (cough...cough...Republicans) have trouble distinguishing the difference between fact and opinion.

Nbadan
09-04-2004, 06:51 AM
Daniel McKivergan is deputy director at the Project for the New American Century.

:rollin

PNAC!!!! Are you kidding me? Was the other NeoCon faction, the AEI, to busy to comment?

Yonivore
09-04-2004, 09:54 AM
"I voted for the 87 Billion before I voted against it."

Uh, that was in 2002.

He's the same Senator he was in 1984. And, he's the same dovish idiot on the military.

Tommy Duncan
09-04-2004, 01:04 PM
This is not hard to understand:



Miller didn't say that Kerry voted against the weapons on the list he rattled off, only that he opposed them. And indeed Kerry did, in 1984, as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Senate from Massachusetts.

All the weapons cited by Miller are listed in a memo from the 1984 Kerry campaign, which we posted along with our Feb. 26 article on Republican distortions of Kerry's defense record. In that 1984 memo Kerry called for "cancellation" of the very weapons Miller cited.

Again, the man pushed for significant cutbacks in defense spending in the 1980s and against the very weapons systems that Miller rattled off. The fact that he allegedly has changed his tune since the mid-1990s doesn't changed the validity of Miller's criticism. Hence what the original article stated:


Miller was a bit more careful in his wording than some previous Republican critics, and avoided saying anything factually incorrect.

He also pushed for a nuclear freeze back then which was not exactly the best policy. Just because he has gone along with the significant cutbacks in the US military in the post Cold War era, that does not exactly mean that he has changed his view. You can't make this guy into some kind of hawk on defense. He's never been known as that as long as I've followed politics and that's been since the late 80s.

Nbadan
09-06-2004, 07:15 AM
It was pretty clear to anyone who saw all those "W" signs being waved around inside Madison Square Garden that when it comes to the Republican National Convention, "W" stands for "White." But on Wednesday night, "W" also stood for "Wild-eyed," "Wacko," "Whoa, Nellie," and "Whee! I've lost my mind!" Yes, Zell Miller's keynote speech was by far the nuttiest political act since Pat Buchanan's infamous "culture war" meltdown during the 1992 Republican Convention.

You could almost see the steam rising from his collar. Lest we forget, Zell got his start in politics polishing Lester Maddox's axe-handles, and has spent the last forty years seething as the Democratic party moved slowly and inexorably towards progressive policies of inclusion, tolerance and liberty.

On Wednesday night the lid came off the pressure cooker and Zell took out four decades of frustration on the party that left him by the wayside a long time ago. It's really a shame that the content of Zell's speech was so misinformed, since he delivered it with such, uh, fervor. After reaching new heights of nonsensical demagoguery by suggesting that opposing George W. Bush is practically treasonous, and saying that Kerry would defend America with "spitballs," Zell went into specifics - but from the way he read off a long list of weapons systems that John Kerry voted against, you'd never know that the weapons systems were, according to the Washington Post, "mostly derived from a single Kerry vote against a spending bill in 1991, rather than individual votes against particular systems." Not to mention the fact that "The bill was also opposed by five Republican senators at the time, and Cheney, who was defense secretary then, was demanding even deeper cuts in defense spending by Congress." (In case you were wondering, yes, that's Dick Cheney, the guy who just happened to be speaking after Zell.)

Miller also lambasted Democrats for referring to the ongoing conflict in Iraq as an "occupation" rather than a "liberation." But when it was later pointed out to him that George W. Bush has also referred to it as an occupation on multiple occasions, he said, "Well, I don't know about that." Really? Then why did you give a speech where it was one of the central themes of your criticism of the Democrats? How odd! But to be fair, pointing out the gigantic hypocrisies in the content of Zell's speech doesn't really do justice to the manner in which he delivered it. Considering the lengths the GOP went to to hide their nutjobs behind a wall of "compassionate conservatism" during the first two nights of the Convention, it was somewhat unnerving to see Zell Miller's clenched fists and popping eyeballs as he danced on the grave of the politics of hope. Let's see what the pundits thought of his performance:


"I wonder if it was smart to have him out there in such a hot fashion" - George Stephanopoulos

"He looked angry" - Mara Liasson

"Miller went over the line into demagoguery" - Mort Kondracke

"I've never heard such an angry speech" - Bill Schneider

"I don't think I've ever seen anything as angry and ugly as Miller's speech" - Joe Klein

Miller "looked like a spouse at a divorce proceeding who says, 'Oh yeah, she's a child molester too'" - John Harwood

Rave reviews for a raving lunatic.