Is Senator John Kerry also “Bush/Cheney Lite”?

Early in this presidential race, Senator Barack Obama abandoned his promise to run a positive campaign by labelling Senator Hillary Clinton with the ultimate insult to a Democrat: he called her “Bush/Cheney Lite”. The reason? Only one issue, which he has repeated over and over (in lieu of a real foreign policy debate): that she voted for the authorization of force in 2002, an authorization which was promised as leverage to get UN inspectors back into Iraq, but which was hijacked by the Bush administration to wage a unilateral war.

In 2004, Democrats rallied around our own party’s hero in war and peace: Senator John Kerry. Much has been made of Kerry’s support for Obama this election season (support which, even with Ted Kennedy thrown in, did not win the state of Massachussets for Obama). But there’s a puzzling double-standard here.

John Kerry voted for the war authorization in 2002. Not only that; according to the statistical rankings at, Kerry has voted with Republicans against Democrats more often than Senator Clinton on issues of war and peace – he ranks 45th of 100 senators in that category where she ranks a more progressive 34th. And that’s her most conservative ranking; on many domestic categories she’s tied with the most progressive members of the Senate.

I supported and voted for John Kerry in 2004, as did all progressives and Democrats. So my question to Senator Obama is: why don’t you call him Bush/Cheney Lite as well? And to all of you Democrats who have taken the bait and vilified Clinton without even reading her Senate floor remarks or examining her very progressive voting record: are you ready to throw Kerry, Biden, Edwards, and everyone else who voted for the authorization under the bus as well, and label them as lite Republicans, when clearly the fault of this war lies not with them but with the reckless Bush administration?

Or could it be that the transparently cynical exploitation of this as a wedge issue might actually wear a little thin if you stop sloganeering, and think about it? After all, before she resigned, Obama’s own top foreign policy advisor Samantha Power basically admitted that everything he’s said about Iraq as a presidential candidate may never actually happen.

I’ll take Hillary’s consistently strong and realistic stance on Iraq today over Obama’s hypocritical waffling and polarization of our party. And I’ll continue to support Hillary, a more progressive Senator than John Kerry, with all my heart in 2008.

Cross-posted at Pan Metron.

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About PanMetron

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7 Responses to Is Senator John Kerry also “Bush/Cheney Lite”?

  1. PanMetron

    Of course the progressives vilifying Hillary won’t throw Kerry under the bus, they are all too busy excusing Obama’s hypocrisy to admit that is what it is.

    The latest hypocrisy comes with his own statements today in Wyoming about being against Iraq, yet he never mentions that he voted against Kerry Feingold and voted to fund the war.

  2. Chuck says:

    I agree that Obama (and Edwards) started the negatives when they had little to loose. I have lost a great deal of respect for Senator Kerry over this, and this after all the grief I took back in the day defending his IWR vote!

    Chuck in Houston

  3. Chuck says:

    Furthermore, the degree to which Obama supporters vilify the Clintons (using Ken Starr and Rush Limbaugh talking points to boot) and in the same breath accuse Senator Clinton of dividing the party stupifies me.

    Chuck in Houston

  4. Chuck

    Good to hear from you…

    I hear you on all levels. I’m pretty saddened by JK myself, though I don’t say much here about it.

    It astounds me that people are so blind. I have made the point here more than a few times that HRC is getting the same treatment JK got from the press in ’04 — only it’s worse in some regards because she’s also getting hit with a lot of sexist crap.

  5. Chuck says:


    This is the weirdest primary season I can ever recall in my 47 years (same age as Obama). I was skeptical of Hillary at first but the longer this goes on the more I respect her. I like Barack too but I think he is just too green. To me, Barack has the stars and Hillary has the scars. For POTUS, I want scars, other things being equal.

    Keep the Faith and GOTV ’08!

  6. Chuck

    “Barack has the stars and Hillary has the scars.” You got that right. I was skeptical too. It took me forever to warm up to a candidate buy little by little she struck me as the one more qualified. Watching the media vilify her constantly also threw me into her corner. The Hillary hatred is way over the top with some people including many liberals and progressives who I used to have a lot of respect for.

    Oh well… let’s just put a damn Dem in the Oval. That’s #1 to me. My preference is HRC.

  7. Chuck says:


    Roger that.

    But I still like my girl Hillary. She is straight-up. But you are right we all have to come out of the other side of this intact.

    Chuck in Houston