Any question is fair in the modern political system.
I don’t think many of the questions levied at Bush or Kerry’s past are really relevant to choosing the best leader.
Obviously everyone has their own opinions on what makes a good national leader, but I think that in this case my opinion, that stuff from a person’s young adulthood/pre-political career isn’t of GREAT relevance especially if it was over 20 years ago.
John Kerry has been a Senator for a very long time. Unless we find out he’s a felon and has the supressed I don’t think anything he has done since prior to being a Senator should influence anyone.
I don’t care if he lied to get his medals nor do I care if he was a hero. That isn’t relevant to me as to whether or not the man will make a good leader in the here and now.
What is relevant to me is the last 10 years or so of his Senate record. Note I say last 10 years or so, because I find that if you go too far back in history, the situations are so different voting records in the Senate don’t mean near as much nor are they near as relevant.
For Bush, the only relevant stuff is how he has performed right now. An incumbent should be judged on their 1st term, if you think they are better than the challenger, they should receive the vote based on their merits as President.
I think this is a good strategy because it is the most informed decision a voter makes.
Say President X has strongly been against Agricultural subsidies all 4 years in office.
But President X was strongly FOR ag subsidies for all 8 years of his gubenatorial career out in Kansas.
In my opinion, since he has been adamantly against ag subsidies as President, it isn’t likely that his opinion as governor is relevant anymore, so me, wanting to be an informed and conscientious voter, will decide to give that info little weight whatsoever.
A lot of those questions are absolutely fair, if we are assuming that Kerry is telling the truth.
For instance, he said that he has a plan, but he won’t release it for strategic reasons. You don’t give away your hand, etc. Fine. So why not allow a panel of foreign policy experts with clearances evaluate it?
This question of course is a trap:
Because John Kerry hasn’t authored ANY legislation in any of those areas in the 20 years he’s been in the Senate.
I don’t see why asking him to release his military documents should be stressed any less than similar demands on George Bush.
This is an absolutely fair question. It is hard to understand those three positions, and yet you’re voting for the more powerful man in the world. He should be able to explain his rationale for his decision-making around matters of war.
This is also a fair question. John Kerry was a member of the naval reserves when he met with representatives of the North Vietnamese government. He sidestepped his chain of command, and it looks like a clear violation of the UCMJ. He wasn’t prosecuted at the time probably because he was a very well known and polarizing figure, and it would have been political poison.
Another fair question. We ask no less of people on the SDMB. Make a claim like that, provide a cite. This is serious business, and people shouldn’t be allowed to go around unchallenged making up facts to attempt to sway the population in their favor. I would expect the same of Bush.
This is an excellent question. This was just after the first WTC attack. That attack came perilously close to bringing down the towers, and the loss of life would have been much, much greater because there would have been no warning. It should have been as much a wakeup call as the 9/11 attacks. And yet, in the year following the attacks Kerry did not attend a single public hearing of the intelligence committee of which he was a member, then he voted to cut the intelligence budget by 6 billion. It would be very enlightening to hear his explanation of this.
Again, this is a valid and important quesiton that SHOULD be being asked of Kerry. The Patriot Act is one of the signature legislative pieces of the war on terror. It deserves an in-depth hearing, and the candidates should have to explain their positions on it in detail. If Kerry is critical of some parts, he should be prepared to explain what he believes to be the pros and cons of that portion of the act and why on balance it would be better to do without it. Because if he can’t, then he’s just demogaguing.
Perhaps the most important question of all. This is an issue that is going to be on the front burner of which administration is in the White House in January. It is perhaps the most crucial security problem we face. And yet, I don’t think I’ve heard Kerry say much about it. Everyone should exactly where he stands and what he’ll do.
Ah, Sam, good to see you’re back. Not to hijack this thread, but why don’t you pop back into the John Kerry and Vietnam thread? There are posters there who have direct questions for you, including your current opinion of the SBVT’s accusations. Plus we’ve missed you.
Yes, I saw them. I’m not going to bother. When the likes of Minty explain that they’re just going to throw ad-hominems at you because you’re not worthy of debate, well, life is too short. I’ll debate with those who play well with others, thanks. But this is really a hijack, so let’s stay on topic, hmmn?
Your religious affiliation is given as Methodist. Can you briefly outline the doctrinal tenets of Methodism?
When questioned regarding drug use, you stated that you had not used any illegal drugs in a given time frame. Are you prepared to state, unequivocally, that you never used illegal drugs at any time? Does the nickname “Hoover Nose” have any significance to you? Have you ever been to any clandestine Arkansas airfields?
You recently appointed John Negroponte to be ambassador to Iraq. Are you aware the Mr. Negroponte was accused of being complicit and knowledgeable of the activities of Central American death squads? Can you categorically deny such, based on your own direct knowledge?
During your tenure as Governor of Texas, investigative reporters analyzed your daily logs, and arrived at the conclusion that you spent an average of 15 minutes pondering the application of death sentences before signing off on them. Do you think this is an appropriate length of time to consider such a decision?
You have been reported as mocking the application of Karla Faye Tucker for clemency, before her subsequent execution. Is this accurate? Is this a representative example of your “sense of humor”? When you signed her death warrant, did you “get wood”?
You are on record as having stated that you believe no one was executed in Texas who did not deserve to be. Do you stand by this claim?
White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales provided you with input as to applications for clemency while you were Governor. Are you aware of the report by Mr. Berlow, in the Atlantic Monthly, to the effect that, quote, “repeatedly failed to apprise the governor of crucial issues in the cases at hand: ineffective counsel, conflict of interest, mitigating evidence, even actual evidence of innocence."
Terry Washington, a retarded man with the communication skills of an seven year old, was executed in 1997. According to Berlow, Mr. Gonzales ironicly named “clemency memo” made no mention of this fact. Do you think this is appropriate?
The similarly sentenced Carl Johnson’s lawyer literally slept through portions of the jury selection. In your opinion, did Mr. Johnson receive a fair trial?
In light of that, are you still confident that no innocent person was executed in Texas under your watch?
Texas House Bill 2776 modified Texas law regarding Superfund cleanup activities. Are you aware that no environmental groups whatsoever were invited to contribute to the structure of House Bill 2776? And that input was restricted entirely to representatives of the polluting industries? Is this your idea of providing environmental protection?
From the time you received your MBA and went into the private sector, were you involved with any business venture, whatsoever, that could not be described as either a catastrophe, boondoggle, or outright fraud?
You have stated that you heard about openings in the Texas Air National Guard from “a friend”. Can you give us this friend’s name? Can you give us your other friend’s name?
The unit you served with has been described as the “Champagne Unit” Had you heard this designation? Is it, in your opinion, accurate?
When asked to name the political philosopher who most influenced your thinking, you named Jesus Christ. Was this an example of ignorance, post-modernist irony, or sheer disingenuous smarminess?
In your opinion, is creationism or evolution the more accurate intellectual model? Is Charles Darwin roasting in Hell? Do you think you won’t?
As noted, you have a B.A. in History. Can you give us a rudimentary outline of the differences in political philosophy between Hume, Locke, and Rosseau?
Was trading Sammy Sosa the dumbest thing you ever did? If not, what was?
Would you describe your religious inclination as being more fundamentalist, or evangelical? If your life depended on it, could you distinguish between the two, in such a way that Diogenes and Polycarp wouldn’t laugh themselves sick?
Have you any involvement in the disappearance of Scylla, and the continuing CIA propaganda broadcasts into Sam Stone’s fillings?
I take it, elucidator and Hentor the Barbarian that your willingness to propose partisan and misleading questions for Bush implys an agreement that such questions for Kerry are a legitimate political tactic?
If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?
The national review questions are both fair and unfair. National Review was playing to an audience while trying to be journalistic. A similar situation would be Kerry on Bill O’Reilly. There would be some questions about issues that he could answer, and there would be a few along the lines of “Do your parents know that you are gay?”
While I am honored that you would see my questions as on par with professional political attack dogs, I have to confess that I am not nearly as good at it, having only tried just this morning. Perhaps though, I have some talent for it!
Well, they hafta come up with something now that the Swifties issue has blown back and gotten shit all over Bush fils. So NRO (a decidedly conservative site, just a teense to the right) has come up with loaded questions. No surprise, and as someone said earlier, it’s not like there’s a chance in hell that Kerry will ever answer them.
So, they get to gather and put hurt looks on their faces and ask loudly, “Why does Kerry refuse to answer the questions that we put to him?” Followed by stamping of feet and tossing of pretty hair.
I can offer a dollop of anecdotal insight about the “assassination” charges.
At the time, the local Viet Nam Veterans Against the War group met in the living room of the “group home” where I lived. (Bunch of guys, bunch of beds, some couches, monthly collection of rent from whoever was employed…) No one who was not alive and cognizant at the time is likely to appreciate the intensity and no one with any sense would ever want to. “Polarization” is too polite a term. It was awful!. Just awful!
Kerry exerted a temperate influence. Many of the VVAW were pressing for ever more radical and extreme demonstrations. They became intoxicated by the effect they had, and it was powerful, no question. The impact of a disabled veteran marching with a bunch of hippies is hard to express, the kind of guys who would stand there and scream “Cowards! Traitors!” lapsed into stunned silence, and started to think!
Kerry was opposed to this kind of thinking. His position was that we needed to appeal to the middle, the church-going Ozzie 'n Harriett America where the real power lay. The Peace Movement needed to be respectful, intelligent, and reasonable, in order to solidify the gains made by dramatic gestures like throwing the medals.
A significant number of the VVAW reviled Kerry’s stance, and turned on him. These were the same guys who were urging contacts with the Weather Underground, wild eyed crap like that. Kerry, with obvious reluctance and regret, resigned from the VVAW. He was right.
So these attempts to portray Kerry as a wild radical are baseless slander. There were, indeed, deranged radicals in the Peace Movement. But Kerry wasn’t one of them.
As to the sarcasm of the questions above…you should be able to dip a candidate into a vat of boiling sarcasm, and examine the results. Kerry comes out considerably diminished, Bush disappears altogether.