More than a few of you have emailed me about John Kerry - or specifically, what do I think about his Viet Nam service or his protesting the war or his other issues.
Let's look at some aspects of John Kerry that may spark some interest:
1. On Special Interests - This is from John Kerry's website:
George W Bush has chosen tax cuts for the wealthy and special favors for the special interests over our economic future.John Kerry says he's against lobbyists and special interests, but the man has received more money from lobbyists and special interests than any other Senator.
Here's what the Center for Public Integrity has to say about him:
Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., whose largest campaign contributor lobbies on behalf of telecommunication interests, pushed the legislative priorities of its clients in the wireless industry on several occasions, a Center for Public Integrity analysis of campaign, lobbying and congressional records has found. That analysis is part of the Center's research for The Buying of the President 2004 (to be published by HarperCollins), which tracks the financial backers and interests of the major candidates for the White House.I don't think that it really looks like John Kerry is all that concerned about eliminating "special favors" for special interests and the wealthy - especially where he or his wife are concerned.
Kerry, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, has sponsored or co-sponsored a number of bills favorable to the industry and has written letters to government agencies on behalf of the clientele of his largest donor.
Boston-based Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C. has been the biggest financial backer of the Massachusetts Democrat's two decades-long political career in elected office, with its employees contributing nearly $187,000 to various Kerry races, including his current presidential campaign.
Kerry's ties to the firm go beyond campaign contributions. His brother Cameron F. Kerry is an attorney at the firm's Boston office, and David Leiter, who was the Senator's chief of staff for six years, is a lobbyist for ML Strategies LLC, a Mintz, Levin affiliate that provides consulting and lobbying services.
Mintz, Levin advertises communications law among its areas of expertise and lobbies on behalf of wireless industry clients such as AT&T Wireless Service, XO Communications Inc. and the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association. CTIA is the trade association of the wireless industry; its more than 320 members include carriers, manufacturers and wireless Internet providers. CTIA-affiliated companies and their employees have contributed at least $152,000 to Kerry. The amount includes contributions made to his presidential campaign and his previous election efforts, his political action committees and the 527 group that Kerry formed. Verizon employees donated close to a third of that amount ($45,400).
Kerry and his wife Teresa Heinz Kerry have substantial holdings in telecommunications companies; between $17.6 million and $47.1 million of their combined fortune is held in companies with a stake in the industry, the Center's analysis of his financial disclosure form revealed. That falls in a range of roughly 7 percent to 11 percent of the couple's combined $165 million to $626 million in assets. Most of the fortune, and the stocks, belong to Heinz Kerry.
Some $3.9 million to $13.9 million of those holdings are in companies which are members of CTIA.
...Since 1999, Kerry has taken positions that closely reflect the legislative agenda of CTIA. Between January 1999 and December 2002, he sponsored two bills for which CTIA lobbied and co-sponsored six more, the Center found. He also sponsored amendments and made floor statements that were favorable to CTIA's interests.
2. On his service in Viet Nam - This is good but not an overwhelming factor. There are vets who accuse him of using his three purple hearts to get out of combat duty early (there was a wounded-three-times-and-you're-out clause that you could apply for). It's hard to say what he was really thinking because we can't read his mind. Let's just leave it at this: I appreciate candidates who served their country, but that doesn't neccesarily give them the green light for the Presidency.
3. On his behavior after Viet Nam - John Kerry did some things after Viet Nam that I don't appreciate. It's all well documented (like the generic labeling of veterans as war-criminals and the throwing of medals on the White House lawn). I have served with, and have been trained and commanded by soldiers who served in Viet Nam. I actively support the National Vietnam Veterans' Art Museum. I know a lot of Viet Nam vets, a few who are highly-decorated for gallantry in action, and I don't know a single one of them who thinks John Kerry is worth the air he breathes. There is a veteran backlash against Kerry that is just beginning.
4. On Being Rich But Acting Poor - How many of you that make $150K per year own half a house worth $6,000,000? Look into that one. What's the mortgage payment on that loan? I'll bet it's more than his income. Who's paying it? This goes back to Number 1. What's next? Putting the Cessna up for sale?
5. On Iraq - John Kerry said this in Iowa:
For President Bush, it is still another chance to transform the situation in Iraq from an American occupation to a global coalition. And it is an opportunity for America to reclaim the best of our historic role overseas and to once again lead the world toward progress and freedom.I have already blogged about this (thanks, again, to Tanker Schreiber for the insight), but let's recap Korea versus Operation Iraqi Freedom:
From the Battle of Belleau Wood to the Battle of the Bulge, from Korea to Kosovo, the story of the last century is of an America that accepted the heavy responsibility of its historic obligation – to serve as not just a beacon of hope, but to work with allies across the world to defend and extend the frontiers of freedom.
Korean War: 303,000 US + 39,474 Foreign = 342,474 Total (88.5% US)Math shouldn't be hard for a U.S. Senator.
Iraq War: 130,000 US + 21,350 Foreign = 151,350 Total (86% US)
6. Clear as mud - Jennifer Martinez has a letter from a Viet Nam vet and former POW - Major Mark Smith - that, for John Kerry, ties in both his wife's (the Heinz family) fortune and his inability to be true to his own issues:
The best way to describe John Kerry's attempts to be all things to all people is, "Heinz 57."
Calling John Kerry, "Heinz 57", is insulting to bottles of the sauce everywhere. He won't get my vote.
Update 6PM CST: Looks like Kerry has been blocking laws in order to draw cash...