(This post was initially given as a late-last-night response to someone obviously in the Kerry camp, who was repeating Kerry's recent charge re Biden-Lugar, saying in effect that Dean's initial response to the war was the same as Kerry's. I'm reposting here (slightly edited) for anyone interested--be you Deaniac or Kerry-ite (?), or whoever--who missed the earlier thread):
This canard about Dean having in essence suported the same position as Kerry, Gep, and Edwards is just pure, what can I call it? Willful ignoring of anything close to reality? Pure offal? Look, forgive me, but this is just less than irrelevant, and if you and others in the Kerry camp find it relevant, you have IMHO badly misjudged this entire debate. Dean came out against the war. He came out with this position clearly, and early, when it was widely thought to be his political funeral to do so. NO one else (of the major candidates, e.g., not including Kucinich) did that; everyone else was of course free to do that. It was quite evident that we were going to war with no coalition prior to actually going to war; Kerry never said a word until long after the lack of WMD became an issue, and it had become clear that his stance on the war was wrecking him. Dean showed both correct analysis and political courage on the war; Kerry showed neither. Even if everything Kerry (and supporters like you) are saying is true, all it means is that Dean came to his correct analysis, and his courage, slightly later than he could have. It by no means makes his analysis wrong or his position less courageous at the time it was taken. Indeed, after the war's initial and dramatic success, Dean did not waver in his insistence that unilateral war was wrong.
Kerry, on the other hand, has been the most purely expedient of all the candidates on this issue, at each turn. Look -- I listened to quite a bit of the war debate on NPR. There were plenty of Dems who said, "where is the evidence? We have been shown nothing!" Kerry's history as a principled vet should have made him understand better than anyone what happens when governments lie to engage in political wars. More than anyone, he should have understood how terribly wrong it was to give any president, but especially this president, a blank check for war. But facing his own Tonkin Gulf vote, he decided to send new young versions of himself into battle for what many of his congressional colleagues, at the least, thought was indeed a mistake.
This I know is a harsh judgment, and I was loath to make it earlier, because I liked Kerry and shared many of his overall positions. But this latest attack on Dean has absolutely enraged me, precisely because it is so irrelevant, and (to me) only emphasizes how bankrupt Kerry's own positions on this issue have been.
The truth is, I simply do not believe Kerry when he says he was misled by the president. I believe he made a deal with he devil, because he wanted to run for president, and the overwhelming CW was that no Dem would get anywhere if he was soft on the war on terror, with which the Iraq war was (erroneously) being equated. In his vote, Kerry ill served his principles, his party, and his country. Yet I was willing to forgive him for it, if he admitted he was wrong, and continued to press Bush on his lies and his current failed approach in Iraq (which I do not believe will be changed much in long term by Saddam's capture). Instead, Kerry has chosen to attack one of the few people who were right about the war -- to attack him, in fact, for not being quite right enough!!!
You know, I will truly still support any Dem candidate against Bush. But I now hope Kerry is not that candidate. I hope he loses so badly in NH that his candidacy quickly dies and is considered a classic joke for decades to come. I hope he then spends a good long time in reflection, about how someone who uttered the famous line about how do we ask anyone to be the last person to die for a mistake, could help create another such mistake.