Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Dueling Opinions: Jobim's Third Response To Me

First, [Finnegan] is changing the subject. I did not say Bush is not to
the right of the American public. I said Kerry is well to the left. I
think that is demonstrably the case.

But on details, he is wrong. Kerry's opposition to DOMA means he doesn't
want states to be able to decide on their own. Bush offered support for
several different versions of the FMA, some of which would actualyl do what
Kerry claims is his position (but nonetheless opposed). The federal
partial-birth ban was supported by a vast majority of Americans, and strong
bi-partisan majoirities. Most Americans believe abortion should be legal in
some cases, and illegal in others. Bush's practical position -- as in the
specific legislation he supports (partial birth, restrictions on late-term,
etc.) -- is far closer to that position than Kerry's "no restrictions, Roe
is a litmus test for judges" view. On taxes, I think Kerry's support for
things like energy taxes and opposition to tax cuts (which voters tend to
support in the polling booth to a greter extent than in surveys) puts him
farther from the center on this point. On judges, Kerry supported the
filibusters of 10 Bush nominees (all ten that were filibustered). All ten
had bipartisan support and would have been confirmed if they were voted
upon. He also voted against some others that were confirmed, but I'd have
to look them up.

As for where I may agree with Kerry: I opposed the first Gulf War, oppose
the FMA proposed in Congress (as opposed to a constitutional DOMA), and
oppose the partial-birth abortion act (on federalism grounds). I probably
also agree with Kerry on opposing the Bush Administration's position on
doctor-assisted suicide (again, on federalism grounds). Interestingly
enough, those issues upon which my opinions would be characterized as "on
the left," Kerry gets wrong (e.g. drug war and many civil liberties issues;
on the latter see John Berlau's article in the new Reason), as did the
Clinton Administration.

On flip-flopping, it is interesting that the usual knock against Bush is
that he is too-stubborn, doesn't change his position, etc. That's not
exactly consistent with a reputation for flip-flopping.
[I second that recommendation of the Reason article--ed.]


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