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Monday, January 12, 2004

Weather Vanes

It's always interesting to dig back through news archives to find interesting (read: foolish) statements made by politicians. If political winds change, you can almost certainly find remarks by elected officials that sound really stupid in retrospect.

In any case, I wonder how many Republican House members said something like this when campaigning for office in 2002?
"Without a doubt, Saddam Hussein and his brutal regime posed an immediate, direct threat to the United States."
Of course, Republican Representative Anne Northup wrote those words to her constituents in May 2003! Since a columnist for the Louisville Courier Journal, David Hawpe, has quoted this statement at least three times since July, I think there's a good chance it will come up in the 2004 elections.

Northup, by the way, represents a fairly Democratic district and thus accumulates a big election war chest because she needs it to retain her job.

The Presidential candidates are not immune from this "gotcha" game either. Consider Howard Dean's old and embarrassing comments about the Iowa caucuses, for example.

Oddly enough, on perhaps rare occasions, politicians sometimes come off sounding smarter in the past than they do in the present.

In the January 4 Washington Post, E.J. Dionne cited an interesting quote from one of the Democratic candidates for President, made on October 5, 2002:
"I don't think we should pretend that protecting the security of our nation is defined by turning our back on a century of effort . . . to build an international structure of law," declared the antiwar candidate to an Iowa gathering on Oct. 5, 2002. Bush's critics had an obligation to dissent and raise doubts, he said to loud applause. "We need to understand that you have to ask those questions now, because you don't go to war as a matter of first resort; you go to war as a matter of last resort."
It turns out that these words of wisdom came from Senator John Kerry -- mere weeks before he voted for the Iraq war resolution in Congress.

If Kerry had voted differently, do you suppose he'd be a favorite in New Hampshire?

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