John Kerry's Iraq Resolution Vote
John Kerry's vote to support Bush on the Iraq Resolution is one of the things that is potentially a problem as we go into the election season. Was Kerry's vote opportunistic or realistic? A number of people who strongly objected to this war wonder why Kerry made the decision he did.
Two specific points need to be made. The October vote by our elected representatives were made very early in the "march to war". This vote was purposely held before the November elections so as to create the "soft on terrorism" atmosphere that the Republicans exploited to the hilt to takeover the Senate during the midterm.
The White House did everything they could to drum up fear and confusion in order to make sure they would win this vote. They published the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) in October with all the threats laid out for our Representatives. The NIE also contained reports that the Iraqi madman could attack the US without much notice (45mins or less) and were just waiting to do so. The Senators heard this argument as solid fact, rather than inconclusive, and indeed, wishful thinking. What was not backed up by real evidence wasn't a problem, because most people believed the worst about Saddam AND for Bush, it was a perfect opportunity to shaft the Democrats. So, our elected officials were scammed way before the rest of us. (And the fact that the Democrats were rolled by the White House made them dead meat for a lot of voters as well.) Remember that even Henry Waxman voted to support Bush because he really did believe the evidence that the administration and the hawks put forward.
The next point was that Bush was going to go to war whether or not he had approval at all. And by the time Bush started the war, many more people understood how flimsy his evidence was and they also started to stand up against the war because it was not justified on the grounds the administration put forward. (For example, Josh Marshall was one of the liberal hawks who decided the Bush administration's track record for lies and screwups meant that the probability that the Bushites would screw up the aftermath as well was extremely high and so Josh withdrew his support for the by then imminent war. Even so, this was late in the game and certainly did not stop the inevitable drive to war.)
Tristero has an excellent post setting Kerry's vote in context and showing why this vote should not preclude our full and forthright support.
As for making bad decisions, well Bush takes the cake. Starting with September 11 itself and going all the way through the the FMA, Bush has made nothing but bad decisions.
This election should be a referendum on Bush's bad decisions.