John Kerry: Palin Pick Shows McCain is Prisoner of the Right Wing

I’ve always felt that John Kerry would have made a far better president than presidential candidate (not that I agree with all the exaggerated criticism which is inevitable for any losing candidate). Once again John Kerry is showing that he is making a stronger surrogate for Barack Obama than presidential candidate, taking advantage of what he learned in 2004. Via Digby, here check out this interview on This Week:

KERRY: […] And now, now, George, you have a choice, where John McCain has proven that he’s not a maverick, he’s erratic. He’s crossed the line from maverickism to — I mean, it’s unbelievable what’s happened, because he himself said…

STEPHANOPOULOS: But let me — let me stop you right there. What do you mean — let me stop you right there, Senator Kerry. You said he’s erratic. What are you talking about there? Is that referring to the choice…

KERRY: Well, I’ll tell you exactly…

STEPHANOPOULOS: … of Governor Palin?

KERRY: I will tell you — absolutely, because what has happened is John McCain — you know, we’ve been warning against the third term of George Bush. With the choice of Governor Palin, it’s now the third term of Bush-Cheney, because what he’s done is he’s chosen somebody who actually doesn’t believe that climate change is manmade. He’s chosen somebody who has zero — zero — experience in foreign policy.

The first threshold test of a president of a nominee in choosing a vice president is to prove to the American people that the person that you’ve chosen can fill in tomorrow, that they come with the requisite experience to lead the nation in foreign policy and in national security.

You know, she may be — I mean, I’m sure she’s a terrific person. I’m not attacking her. I think John McCain ‘s judgment is once again put at issue, because he’s chosen somebody who clearly does not meet the national security threshold, who is not ready to be president tomorrow.

And there’s just no way to…


STEPHANOPOULOS: You heard Senator Graham, though. He said that she has more experience than Senator Obama.

KERRY: That’s just ridiculous on its face. I mean, John — you know, Barack Obama has been in the United States Senate. He has not been absent more than he’s been there. She’s been a governor for, what, the two years now, Barack Obama and the four years?

But, moreover, Barack Obama has traveled abroad. Look at the trip Barack Obama took. I mean, it is remarkable to me that the Republicans would try to denigrate a trip that a candidate for president takes where he attracts more — more attention, more support, if you will, than a sitting president of the United States of America.

That’s what you need in leadership for a president. You need somebody who can go to Europe and say to them, “We need more help in Afghanistan.” He actually called the Europeans to account on their — on their need to be, frankly, more front-and-center in the effort to deal with Afghanistan than President Bush has.

I think that’s leadership, and I think the United States of America is well-served if we have a president who’s able to do that.

But coming back to this choice for a moment…


KERRY: … let me just say…


STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask you another question right now…


STEPHANOPOULOS: … because, Senator, Howard Wolfson — excuse me. Let me just ask you another question. Howard Wolfson, Senator Clinton’s former communications director, said that this pick might just work to draw women to the Republican ticket. Are you worried about that?

KERRY: Well, with all due respect to Howard, you know, I have much more respect for the Clinton supporters than that sort of quick- blush take with — I mean, how stupid do they think the Clinton supporters are, for Heaven sakes?

Do they think Clinton supporters supported Hillary only because she was a woman. For Heaven sakes, they supported Hillary because of all the things she’s fought for, because she fights for health care, which John McCain doesn’t support; she fights for children and children’s health care, which John McCain voted against; she fights for a windfall profits tax on the oil company, which John McCain opposes.

I mean, for Heaven sakes, the people who supported Hillary Clinton are not going to be seduced just because John McCain has picked a woman. They’re going to look at what she supports.

The fact that she doesn’t even support the notion that climate change is manmade — she’s back there with the Flat Earth Caucus. And I don’t see how those women are going to be fooled into believing — I think it’s almost insulting to the Hillary supporters that they believe they would support somebody who is against almost everything that they believe in.


KERRY: What John McCain has proven with this choice — this is very important, George. John McCain wanted to choose Tom Ridge. He wanted to choose Joe Lieberman. He wanted to choose another candidate, but you know what? Rush Limbaugh and the right wing vetoed it.

And John McCain was forced to come back and pick a sort of Cheney-esque social conservative who’s going to satisfy the base.

What John McCain has proven with this choice is that John McCain is the prisoner of the right wing, not a maverick.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Kerry, I’m afraid that’s all we have time for today. Thank you very much for your time.

KERRY: Thank you.

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  1. 1
    chris says:

    I guess our viewpoints are different because I see John Kerry calling McCain a prisoner of anything as a slur on John McCain’s sacrifice to his country as a POW.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Only a McCain supporter would interpret everything in terms of how McCain was a POW. This statement was about McCain’s choice of a right wing extremist as his running mate, not about him being a POW. This is about McCain having no choice but to pander to the far right and politically not being able to pick a running mate who might  be more acceptable to voters beyond a very narrow segment of the electorate.

    McCain has been using having been a POW as an excuse for every mistake he makes. So now having been a POW makes it inappropriate to comment on how McCain picked an extremist running mate with virtually zero experience who opposes abortion rights (even in the case of rape), who supports teaching evolution in the schools, and who denies the scientific consensus on global warming.

  3. 3
    Ralph says:

    I guess Chris means that John Kerry is not allowed to use the word “prisoner” when discussing John McCain. How very PC!

    Let’s go along with Chris’s objection. We can rephrase John Kerry’s statement as follows:  John McCain’s actions and decisions are being controlled by the far-right wing of the Republican Party — a faction whose ability to make terrible decisions is evident for all to see in the actions of the Bush administration over the past 8 catastrophic years.

  4. 4
    chris says:

    I am reminded of Tim Russert describing one of Bob Kerry’s positions and saying that Kerry didn’t have a leg to stand on. Russert immediately recognized that in context to Bob Kerry that the phrase was in poor taste.

    I’m sorry if you cannot see how calling McCain a prisoner of anything could also be viewed in poor taste. And yes Ralph – there are many ways that John Kerry could have worded what he was trying to get across without calling McCain a prisoner.

  5. 5
    Pete says:

    FWIW,  I’m an independent who would have been called a liberal when I was younger, but for once in my life I am supporting a social conservative (Palin).  Mainly it is on the single issue of A-CO2_GW as she appears to understand it is a crock, but also because she challenges the entrenched interests based on principle and appears to be pragmatic in her  application.  The path we take in regards to the A-CO2-GW hoax is more important than any social conservative influence that she might have as a vice president.  If the A-CO2-GW hoax was not so close to ruining economies and lives I would think twice about Palin, although I’m beginning to wonder if liberalism is, in fact, unable to make lives better, and it is probably because liberalism is not pragmatic enough to factor in human nature.

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:


    That is totally ridiculous. Besides, if there is anything wrong with using the word “prisoner” in any way connected to McCain, perhaps it would help if he didn’t repeatedly bring up his POW days as an excuse for everything.

  7. 7
    Ron Chusid says:


    Pragmatic? It is the conservatives who regularly apply their extreme political beliefs over the fact.

    You certainly are not a very pragmatic person when you repeat the talking points of the extreme right while ignoring the consensus of scientific thought on global warming. Making decisions based upon scientific evidence is the pragmatic policy–not basing one’s views on what they wish was true or what right wingers claim.

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