- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 26, 2004

With his decision yesterday to accept the Democratic presidential nomination at the July convention after all, John Kerry got himself out of an embarrassing predicament. Still, the incident provided yet another illustration of Mr. Kerry’s unfortunate brand of political brazenness. He seems to believe that the rules that apply to other people should not apply to him.

When the political heat became too much to take, Mr. Kerry acquiesced to continuing the longstanding American political tradition of accepting his party’s presidential nomination when it is tendered. But the reason that this was allowed to fester in the first place lies with Mr. Kerry’s obsession over who receives tax relief and who receives taxpayer subsidies. The bottom line appears to be that it’s OK to bend the rules and have the government spend money if John Kerry stands to benefit. But, when it comes to American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mr. Kerry balks at providing for their needs if the Senate refuses to increase taxes.

Several weeks before the Senate overwhelmingly voted last October for an $87 billion appropriation to fund military operations of 150,000 American soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mr. Kerry told CBS’ “Face the Nation”: “I don’t think any United States senator is going to abandon our troops and recklessly leave Iraq to whatever follows as a result of simply cutting and running. That’s irresponsible.” In fact, Mr. Kerry was one of 12 senators to vote against final passage of the Senate’s version of the Iraq-Afghanistan funding bill.

Previously, Mr. Kerry had voted to fund the operations only on the condition that the Congress and the president agreed to raise taxes on the wealthy. Indeed, after the Senate voted against his effort to raise taxes, Mr. Kerry decided against funding the wartime operations. Absent the tax increase, in other words, he preferred cutting and running. This aspiring commander in chief reversed his publicly pledged wartime position in a pique over class warfare.

Until yesterday, Mr. Kerry had expected taxpayers to provide the Democratic Party with a $15 million subsidy to pay for the party’s nominating convention — even though he would not accept the presidential nomination when it was offered. Such a gambit would have been unprecedented in American politics.

Democrats decided long ago to schedule their convention in late July. They did so because they expected their nominee to be broke and desperate for the $75 million taxpayer subsidy for the fall campaign, which arrives when the nomination is formally accepted. At that point, the candidate is precluded from spending privately raised funds. When it became clear that his side could raise more money from Bush-haters than expected, Mr. Kerry attempted to pull a fast one and change the rules. Once again, the Boston Brahmin showed his belief that the rules that everybody else has followed for years don’t apply to him.

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