As a response to Keith's claims in the comments on my Liveblogging of the VP Debate, I wanted to say a few things about the kind of spin conservatives use. Everything I say here I've said somewhere or other, but much of it is scattered around other people's blogs, so I thought it would be important to have it here. I just wanted to pick a few issues where Kerry's detractors say he's inconsistent when it seems to me that he's not. I think he does has his moments of wanting to have it both ways. I've explained that in my analysis of the first presidential debate. Here are some things Kerry does seem to hold a consistent position on.
Kerry has explained many times why he voted for giving the president the authority to use force if necessary and then thought he had used it when it wasn't yet necessary. That explains why it's not a flip-flop for him to have opposed what Bush did after giving him the authority to do it. The same goes for the extra funding that he originally voted for and then changed his vote. He thought the war effort was worth funding now that it had been started, but he didn't like some of the things that bill had in it and wanted to vote against it so the bill would have to be changed before finally getting passed. Votes in Congress often involve that sort of thing. That's not a flip-flop. It's having really mixed feelings about a bill and not being sure until even after making the first vote that you don't want to go through with it.
A good example I've been saying on other people's blogs is Kerry's claim that we need to meet the global test while also saying that he won't let another country veto our military actions. That's consistent, because he didn't say he wouldn't let a significant consensus among other nations veto our military actions. He just said no one nation would have that veto power. I think he'd consider a few countries that he considers to have more weight as such a significant consensus. Otherwise he wouldn't think Bush did anything wrong in defying those few countries in the UN and NATO who tried to veto going into Iraq. That reveals a deeper worry I have about him, but it's a consistent position. I've been insisting on that in my comments on other people's blogs, and in response to Keith's claims that I only get mad when people misrepresent Republicans I wanted to register my disagreement with those who misrepresent Kerry on this.
Another example I've discussed at length on my own blog is Kerry's stance on abortion. I think most conservatives (and by 'most' I mean something on the order of 90%) misunderstand Kerry's position and find an inconsistency where there isn't one. He sometimes is uncareful in how he describes it, which makes me think he sometimes wants to appear to hold a different view than he holds, but I'm not sure about that. My guess is that he has a consistent view that he sometimes tries to make look more pro-life-friendly than it is. It's a consistent view nonetheless. My real problem with it is that it's got a moral assumption that I find horrific, that a moral wrong against a human being should be legal. That's not an inconsistency. That's what his view seems to be.
There are more, but I hope that satisfies Keith that I'm just as offended when Republicans are unfair to Democrats as I am when Democrats are unfair to Republicans. I'm just more likely to spot it when I agree with the position that's being misrepresented. That shouldn't be surprising.