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Friday, July 09, 2004

VandeHei Watch 7.9.04: Values are Cheap

VandeHei is on A6 in the Post with an article about how both sides in the presidential race are blathering on and on about "values." It disgusts me that this pap is what passes for political discourse in this country. Of course, everyone is going to claim they're for mom and apple pie. The real question is what specific policies do you support? If people actually knew that in making their decisions, I think we'd be far better off.

For example, see today's Krugman column on healthcare. If more than a few policy wonks actually knew any of this, it would be a huge plus for Kerry. But no, we have to hear candidates tell us they pray a lot instead.

Edwards brought up Kerry's military service as exemplifying the candidate's strong values yesterday, and VandeHei explains thusly:

Kerry is a decorated Vietnam War veteran; Bush served stateside in the National Guard and has drawn criticism from Kerry and others for an undocumented gap in his military service record.

Note to Jim: that undocumented gap is now being blamed on a suspicious accident that destroyed some of Bush's records. Hmmm. Not so good values there, methinks.

VandeHei takes a dig at Kerry for going to a fundraiser where some celebs made jokes about Bush--apparently Jim has been attending the Matt Drudge school of journalism. Do a candidate's supporters have freedom of speech any more? VandeHei also notes that the newest Bush attack ad (a nice contrast with the seven new positive Kerry-Edwards ads--who's optimistic again?) criticizes Kerry for voting against the "Laci Peterson Law." It's good to that sensationalized cable TV trials are being dragged into the race.

Moving along, I enjoyed this paragraph:

Kerry and Edwards "are more distanced from the values and priorities of mainstream America than any ticket in the history of the Democratic Party," said Nicolle Devenish, Bush's campaign spokeswoman. Kerry, who only recently engaged in this fight aggressively, touted his values at Thursday's event. "Family, faith, responsibility, service and opportunity," he declared to the crowd.

I guess according to Devenish, "mainstream America" holds values of broken homes, lack of faith, irresponsibility, disservice and minimal opportunity. But seriously, is Kerry-Edwards more to the left than the likes of the Mondale and McGovern campaigns? That's ludicrous on its face. I also have no idea what VandeHei means when he says Kerry "only recently engaged in this fight aggressively." He's saying a lot of similar things from the primary race as far as I can tell.

VandeHei then contradicts himself by writing that Kerry "rarely talks about his religious faith unless he is speaking at an African American church." Two paragraphs later he notes, "On 'Larry King Live' Thursday night, Kerry said faith 'guides you. It's your rock. It's the bedrock of your sense of place, of where it all fits.'" Thanks anyway for the attempted suggestion that the religion talk is a cynical ploy for the black vote! At least Kerry is open to speaking to black audiences, unlike our current president.

As you may have noticed, this topic of "values" gets me angry as I see the chance for a real national debate being pissed away.

MORE: Dan Froomkin has a bit more on the "values" issue also on the Post's site.