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Senator John Kerry's Congressional Record

In spite of his close ties to Ted Kennedy and others, Kerry has not gained a reputation as a key legislative figure in the Senate. Only three pieces of legislation bear his name; two of these involve marine microbiology.

According to Americans for Democratic Action, a far-left watchdog group, Kerry has a higher lifetime liberal voting record at 93% than Ted Kennedy with 88%. In 2001, 1999, 1998, 1993, 1992, 1989, 1988, 1987, 1986, and 1985, Kerry voted with Kennedy -- known for being to left of even his own party on every social issue -- 100% of the time. Cumulatively over the course of his four-term Senate career, Kerry has voted with Kennedy 94% of the time in key votes.

Tellingly, the other end of the political spectrum offers the same finding. The American Conservative Union gave the two senators from Massachusetts identical ratings for their voting records in 2000 and 2001, with 12% and 4%, respectively. The ACU's lifetime rating for Kerry's extremist voting record is an astoundingly low 5%.

Together with the National Taxpayers Union, the ACU places John Kerry on the left extreme of his party -- in the company of Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton. Regardless if the policy in question is foreign or domestic, social or economic, Kerry's leftism -- more than anything else about him -- has remained a consistent feature.

Education

Few policy areas reveal Kerry's ideological commitment to big government better than his record on education. In recent years, Kerry has twice voted against granting low-income parents school choice. While common sense would argue that school choice isn't for the federal government to grant or withhold, Kerry has gone even farther, voting against parental choice in cases of children trapped in "violence-prone" schools.

On vouchers, Kerry is out of touch with what's best for your children: "I have never supported vouchers. I understand why parents want more choices and I believe they should have more choices in public schools. But what public schools need most are resources and support, and vouchers drain them of both."

If education policy is a barometer, this Yale graduate is certainly not the man of the people he claims to be. While Kerry may wave the banner of populism each election cycle, and more than ever on the presidential campaign trail, an honest populist wouldn't deny these sorts of basic educational opportunities to working Americans.

Moreover, if elected John Kerry is prepared to make public education more of an entitlement -- and more of a burden to the American taxpayer and economy -- than ever before through his "National Education Trust Fund." It's like Al Gore's Social Security "Lockbox," except for education. Maybe Candidate Kerry should pause and ask the question: Is lack of money really the problem with America's schools? The answer might surprise him.

Abortion

If you're concerned about John Kerry's nonchalance for your child's welfare in education, Sen. Kerry's lack of commitment to children before birth comes as no comfort. According to the National Right to Life Committee, since 1985 Kerry has voted pro-abortion a mind-numbing 100% of the time. This includes at least three votes against a ban on partial-birth abortion. Small wonder Sen. Kerry is now in questionable standing with the Roman Catholic Church, which now refuses to serve him -- and other delinquent Catholic politicians -- communion.

In addition to his votes against banning even medically unnecessary abortion procedures, Kerry has supported legislation for federally funded abortions and to provide pro-abortion counseling in federally-funded health clinics. But counsel from parents doesn't count for Kerry; he voted against requiring the notification of the parents of minors seeking an abortion.

If his ACU lifetime rating of 5% seemed low, that's as good as it gets: On abortion, NRLC gives Sen. Kerry a well-earned lifetime rating of 0%. By contrast, Kerry's rating from the National Abortion And Reproductive Rights League is always 100%.

Family & marriage

When it comes to marriage and the preservation of families, John Kerry's vote against the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act -- legislation signed into law by no one less than then President Bill Clinton -- says it all. Kerry maintains that "it was nothing more than Senate-sponsored gay bashing that politicized this difficult question."

What does the ever-nuanced Candidate Kerry think of homosexual marriage? "I think the debate over same-sex marriage is getting hung up over the word 'marriage,' and I don't want anything to stand in the way of providing gay men and lesbians full and equal protections under the law."

On the subject of "rights" of homosexual couplings, Kerry notes on his official campaign website, "I strongly support civil unions. I believe same-sex couples should be granted full and equal protection under the law, including access to health insurance, family medical leave, bereavement leave, hospital visitation, survivor benefits, and other basic legal protections that all families deserve." Equal protection for homosexuals or normalization of homosexuality? In a shameless instance of pandering to the homosexual lobby, Kerry is prepared to argue to the American people that "health insurance, ...medical leave, bereavement leave, hospital visitation, survivor benefits" et al. are nothing less than civil rights owed to homosexuals, not agreements between individuals and the private sector. Equating homosexuality with inherent characteristics like race and sex, Kerry continues, "I have always believed in extending equal protections and equal rights to all Americans without regard to race, religion, creed, or sexual orientation."

The other leg of Kerry's "gay" platform, if redundant: "Gay couples should not be denied the chance to visit a partner in the hospital...."

2nd Amendment Rights

One of the few positions John Kerry hasn't flip-flopped on is Second Amendment rights: He's against them.

In his presidential platform, Kerry says, "I will up to the gun lobby and support the assault weapons ban and the Brady Bill. We need a president who will stand up to the NRA to keep assault weapons off our streets and out of our communities." Interestingly enough, the legislation Kerry is referring to, the Federal Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, actually contains no references to assault (meaning fully automatic) weapons whatsoever, but bans semi-automatic weapons most commonly used for hunting, sport and self-defense. Time and again, studies vindicate the presence of firearms as a primary deterrent against violent crime. For his part, Sen. Kerry wants the public to be outgunned by violent criminals -- criminals who don't abide by the laws that will prevent law-abiding citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights.

Kerry's disinformation doesn't stop with the "Assault" Weapons Ban, though. Kerry says, "I will fight to close the gun show loophole by requiring background checks for all firearm sales at gun shows. It's absurd that criminals can buy guns at gun shows with no questions asked, no background check required." The facts, however, tell a different tale. Background checks are requited at gun shows -- instant background checks. Senator Kerry, welcome to the electronic age.

John Kerry has one of the most firmly anti-gun legislative records in the Senate; and he's not a straight shooter, either.

(See also: Kerry, Gun Control and Hunting.)

Death penalty

Ever the "enlightened" liberal, John Kerry is against the delivery of justice through the death penalty. "I'm opposed to the death penalty in the criminal justice system because I think it's applied unfairly," say the Senator.

The exception to Candidate Kerry's platform of life, of course, is abortion on demand, which he endorses without qualification or reservation.

Environmental/Energy issues

On the environment and energy, Kerry lives by the Left's mantras of government intervention, centralization and regulation. Once again, the Senator's legislative record says it all, aligning with the extreme leftwing League of Conservation Votes 95% of the time.

Rabid and destructive environmentalism is the Left's sacred cow, and clearly John Kerry is ready to tow the party line.

Signaling his intention to sign off on the Kyoto Treaty -- nothing less than a death warrant for the national economy -- Kerry says, "We need to reassert U.S. leadership on global environmental progress and reengage in the development of an international climate change strategy."

Kerry also promises to reinvigorate the infamous Superfund cleanup program -- one of the most destructive and legally dubious programs ever launched by the federal government. Under the Superfund mandate, innocent businesses -- often small business owners without the indemnity of large corporations -- become the victims of Superfund projects, for reasons as simple as unknowingly purchasing from a supplier operating in violation of environmental regulations. Together, with an oppressive federal tax system weighted firmly against small business, the Superfund program has become one of the greatest threats to the success of entrepreneurship in America today, and John Kerry wants more of it.

Not to be outdone by reality, Kerry also vows, "As president, I'll...make America independent of Mideast oil in 10 years. ...[A]nd create 500,000 jobs by investing in renewable energy sources, such as ethanol, solar, and wind. And we'll use renewable fuels to produce 20% of our electricity by 2020." Senator Kerry knows, of course, that huge technological hurdles stand in the way of such a goal -- hurdles put in place by the environmental movement he now seeks to lead. Meanwhile, the U.S. needs independence from Middle East oil now -- not in 10 years. The only way to accomplish this, Senator Kerry also knows, is to open up ANWAR to oil exploration and drilling -- a national security initiative Kerry has voted against.

Economic issues

On the economy, John Kerry is the antithesis of Ronald Reagan's supply-side revolution. John Kerry opposes the economic growth-related elements of President Bush's three years of tax cuts, including the reduction on capital gains and dividends and increasing IRA contribution limits.

In December 2002, however, Kerry called for the end of "double taxation" on dividends, perceiving the need to promote investment and more accurate corporate valuation. A mere five weeks later, Kerry voted against President Bush's plan to eliminate double taxation, which was nonetheless passed by Congress and signed into law. Now, Candidate Kerry plans to restore the system of double taxation on corporate dividends if elected.

All too telling, Kerry also opposes the elimination of the infamous death tax. Kerry's latest vote against the Bush tax cuts marked at least his tenth vote against tax relief over the course of his Senate career. In true form, Kerry voted in favor the largest tax increase in the history of the United States under Bill Clinton.

Not even a consistent demand-sider, Kerry has voted against balanced budget amendments no less than five times, and logged three key votes against overall reductions in federal government spending. Nevertheless, in his campaign platform, Kerry says, "Bush's irresponsible economic policies have borrowed from future generations. I will cut the deficit in half in my first term, while investing in economic growth and American workers." In other words, John Kerry is prepared to cut deficits by increasing taxes, not by reducing spending.

Concerning Kerry's spending habits of taxpayer money, the fiscally conservative group Citizens Against Government Waste, John Kerry scores a dismal lifetime rating of 26%.

Finally, a Kerry position isn't a Kerry position without a flip-flop. In September 2001, Kerry said, "The first priority is the economy of our nation. And when you have a downturn in the economy, the last thing you do is raise taxes or cut spending. We shouldn't do either. We need to maintain a course that hopefully will stimulate the economy.... No, we should not raise taxes, but we have to put everything on the table to take a look at why we have this structural problem today. ...you don't want to raise taxes."

Now, however, Kerry says in his election platform, "I will roll back Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans to invest in education and healthcare." In other words, Kerry advocates the redistribution of income to achieve social goals (a.k.a. Socialism), rather than allowing citizens the maximal use of their wealth to create more wealth, to the betterment of all.

Social Security & Healthcare

Click here for more info about Kerry's Health Plan.

When it comes to the costliest, most economically dangerous entitlements in our country -- Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid -- John Kerry opposes desperately needed reforms, such as partial privatization, that would take America off this precipitous and unsustainable path. In his platform, Kerry offers the basis of a plan to offer near-universal health coverage to American, saying, "My plan expands health care coverage to 96 percent of Americans and 99 percent of all children."

What John Kerry is really saying, though, is that he doesn't believe in the free market, and would see the United States spiral into the same socialized healthcare abyss that now consumes Canada and many European nations.

Also, for better or for worse, Kerry is no fan of Al Gore's Social Security "Lock Box," if his congressional record is any indication, voting at least five times to raid the fund.

In his platform, however, Kerry revisits the lock box theme, vowing to "take Social Security off the table when balancing the budget." At the same time, Kerry opposes even partial privatization of Social Security, on the grounds privatization would "cost" $1 trillion, causing deficits to spiral. By "cost" of course, Senator Kerry means loss of government revenue. But why would this matter, you might ask, if Kerry, in "lock box" fashion, vows to take Social Security "off the table" when balancing the budget? Good question.

Click here for more info about Kerry's Health Plan.

Affirmative Action

Affirmative action, also known as codified reverse-discrimination, is one of John Kerry's lesser known but more revealing flip-flops. In 1992, as Bill Clinton was making his bid for the White House, John Kerry gave the first in a promised series of speeches at Yale University dealing with issues of race, crime and urban America. The speech warned against a "culture of dependency.... We must ask whether [social disintegration] is the result of a massive shift in the psychology of our nation that some argue grew out of the excesses of the 1960s, a shift from self-reliance to indulgence and dependence, from caring to self-indulgence, from public accountability to public abdication and chaos," Kerry, who was himself a major player in the social upheaval of that era, said.

Kerry went on to argue that affirmative action had denigrated the civil rights movement into legalistic bickering over quotas, saying, "today the civil rights arena is controlled by lawyers and the winners and losers [are] determined by...rules most Americans neither understand or are sympathetic with. The shift in the civil rights agenda has directed most of our attention and much of our hope into one inherently limited and divisive program: affirmative action."

"The truth," said Kerry, "is that affirmative action has kept America thinking in racial terms." Needless to say, such a statement was seen as an uncharacteristically bold move for a leftist population, especially for the understudy of Ted Kennedy. When Bill Clinton -- running on a platform of personal accountability and "ending welfare as we know it" -- went on to choose Al Gore of Tennessee as his running mate, though, Kerry's promised series simply evaporated, and were never given.

While Kerry has taken up Bill Clinton's famous refrain to "mend, not end" affirmative action, Kerry has been conspicuously inactive in the issue he spoke to with such fervor in 1992. Kerry didn't support the 1995 Dole-Canady bill to eliminate federal race preferences, the Gramm-Franks amendment ending preferences for minority contractors for federal bids, or sign the amicus brief in opposition to the University of Michigan's race-based admissions system, later ruled illegal by the Supreme Court. In the end, Kerry has neither worked to mend or to end affirmative action.

Presently, Kerry's official campaign website is seemingly unambiguous, vowing to "preserve affirmative action," and not mentioning the candidate's past reservations or concerns about this policy's negative effects. The site maintains that Kerry "consistently opposed efforts in the Senate to undermine or eliminate affirmative action programs, and supports programs that seeks to enhance diversity." So much for Yale, 1992.

Military/Defense

Massachusetts's most liberal senator has, over the years, voted against defense appropriations bills funding weapons that have proved essential to U.S. national security, including the Patriot Missile, the Tomahawk cruise missile and the B-2 stealth bomber. Kerry's voting record also shows his support for cutting funding or altogether canceling existing weapons systems such as the M-1 Abrams tank, Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the Apache helicopter, B-1 Bomber, F-14, F-15, F-16 and AV-8B Harrier. Kerry also voted against the Navy's Aegis Air Defense Cruiser and Trident Missile System for U.S. submarines.

The Center for Security Policy, a conservative, Washington-based think tank committed to "promoting international peace through American strength," has rated Kerry among the worst on Capitol Hill when it comes to national security and defense. In 1995, the Center gave Kerry a score of five out of a possible 100 points. Two years later, in 1997, Kerry earned a mind-blowing score of exactly zero.

It goes without saying that Kerry has voted against the strategic missile defense shield, as well as U.S. withdrawal from the antiquated Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. But while Kerry has gone to every length to inhibit U.S. security, by contrast he has cast two votes in the past ten years to loosen restrictions on the export of dual-use technology -- the sort of technology that enemies of the United States can convert into weapons and turn against us.

So much for Kerry's commitment to the war on terrorism.

In keeping with his sympathies on the Vietnam War, John Kerry became one of President Ronald Reagan's most outspoken opponents regarding the policy of militarily suppressing Communist inroads in Latin America, culminating in a controversial, if not treacherous, April 1985 visit to Nicaragua's Sandinista regime.

Following the Cold War, Kerry's doveliness continued unabated. Following Iraq's seizure of Kuwait in 1990, Kerry voted against authorization for the use of force -- which is more than can be said for Saddam Hussein. In 1995, Kerry was among 29 other senators who voted against ending the arms embargo against the Bosnians, even as Slobodan Milosevic escalated his reign of terror.

Concerning the authorization for the use of force against Iraq last year, however, Senator Kerry had this to say on 23 January 2003: "Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction ... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real...."

Kerry now says he believes the war was a mistake, and that he voted to authorize the threat of force, but did not support the use of it.

And Kerry's response to the questions raised over his defense voting record by Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss -- questions appropriate to anyone aspiring to serve as command-in-chief: "[The President has] decided once again to take the low road of American politics. ... Saxby Chambliss, on the part of the president and his henchmen, decided today to question my commitment to the defense of our nation...." And again, when responding to similar queries over his record: "I'd like to know what it is Republicans who didn't serve in Vietnam have against those of us who did." Vietnam, Vietnam, Vietnam....

Finally, to bring the Kerry record up-to-date, John Kerry didn't hesitate to breathe life into the conspiracy theory involving a U.S.-led coup against Haitian president/autocrat Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who resigned office and fled into exile earlier this year. Following Aristide's departure, Kerry remarked, "I think there should be some investigation of it. I have a very close friend in Massachusetts who talked directly to people who made that allegation [of a U.S.-led coup]. I don't know the truth of it. I really don't. But I think it needs to be explored and we need to know the truth of what happened."

So let's get this straight. Kerry admits he doesn't "know the truth of it," but at the same time he doesn't wince at lending credence to an unfounded rumor that the President of the United States (who he just happens to be running against in November) ordered the kidnapping of a foreign leader.

But then again, John Kerry has never had the highest standards of veracity.

National Security

Since 1986, John Kerry has chaired the Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics, and International Operations. So, if Kerry wants to join in the witch hunt to assign blame for the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, blame begins at home. Moreover, Kerry opposed the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, designed to streamline and solidify U.S. preparedness against terrorist aggressors.

Once again, Kerry's congressional voting record says it all, with the Senator voting for no less than seven major defense and military budget reductions related to national security.

Further, in his campaign platform for national insecurity, Kerry promises to repeal the 2001 USA Patriot Act, claiming "the spirit of the law has been abused by the Ashcroft Justice Department." In truth, the Patriot Act does little more than codify a series of executive orders in effect since the early 1980s, and does not represent a massive expansion of federal prerogatives. For the truth about the Patriot Act, see The Federalist's exposition: http://patriotpost.us/papers/03-41_paper.asp

Kerry also claims that terrorism is being used as an excuse for "an assault on immigration." Does he really want to charge the Bush administration with an assault on immigration, when conservatives are in high gear (mistakenly) criticizing President Bush's immigration reform proposals as "amnesty" for illegals?

That doesn't make sense, even by John Kerry's standards.