portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts united states

government | human & civil rights | imperialism & war selection 2004

Difference between Bush and Kerry

As Bush marks the anniversary of the Waco massacre by campaigning against Kerry and in favor of the Patriot Act, Kerry's position remains unchanged since last summer: Kerry supports demise of the Patriot Act under its "sunset" provision and opposes Ashcroft's "Patriot Act II".
Difference between Bush and Kerry:

On April 19, 2004, (anniversary of the Waco massacre), Bush campaigned in Pennsylvania in support of the Patriot Act and against amending the Act to comply with constitutional guarantees of civil liberties. Kerry voted for the Patriot Act as an emergency enactment with a "sunset" provision, but now opposes it and wants to amend it. Bush favors extending the powers granted to the government in a "Patriot Act II" --- which Kerry opposes.


(04-19) 16:34 PDT HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) --

President Bush gave an impassioned defense Monday of the Patriot Act, using a visit to this electoral battleground state to warn that if the law begins to expire as scheduled in 20 months it would undermine domestic security.

"It's a law that is making America safer," Bush said of the measure that expanded the government's surveillance and detention powers -- and has been widely criticized by both liberals and conservatives.

With chief political adviser Karl Rove in tow, Bush made his 27th trip to Pennsylvania, a state he lost in 2000 and the one he has visited the most since taking office. State polls show Bush with a slight lead over Democratic rival John Kerry in the fight for Pennsylvania's 21 electoral votes.

The purpose of the trip was twofold as Bush, for the first time this year, was raising cash for another candidate -- four-term Republican Sen. Arlen Specter, who is trying to fend off a primary challenge from conservative GOP Rep. Pat Toomey. The primary is April 27.

Bush's message on the Patriot Act didn't mesh with Specter, who is among 18 co-sponsors of legislation that would amend the law.

Key provisions of the Patriot Act aren't set to expire until the end of 2005, but Bush argued that the law is critical for keeping tabs on terrorists and should be renewed. He mentioned the Sept. 11, 2001 crash of a hijacked airliner 140 miles away in Shanksville, Pa.

"The terrorists declared war on the United States of America and the Congress must give law enforcement all the tools necessary to protect the American people," Bush said in his call for Congress to make the law's provisions permanent.

Congress approved the Patriot Act after the terrorist attacks, but both liberals and conservatives in Congress want to allow some of the act's provisions to expire and have introduced several bills to do so. They argue that parts of the law are too intrusive on Americans' lives.

Opposition to the law has prompted lawmakers to pass resolutions against it in Alaska, Hawaii, Vermont and Maine, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU says more than 291 communities representing nearly 50 million people in 39 states have supported resolutions assailing the law.

Bush did not explain why he felt compelled to promote the law's permanence 20 months before it begins to expire, but his speech came at a time when his administration has been under fire for the steps it took before the Sept. 11 attacks with the intelligence it had. The independent commission investigating the attacks has kept the matter in the spotlight for weeks, putting Bush on the defensive on an issue his campaign regards as a political strong suit.

On Tuesday, the president will speak about the Patriot Act with law-enforcement officers in Buffalo, N.Y., near the site of recent criminal cases against the Lackawanna Six, a group of Yemeni-Americans convicted of supporting terrorism by briefly attending al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan.


From "On The Issues" web site

Include a sunset provision in the Patriot Act

Q [to Kerry]: Would you revise or repeal the Patriot Act?

A [Kerry]: I strongly supported including a sunset provision in the Patriot Act. Bush reportedly plans to introduce a second "Patriot Act" - we have learned from the first Patriot Act that the last thing we need is John Ashcroft rewriting the Bill of Rights. I am alarmed by what has been reported to be part of "Patriot Act II" and I will very carefully review any new proposal and fight to ensure that it does not violate civil liberties.

Source: MoveOn.org interview Jun 17, 2003
did I miss something? 20.Apr.2004 02:10

I don't think so

To support the notion that Kerry "supports demise of the Patriot Act" you quote his website which says nothing about his support for revising or repealing the Patriot Act. Is that supposed to be compelling? I mean, come one, is it really that difficult to point out the actual differences between Kerry and Bush that you have to resort to this?

Also, Patriot Act II was already passed. It was called the Homeland Security Act and Kerry voted for it (along with most of the democrats). I notice he hasn't said anything about repealing or revising that one either.

"I will very carefully review any new proposal and fight to ensure that it does not violate civil liberties."

That's so reassuring from someone who didn't review Patriot Act I and II, who like most probably didn't bother to read them before voting for them. But hey, he'll fight for us next time, if he's not too busy to read the legislation and doesn't think it will hurt him politically I'm sure.

TO "I don't think so" 20.Apr.2004 13:16

politics as possible

The clear implication of Kerry's statement is that he would allow the Patriot Act to retire under the "sunset" provision --- that is, in effect, repeal of the Act. On the other hand, Bush favors Ashcroft's proposed "Patriot Act II" that will enlarge the powers of government even beyond Patriot Act I. As for "compelling" --- I am not into "compelling" anyone to do anything. I am setting forth realities. You have to decide for yourselves how or whether you will vote in November.

Like Noam Chomsky, I believe that there are small but significant differences between Bush and Kerry that may produce large effects over the next four years. That is, large effects WILL TAKE PLACE in one direction or another, depending upon whether the Bush administration survives or Kerry gets a crack at it. It is a mistake to think of either a second term for Bush or a Kerry administration as an end-state. Politics is all about process, and the applicable analysis has to come from chaos theory. It is also dicey at best to glibly suppose that it will make no difference --- whether Bush or Kerry is elected in November --- in our lives or in the direction and intensification of the imperialist "war on terror". That idea comes under the heading of "complacency theory".

There has been a lot of posting here at portland.indymedia to show that there is NO difference between Kerry and Bush. Maybe there isn't a "compelling" difference --- whatever that might mean --- but there are significant differences. That's all I am saying.

clear implication? 20.Apr.2004 14:07

I don't think so

How Kerry could have answered:

Q [to Kerry]: Would you revise or repeal the Patriot Act?

A1: Yes I support allowing the Patriot Act to expire under the sunset provisions which I strong supported.

A2: Yes I believe that we should immediately repeal the Patriot Act.

But instead he says: "I strongly supported including a sunset provision in the Patriot Act" meaning nothing more than he supports the sunset provisions. Anything more is just reading into his statement. If you can find something about Kerry promising to repeal the Patriot Act I would love to hear it. But all he does in that quote is allow himself to continue to support the Patriot Act so long as it has sunset provisions.

I'm not disagreeing that there are differences between Kerry and Bush, but why is it so hard to make those arguments instead of something like this. Kerry is clearly not particularly opposed to the Patriot Act. Compare his statements to Kucinich, or even Dean. If one is concerned about the Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Act, and any upcoming legislation like the Liberty Act, Kerry is probably not the candidate for you.

Kerry is not the candidate for me 20.Apr.2004 14:59

politics as possible

TO "I don't think so" --- You are right as rain about that. Although I am basically a Green, I will be voting for Kucinich on May 18. (Just because I am the contrarian "politics as possible" doesn't mean I am a complete idiot in real life.) Maybe I over-react to the flood of stuff (much of it inspired by Karl Rove's propaganda machine) that Kerry is nothing other than a version of Bush. To equate to Bush, that would take some doing, even for Kerry.

Truth is, the situation is way too volatile for me to say how I will vote in November. Except that I will be voting and I won't be voting for Bush. Realistically, I consider the value of removing Bush (if that is possible) even if that means replacing Bush with Kerry. Also, I think that local, state and Congressional elections are of great potential importance --- especially if Bush can be defeated. And I deplore the current habit in America of treating the every-four-year selection of god-king-imperial-president as the only politics worthy of attention. That is one of the reasons I am a Green. We have to think more about changing the system on the way to changing the rulers, rather than the other way around. We do have, after all, the initiative process available to us.

"That's all I am saying." 21.Apr.2004 13:08

blah de blah de fuckin' blah

"Maybe there isn't a "compelling" difference --- whatever that might mean --- but there are significant differences."

--please, do list every single "compelling" OR "significant" difference between Bush and Kerry.

right here, point by point. less than 50 words each.

TO "blah de blah de fuckin' blah" 22.Apr.2004 13:20

politics as possible

Let's start with just one difference, since the opposition claims there are NO differences. John Kerry honors Earth Day today by announcing proposals for a healhty ocean, as follows:

(1) Implement Tough New Protections For Our Beaches

(2) Aggressively Target Toxics That Are Being Released Into Our Waters, Contaminating Our Fisheries And Endangering Our Health

(3) Create Federal-State Partnership To Address Pollution Threats

(4) Provide Communities With The Tools To Protect Important Coastal Ecosystems And Implement Smart Coastal Development

I am limited to 50 words, but details are available at the Kerry web-site:


As opposed to which, George Bush doesn't recognize that any global environmental problems exist. For example:

George Bush is reversing thirty years of environmental policies that have protected America's public health and safety. The Bush Administration has crippled provisions in the landmark Clean Air Act, rolled back important regulations, and proposed drilling in the pristine Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. Details available at the Kerry web-site:


You really are capable of researching this for yourself, "blah de blah de fuckin' blah", but you are too lazy to do so. With that laziness in mind, I will here save you the problem of refuting my case as made in this comment, by stating what you will argue, (in a mere 20 words), as follows:

"blah de blah de blah de fuckin' blah de blah blah blah blah de blah de fuckin' blah blah blah"

BTW: thank you very much for your brilliant fuckin' originality.