caught pandering in Florida

Slate catches Kerry in a real pandering lie, not a nuanced position:

"I'm pretty tough on Castro, because I think he's running one of the last vestiges of a Stalinist secret police government in the world,'' Kerry told WPLG-ABC 10 reporter Michael Putney in an interview to be aired at 11:30 this morning.

Then, reaching back eight years to one of the more significant efforts to toughen sanctions on the communist island, Kerry volunteered: "And I voted for the Helms-Burton legislation to be tough on companies that deal with him."

�Peter Wallsten, "Kerry Stances on Cuba Open to Attack," in the March 14 Miami Herald

Kerry actually voted against the Helms-Burton bill, and later tried to qualify by justifying his vote agains the final passage because there were some things added that he didn't like.

I don't see the lie as any more malicious than a given lie by President Bush - both men seem to honestly believe what they say when they say it. I suspect that Kersimply assumed he had voted for the bill because he agreed with the original intent, and wanted to press his point so badly that he didn't bother with simple due diligence.

He'd better stop. I don't know what it is about the Cuban American community that makes Democrats collapse into withering piles of jello to try and appease them - Gore did something quite similar as I recall back during the 2000 election, also widely seen as pandering for pure political reasons.

The incident reveals Kerry's instinct to try and minimize risk - I wonder if he gets burned like this enough times, will the risk-aversion train him to stop? Let's hope so. The entire flap was especially pointless given that Kerry is leading Bush in Florida polling.

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