Matt Yglesias takes exception to my skewering of Kerry and Edwards for voting against the reconstruction money. He suggests it’s unfair for me to suggest Kerry and Edwards don’t have a plan for Iraq. Rather Kerry and Edwards simply voted against Bush’s plan because they have a better one. As Yglesias seems to understand — since he thinks Kerry and Edwards should have voted in favor of the bill — this really doesn’t cut it. At the end of the day, you get an up or down vote. The choise was yes or no, plan or no plan. This is a point Gephardt made at the Detroit debate:
I think we all try to do what we think is right. That’s what I try to do. I thought the right thing to do, even though I want part of it to be a loan and have a lot of other suggestions about where the money could come from, in the end you’re presented in the Congress with a vote, up or down on the $87 billion. And I can’t find it within myself to not vote for the money to support the troops, our young men and women who are over there protecting us, dodging bullets in a very tough and difficult situation. And so, I felt the right thing to do was to do that.
If we’re going to have a new standard which says legislators get a free pass for not supporting X or Y so long as they can claim to have a “better” plan for X or Y, then I do hope we’ll never hear about Republicans voting against Bill Clinton’s economic plan ever again.
Moreover, while I’m sure Yglesias follows the finer points of Edwards’ and Kerry’s policy positions, I have to say having listened to them in numerous interviews it’s pretty generous to say they had “alternative plans.” All I’ve heard is a cacophony of double-talk from Kerry, Edwards and Clark. Dean’s actually offered a bit more substance — bad substance, but substance nonetheless.