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October 16, 2004

L.A. Times: Afraid of liberals?

The L.A. Times apparently thinks there's something to be afraid of in electing liberals. In an article today, it says that both Bush and Kerry are using fear in the closing weeks of the campaign. Kerry is using fear in scaring the dickens out of college students afraid of the draft, which is a completely bogus issue. Bush, according to the L.A. Times, is scaring people by calling Kerry a "liberal."

Bush, Kerry Both Employ Fear to Get the Job Done
By Matea Gold and Nick Anderson, Times Staff Writers

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — With the campaign for president reaching the closing-argument stage, Republicans called Sen. John F. Kerry the most liberal candidate for president in history, while Kerry said President Bush's inept prosecution of the war in Iraq had left the "great potential" for a military draft.

The paper notes that the Bush campaign is calling Kerry a liberal in a new ad but questions the evidence.

A narrator in the 30-second spot calls Kerry "the most liberal man in the Senate. The most liberal person to ever run for president." He goes on to say Kerry has voted to cut military and intelligence agencies.

"We live in a dangerous world that requires strong and steady leadership," the ad concludes. "John Kerry is a risky choice for America, a risk we cannot take."

The new GOP ad cites no evidence to back up the contention that Kerry is more liberal than every other presidential contender in the nation's history. Bush previously has cited a magazine analysis that said Kerry had the most liberal Senate voting record in 2003, although the results of that analysis may have been skewed because Kerry missed many votes as he campaigned for president.

Although Kerry is generally in the Senate's liberal wing, he has cast several significant votes on trade, balanced budgets, welfare and other matters that indicate a centrist streak. He voted to cut military and intelligence programs at various points in his career — along with some Republicans at the end of the Cold War — but also supported defense and intelligence bills far more often than not.

And the interesting thing is that Kerry himself is running away from the term.

Kerry's campaign Friday called the liberal label "misleading and disingenuous."

"John Kerry opposed his party to vote for deficit reduction, supported landmark welfare reform, supports middle-class tax cuts, led the fight to put 100,000 cops on the street and supports increasing our military," the campaign said in a statement.

When liberals want to spook people about conservatives, they use terms like "extreme" and "far right." When conservatives want to spook people about liberals, they call them "liberals." Apparently, the L.A. Times is on board with this terminology.