Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Birds of a feather

Flock together.

Or per the picture, suck up to Third World thugs together.
Kerry's limousine liberation theology led him into one of the most embarrassing moments of his early Senate career -- his disastrous Neville Chamberlain-style diplomacy with Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega. Shortly after becoming a Senator, Kerry took off for Nicaragua with Tom Harkin on a free-lancing fact-finding tour, the purpose of which was to stymie congressional support for the Contras by "finding" that the Sandinistas weren't such bad guys after all. After Kerry met with Ortega, he returned to Washington waving a promise from Ortega that the Communist leader would moderate his policies. "We believe this is a wonderful opening for a peaceful settlement without having to militarize the region," Kerry said. "The real issue is: Is this administration going to overthrow the government of the Sandinistas no matter what they do? This opportunity puts this to the test." The normally cautious Secretary of State George Shultz was so flabbergasted by Kerry's shilling for Ortega that he denounced Kerry publicly for "dealing with the communists" and letting himself be "used" by Ortega.

Kerry's diplomacy blew up in his face. As Kerry was reassuring his colleagues that Ortega wouldn't establish Soviet and Cuban bases in Nicaragua, Ortega (a few days after he met with Kerry) was flying to Moscow to arrange a $200 million transfer of Soviet monies to Nicaragua. Kerry's sales pitch for the Sandinistas -- "I see an enormous haughtiness in the United States trying to tell them what to do. Our economic squeeze on them is very sad. The whole population is suffering" -- worked in Congress. It voted against aid to the Contras, even as Ortega was collecting aid from his Soviet bosses.

This angered Republican senators enough that they wondered if Harkin and Kerry hadn't known about Ortega's impending trip to Moscow and just didn't tell their colleagues about it lest the information change the vote. Said one press report at the time: "Liberal freshman Senators John Kerry and Thomas Harkin made a much publicized trip to Nicaragua shortly before the May vote in Congress on U.S. aid for the anti-communist freedom fighters. Insiders say the two senators learned while in Managua that Nicaraguan ruler Daniel Ortega was planning a trip to Moscow to ask for more Soviet support for his communist government, yet the senators failed to mention Ortega's plans, either to the State Department or to their colleagues in the Congress, before a majority in the House voted against aid for the freedom fighters."
Hard as it is to believe, the best line goes to Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd:
A new book by the Boston Globe on Kerry's Senate career quotes Kerry as saying that he was "as mad as anyone" that Ortega went to Moscow. But Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd said, "Where did my colleagues think he was going to go? Disney World? The man is a Marxist."
Of course, that was in the old days when Lurch actually showed up in the Senate.