Political Hay

The Bolshevik in Kerry

Redistributionist at home, lefty appeaser abroad. It's all in his record.

By 3.10.04

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Yesterday John Kerry demanded "tax fairness for Americans." This is his euphemism for fleecing Americans who pay the highest taxes. What he calls "tax fairness," Karl Marx called wealth redistribution.

Kerry railed against the "the top one percent of taxpayers" receiving "breaks." He made sure not to inform his audience that that top one percent pays about 33 percent of income taxes. How is diminishing this disproportionate tax burden a "break"?

"Tax fairness" for Kerry just means ripping off the rich and redistributing their wealth to Americans who don't even pay taxes. He says that he will raises taxes on families earning more than $200,000 a year but will cut taxes on the "middle class."

Kerry's "middle class tax cut" will amount to government subsidies for Americans not paying taxes. In his mind, a middle class tax cut is a government-subsidized job retraining program. Notice he never straightforwardly says that he will cut the middle class's income taxes but rather, "We're going to invest in our people again."

When the middle class of Massachusetts enacted at the ballot box Proposition 2 1/2 -- an attempt similar to California's Proposition 13 to cap property tax increases -- Kerry didn't support it. He called the popular proposition an "impulsive overreaction." And as lieutenant governor of Massachusetts under Michael Dukakis, he stood by as Dukakis tried to suspend the proposition in 1982.

Kerry has always gravitated to the rhetoric of class warfare just as he has to crackpot world leaders who traffic in it. His support for "Father Aristide," the Marxist inciter of political killings Kerry tries to pass off as a benign priest, stems in part from Kerry's weakness for the class-warfare liberation theology the defrocked priest peddled.

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."

It was a revealing episode in Kerry's career. That he still talks about "liberation theology" -- as when castigating the Bush administration for its "ideological and theological hatred" of Aristide -- shows how deeply the culture of class-warfare rhetoric seeped into him. When Kerry calls for "tax fairness for Americans," it is that culture in him which is coming out.

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About the Author
George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author, with Phyllis Schlafly, of the new book, No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom.