Also joining, albeit clumsily, Kerry's liberal-avoidance gambit, is his biggest cheerleader, Senator Edward Kennedy. After accidentally admitting Kerry's liberalism to ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Kennedy came to his senses and attempted to brush over his intemperate utterance, saying that while he had never "shied from" the liberal label, Senator Kerry's handlers prefer the term "progressive."
Why not? "Liberalism" suggests a rejection of traditional values, appeasement, confiscatory tax policies and unrestrained domestic spending. "Progressivism" connotes forward thinking, innovation and intellectual heft, or so liberals hope.
But seriously, how can there even be a question about Kerry's liberalism? It's not just the National Journal rating -- though that is proof enough. He has amassed an unambiguous record since returning from Vietnam in 1971 as anti-defense, national sovereignty-challenged, a profligate spender, pro taxes, pro-abortion -- including partial-birth abortion, anti-death penalty, anti-traditional marriage (though he shamelessly denies it), anti-CIA and soft on law enforcement.
Kerry probably isn't so much afraid of the liberal label on economic issues since liberals can safely campaign as tax cutters, as long as they promise to tax the rich into Hades and punish big corporations.
But Kerry is afraid of the label concerning social issues, which is why he claims to support traditional marriage while voting against it and to personally oppose abortion while doing everything he can to avoid making it "rare."
Kerry's real fear, however, is being recognized as the flaming liberal he is on national security. No matter what they tell you, liberals know they cannot be elected as liberals during wartime. That's why Kerry holds himself out as a General Patton on the War on Terror, while simultaneously belching daily press releases that arguably undermine our effort and troop morale. While the DLC and DNC would have us believe that one's military service establishes one as bullish on national security, discriminating minds know that dog won't hunt.
What should concern a comfortable majority of the electorate as much as John Kerry's proven extreme liberalism is his dishonesty in refusing to admit it.
If Kerry and his 2000-Florida-election-grudgeholding colleagues were truly opposed to all attempts at disenfranchising voters, they would own up to Kerry's liberalism. An uninformed electorate is little different than a disenfranchised one.
But don't expect Kerry to exclaim in Boston this week or anytime before the election, "I'm a proud liberal." If he did, we could be sure that the election results in no more than a handful of states would be close enough for Gore's election lawyers to challenge.