Skip to comments.Manila Folder John Kerry's 1986 wimp-out in the Philippines.
Posted on 04/02/2004 9:22:55 PM PST by quidnunc
I've had a nonpartisan grudge against John Kerry for 18 years. This seems an appropriate time to air it.
In February 1986, Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos unpleasant, unwell, and unloved held a "snap election." This was a somewhat baffling attempt to bolster his authority by running against Corazon Aquino, widow of the opposition leader assassinated by Marcos henchmen. The American diplomatic response was baffled. Marcos was a friend of America, and U.S. military bases in the Philippines were vital to Cold War strategy. But the Philippines was being rent by popular political upheaval, Communist insurgency, Muslim unrest, and economic collapse; and a stable government was needed. But a stable government run by Marcos opponents would be angry about the support Marcos had received from his most powerful, not to say only, friend.
Not knowing what the heck to do in the Philippines, the Reagan administration sent an official election observer delegation headed by Senator Richard Lugar to do what-the-heck. Lugar said his delegation's purpose was "to demonstrate the importance to the United States of free and fair elections in the Philippines." Marcos had ruled the country, by means electoral and otherwise, since 1965. There was little likelihood that the snap election would be free and fair. Not that the U.S. delegation meant to find out. Lugar said, "Our delegation is going to the Philippines to watch and observe and not to pass judgment on the elections." Among the members of this watchful, observant, and non-judgment-passing delegation was the first-term senator from Massachusetts, John Kerry.
I was in the Philippines working on an article for Rolling Stone. The elections proceeded predictably with, as I wrote at the time, "voter-registration records being destroyed, ballot boxes stolen, opposition poll watchers barred from their stations, and army trucks full of 'flying voters' moved from one spot to another." And worse. I went to a farm village, or "barangay," about 80 miles north of Manila to interview the family of Arsenio Cainglet, barangay captain for the Cory Aquino coalition. Cainglet had been shot dead while holding his favorite fighting cock on his lap. With Cainglet's 18-year-old daughter translating, I asked the mourners at his funeral if the vote count reflected the political feelings of the village. "There was an audible collective snort. The mourners looked startled. Some of them laughed. Then they were silent."
(Excerpt) Read more at weeklystandard.com ...
Now, with benefit of hindsight, I think I can tell you why Kerry didn't do so. He was caught in Kerry-ish calculation--an ambitious young senator on his first important bipartisan delegation with its delicate mission of neutrality. Cory Aquino was very popular. But so was President Reagan. Which way to have it? Why, have it both ways! So Kerry was firmly behind Pash Commit of Flips to Dem, up to a point. Just as today Kerry is brave sailor/bold war protester; foe of Saddam/friend of Hans Blix; political underdog/entitled nominee; big government liberal/corporate tax-cutting conservative; rider of Harleys/marrier of Heinz; and, incidentally, still a real jerk.
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Just as today Kerry is brave sailor/bold war protester; foe of Saddam/friend of Hans Blix; political underdog/entitled nominee; big government liberal/corporate tax-cutting conservative; rider of Harleys/marrier of Heinz; and, incidentally, still a real jerk.
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