July 05, 2004

AL GORE REMINISCED ABOUT PULLING TOBACCO, and John Kerry has fond memories of his farmboy youth:

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee told about 100 gathered at a western Wisconsin dairy farm that he empathized with the plight of rural residents because he, too, had not only farmed as a child, but he had lived, and had learned to cuss, in that earthy environment. . . .

''Let me tell you something: When I was a kid, this 'kid from the East' had an aunt and uncle who had a dairy farm, and one of my greatest joys in life -- in fact, I lived on a farm as a young kid. My parents, when we lived in Massachusetts, we lived on a farm, and I learned my first cuss word sitting on a tractor with the guy who was driving it," Kerry said as he stood, wearing jeans and new Timberland hiking boots, in the tractor shed at the Dejno family farm.

The use of the word "cuss" by a Massachussetts Senator, and by the Boston Globe, is surely evidence of creeping Southernism, but the real news in the story is this bit:

Kerry also said he would no longer favor the Northeast Dairy Compact, which expired in 2001, because it had been superseded by regional agricultural agreements in the 2002 Farm Bill.

I was for the Dairy Compact before I was against it! Mickey Kaus is calling it "Milkflop." And it is big political news, though I was more struck by the passage later in which a Kerry spokesperson clarifies the nature of Kerry's "farm experiences."

UPDATE: It's not just milk -- Ed Morrissey reports that Kerry is flip-flopping on abortion. Well, the nomination's sewed up.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The country-boy image isn't working.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader emails that Kerry isn't "flip-flopping" on abortion. Hmm. Well, I suppose you could argue, as Mickey Kaus has on other subjects, that what Kerry's doing is more properly called a "straddle" than a flip-flop: trying to please both sides by telling each the part of his position that's most palatable, rather than actually reversing position. Which is it? I'll leave the resolution of this burning question as an exercise for the reader. Which is worse? I'll leave that to the reader too, but quote this observation by Kaus: "Flip-flopping reflects indecision. Dissembling and straddling reflects a calculated , dishonest opportunism that isn't even smart in the long run." Your call!

Meanwhile, Tom Maguire has further analysis of Kerry on abortion, which readers may find helpful in making that determination.

MORE: Tim Blair looks at other Kerry memories.

STILL MORE: In the abortion story, Soxblog notes that Kerry gets four strikes.

Four strikes? Four strikes? Look, Iím no baseball genius like Terry Francona or Grady Little, but I thought after three strikes you were out. Is this what we can expect from a President Kerry? A shameless bending of the rules to seek his own ends? A smug sense that the rules that apply to others don't apply to him?

That would be so unlike the Senator we've gotten to know.