Kerry 1970 vs. Kerry 2004

On the way to lunch, I heard G. Gordon Liddy mention this Harvard Crimson piece from 1970:

Kerry said that the United Nations should have control over most of our foreign military operations. “I’m an internationalist. I’d like to see our troops dispersed through the world only at the directive of the United Nations.”

On other issues, Kerry wants “to almost eliminate CIA activity. The CIA is fighting its own war in Laos and nobody seems to care.” He also favors a negative income tax and keeping unemployment at a very low level, “even if it means selective economic controls.”

I noted yesterday that what I care about is who George W. Bush is now, not who he was in 1972. The same holds true for John Kerry. I don’t care if he was a radical in his youth; what matters is who he has been as a U.S. Senator and what he’d be like as president. I get the impression, though, that there’s still a lot of the 1970 Kerry in the 2004 Kerry.

Update: Megan McArdle agrees–and provides some embarrasing entries from her own diary to prove how much people can change.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. jen says:

    Well, his speeches recently aren’t that different in content, are they? Maybe tempered a little, but he is consistent then and now.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Yep. I don’t think he’s quite so doctrinaire on the U.N. anymore, but he’s clearly more of an IO guy than Bush.

  3. Vidiot says:

    Hmmm…was the 1970 Bush still using cocaine at that point?

  4. Who knows, who cares. We know Bush got past his love of drugs and alcohol. What we don’t know is whether Kerry ever got past socialism.