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Let’s Not Take Back Accountability by Misinterpreting A Senate Vote

by Pamela Leavey

James Boyce, who I consider to be a great progressive blogger linked to a misleading USA Today article yesterday in a piece he wrote on the HuffPo. What disturbs me about this, is that Boyce is a blogger that usually does the research and makes sure he’s got something straight before he posts it. This time, evidently he didn’t and he misrepresented Kerry’s stance “in 2005, when the last fuel efficiency bill came before the US Senate,” referring to an amendment (so noted by USA Today) by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill in 2005, that was defeated by a vote of 67-28. I responded to Boyce’s post in the comments on the HuffPo with this:

I looked up the Congressional for the vote that USA Today is talking about and this is the statement from Kerry on Durbin’s Bill:

    ENERGY POLICY ACT — (Senate – June 24, 2005) “[Page: S7376] GPO’s PDF
    — (At the request of Mr. Reid, the following statement was ordered to be printed in the Record.)

    Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I support what Senator Durbin is trying to achieve with this amendment regarding CAFE standards. Over the past few years, I have looked closely at this issue and believe strongly that we need a consensus path forward. I do not believe, however, that Senator Durbin’s amendment or Senator Bond’s amendment will achieve that goal. I have followed closely the information available from the National Academy of Sciences and have spoken with labor groups, automobile manufacturers, and environmental groups. We can, and must, significantly increase the efficiency of our automobile fleet, but we cannot do it without creating new incentives for automobile manufacturers to retool plants to produce advanced technology, more efficient vehicles, and lead the way toward an energy-independent America.”

The USA Today article that Boyce quotes, claims that Kerry took more money in donations from “automakers, auto unions and auto dealers from 2001 to May 31, 2007” than any other politician on their list in their left sidebar “CARMAKERS SHIFT DONATION PATTERNS.” I researched their claim on the Center for Responsive Politics who they cite as their source for this data. What USA Today fails to note is that the donations to Kerry appear to be during the ’04 presidential election and they are miniscule compared to the amounts donated to the Bush campaign and other Republican politicians. USA Today’s piece notes a trend in the automotive industry to give a little more to Democratic candidates this election season. But as research shows using the databases on the Center for Responsive Politics, Kerry didn’t even make the top 20 in receiving donations from the Transportation industry in ’06. USA Today’s claim looks like a lot of BS to me after doing some research.

I get that James Boyce like so many progressive’s want to “take back accountability” of our government, but let’s not do it by distorting the record of leader in the fight to hold “auto makers to higher fuel standards.” James Boyce of all people should know Kerry’s record on this issue.

At the time of the 2005 Energy Bill vote, Kerry stated about the bill:

“It’s time to give America an energy policy that works for America and works for the 21st century. It’s time to tap America’s strength – our markets, our invention, our innovation and our values – to control our own destiny. We need to embrace and foster a revolution toward an energy world that benefits our environment, our economy, and most importantly our security. This energy bill doesn’t even come close.”

Kerry has been consistent in his views and support of CAFE Standards, as seen here, here and here. We can’t make the changes necessary to improve CAFE Standards if they don’t include technology, innovation and renewable resources. These are all key to Kerry’s position on CAFE Standards and they should be key to all Senator’s positions on CAFE Standards.

If we are going to hold anyone accountable on this issue, let’s start with those who really are beholden to the automotive and BIG OIL industries and not leaders in the fight to make a difference, like John Kerry. I’m all for accountability and last I checked so is John Kerry.

9 Responses to “Let’s Not Take Back Accountability by Misinterpreting A Senate Vote”

  1. Adding in donations to the presidential campaign, that’s really comparing apples to apples.

  2. […] u’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!Following up on my earlier post about John Kerry and his stance on energy issues and CAFE Standards, the Senate Fin […]

  3. I ran across a pearl of wistom at a local restaurant. With appreciation and apologies to George for changing his original subject (mathematics).

    Ginny’s First law of politics and legislation:

    Complex problems have simple, easy to understand wrong answers.

    How can it be that in the age of the Internet, the pursuit of facts and truth interfere with making a deadline? It has never been faster or easier to write without distorting or deleting information critical to the subject.

    Maybe because there is so much available, it is less time consuming to skip it all.

  4. Darrell

    It was the only thing I could figure out as Kerry didn’t seem to get donations from that industry sector otherwise.

  5. The whole thing stinks to high heaven. It comes off as a hatchet job to me. USA Today is supposed to be the real media. Hello, do your research before you make claims against a voting record that can be brought back to whip you with. But it’s JK, so anything said against him is okay in their eyes huh? Creeps!

  6. Donnie

    I more than surprised that James Boyce didn’t do any research on this. I’m also more than tired of the let’s hold them all accountable routine. Some already are.

  7. Great work, Pamela. USA Today really blew it with that story, and I’ll be forever puzzled why James Boyce fell for it.

  8. Pamela, What I meant was for somebody to count those dollars in making the claim that Kerry had received the most money is as deceptive as saying something outright dishonest.

  9. Who motivated this attack by Mr. Boyce?

    It is absurd to attack Sen. Kerry, one of the leaders in pushing for higher CAFE standards and energy legislation especially if you support it.

    It seems like he is listening to (or was encouraged by) some of the democratic senators such as Levin and Durbin who have their own energy agenda and would be pleased to discredit Sen. Kerry to people who don’t know his record.

    Senator Kerry should be appreciated for fighting for energy goals that will make America stronger, and more prepared for the future.