Four Years Later, Kerry Admits He's a Liberal

During the 2004 presidential campaign, John Kerry tried to overcome the dubious distinction of being, per the National Journal, the most liberal senator.  His attempts to deny the obvious led to a memorable exchange with NYT's Elisabeth Bumiller [transcript after jump] in which he famously fended off the liberal label as a "laughable characterization."

But four years later, having lost the presidency and just this week failed in his bid to become Secretary of State, perhaps Kerry calculates he has nothing left to lose.  Writing at the Huffington Post, he's letting his liberal flag, or progressive pennant, to be precise, fly.  Pens Kerry in Keep the Momentum Going:

One thing we know about politics, you are either moving forward, or you are falling behind. The progressive movement had what we want to believe was a seismic win on election day -- but it's really only seismic if it continues to reverberate.  So -- here's the next most immediate round: the Republicans aren't resting, they're trying to staunch the bleeding -- sending Dick Cheney out to help out in the runoff election in Louisiana this weekend. I won't repeat that Paul Carmouche needs our help to grab his seat. Putting aside the MN recount and today's GA run-off, this is the last election of 2008, and I want us to end it as winners. Tomorrow, I'll have a post here at Huffington Post looking forward to what we can do next year on foreign policy, but let's make sure to finish this year strong.

Plenty of we's and us's in there, making clear Kerry proudly identifies as a member, nay as a leader, of the progressive movement. And as far as I can see, progressive is just a synonym for liberal, perhaps if anything slightly to the left of liberal on the political spectrum.

You might say Kerry denied being a liberal before he admitted it. It only took him about four years. So, how many more days will the Wall Street Journal's James Taranto have to count until Kerry delivers on his promise to release his full military records?  And will the MSM report on this latest of Kerry flip-flops?

PS: Don't you just dig Kerry's mention of having sent an email "to some of the johnkerry.com community"?  Country's crowded with 'em.

Special Recognition: to the first reader who identifies the event at which Kerry is pictured here.

As promised, here's that classic exchange between Kerry and the NYT's Elisabeth Bumiller during a presidential debate of February 29, 2004.

BUMILLER: Can I just change the topic for a minute, just ask a plain political question?  The National Journal, a respected, nonideologic publication covering Congress, as you both know, has just rated you, Senator Kerry, number one, the most liberal senator in the Senate. You're number four. How can you hope to win with this kind of characterization, in this climate?

KERRY: Because it's a laughable characterization. It's absolutely the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen in my life.

BUMILLER: Are you a liberal?

KERRY: Let me just...

BUMILLER: Are you a liberal?

KERRY: ... to the characterization. I mean, look, labels are so silly in American politics. 
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.