So I voted for John Kerry, so I’m partisan, so my favorite baseball team is suffering through it’s 9th straight sub-500 season (or is it me who’s doing the suffering?) blah-blah-blah.
The Kerry healthcare speech yesterday, gotta love it! Any Democrat (or anybody to the left of Dick “I really do shoot first” Cheney) can find their personal favorite parts of the speech. But here are mine:
1. Attack Wal-Mart a.k.a. “the Bully from Bentonville.” You wanna show your on the side of the working people of this country? You wanna show you “value work over wealth”? Do the opposite of Wal-Mart. Kerry does this in spades. (I don’t just mean politicians, but all business people large or small. If you willingly follow the Wal-Mart model, then your soul is following the devil).
As someone with loved ones who have worked at Wal-Mart I am in a good position to know.
2. “As Democrats, we have to take up the cause and refuse to back down. We can’t triangulate this issue; no, we have to go to the heart of it— affordable health care for every American.”
Suck on that Dick Morris! (pun intended). For those who don’t know, Dick Morris is a political consultant and former Dem turned right-winger (in the 1980s) who championed Clinton’s “triangulation” turn in 1996 (aka freezing Dems out in the cold).
Before that, he had been a close Clinton adviser in Arkansas in the 1980s (recommended to Bill by Hillary). In between he served as top advisers to the Senate campaigns of Trent Lott and Jesse Helms!
It’s clear Kerry is taking a stand and not afraid to choose sides. No Democrats don’t have to be “divisive” or “incite class warfare” to win (that’s BushCo.’s job). But as “JFK I” said as he prepared to propose what became the Civil Rights Act of 1964 “there comes a time when a man must take a stand.”
3. Rejecting Reagan’s ideology-but accepting his political street-fighting logic. Why should JK not re-propose his plan? It’s a good plan. Besides JK said during the campaign he knows his helath care plan, like all health care proposals, could always be made better, so he was open to sensible amendements. I’ll put my money where my mouth is and offer two suggestions here: To help those buy into the government’s health care plan-rather than a tax credit make it a one-time wage subsidy that is earmarked for buying into the government’s health care plan (allow businesses to write off the wage subsidy on their taxes). Also, for the unemployed, have the feds put the subsidy into an unemployment insurance check(s).
Politically, what Kerry is doing is taking a page not from Bill Clinton-but Ronald Reagan. At the beginning of the 2000 election, liberal columnist William Greider wrote “I find myself feeling nostalgia for the stubborn clarity of Ronald Reagan– a leader who believed in a few big things, who repeated them endlessly, never backed off and never admitted defeat, though he frequently lost. The Gipper accomplished great forward progress for his way of thinking.
“Clinton instead has talked romantically about a far horizon of progress, then backed away from the messy political conflicts that might actually move the country toward it. The most serious omissions of his presidency define his failure, but are not even talked about in this campaign because he never took up the fight for them. He leaves no legacy on a lot of tough issues, except that he ducked.”
No ducking here! While there are those on the left who hold elected leaders to impossibly high standards, (and castigate you as Bush lite if you disagree with them on anything) it is true Democrats have often caved in-rather than have a workable political strategy or at least take the view of “we’ll win to have our ideas implemented-or go down swinging.” While this has changed somewhat in the past few years (lord knows there are a lot of fighters on the Democrat side) too often in the 80s and 90s Democrats could justifiably be criticized for trying to be too-cute-by-half. Between this speech and several actions taken by the minority Democrats since 2002, (e.g. Standing up to Soc. Security privatization, the recent petition for a pullout date in Iraq ,etc.) it becomes more clear that Democrats may not always win, they will not be bullied.
That is what Bush and the neo-cons are: not conservatives, but bullies. There are plenty of political and ideological ground for liberals to criticize the likes of Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, Bush Sr., Robert Taft, etc. But these leaders were not crooked, or bullies. Today’s so-called leaders are not only crooked, they’re bullies-like Joe McCarthy bullied everyone and the pre-Gorbachev Soviets bullied Eastern Europe.