Friday, July 16, 2004

In Defense of Kerry

In a recent comment Kevin writes:
At the end of the article Dean says his group is a "grassroots organization that supports socially progressive and fiscally responsible political candidates." If we take a prominent issue from Dean's campaign (as well as Kerry's), health care as a "right" for all Americans, we can easily see the contradiction in this statement. To accomplish this progressive goal it will take an absurd amount of money, and for a true "fiscally responsible" candidate this amount of spending is unacceptable. This speech about the cost of health care by John Kerry (http://www.johnkerry.com/pressroom/speeches/spc_2004_0510.html) fails to mention how he is going to lower the cost of health care in detail. There are a lot of "glittering generalities" (a phrase Pat should appreciate from AP Government) in the speech. Kerry suggests that everyone visit his website to get the details - so I did, and I have been hard pressed to find any details. It's fairly obvious why the details are left out - the voter wouldn't like them very much.
...Some Americans are dirt poor, so the only affordable price for them is $0. The government will provide the entirety of the coverage for these people at that low, low price, and the rest of us will pay for it, not just those making over $200,000. After the Bush tax cuts are repealed in Kerry's utopia, there will be more tax hikes - for the vast majority of wage earners. I really don't think this is a stretch. He won't be able to afford his plans without a high-percentage raise in the income tax, as well as the many other forgotten taxes.
...Since many Kerry supporters are merely anti-Bush and subscribe to the mantra johnkerryisadouchebagbutimvotingforhimanyway, I would expect a healthy criticism of plans like universal health care, especially from the "fiscally responsible" candidates that will receive the support of the good Dr. Dean.
First, let's deal with what comes last, the alleged attitude of Kerry supporters that we all think he is a "douchebag" and that we are just voting for him because he is an alternative to Bush. Or, in more precise terms, we are a bunch of communists and we hate him (Kerry) but we couldn't stand the sight of another four years of the fascist, Bush. Something like that. Of course, the Republican talking point right now is to emphasize that Kerry and Edwards are "outside the mainstream" and "the first and fourth most liberal senators in Congress." Kevin's reference to Kerry's general douchebaggery is almost certainly taken from the website John Kerry is a Douchebag but I'm Voting for Him Anyway. Indeed, Kevin probably was referred to the site by me. However, upon more than a facile glance, it is easy to see that there is more than a bit of irony to the title:
John Kerry is a douchebag, but I'm voting for him anyway. Well, not really. That is to say, he's not actually a douchebag, or not nearly as much of one as what the media, George W., and even perhaps John Kerry himself have made him out to be. It seemed that every time I saw, heard, or read something about Kerry, his doucheness factor increased. It wasn't until I did just a little research on my own that it became clear that most of these occurrences could be explained as lies, deception, media excess, or simply poor campaigning strategy.
...I feel it is important to “clear the air” regarding some of the doucheier things that Kerry has done, been a part of, or been accused of doing. All of them have simple explanations, and in the end, stack up to almost nothing. When compared with his personal accomplishments, track record, and agenda, these instances prove to be nothing more than a spec of dirt on the bottom of his shiny, hopefully-soon-to-be-presidential shoes - when compared with the deeds of George W. Bush, they are naught but the sneeze of a field mouse against the sulfur and brimstone furnace-blast of unholy hell.
Essentially, John Kerry is not at all a "douchebag," and, indeed, he is actually a man of extremely impressive character who is, alas, like Al Gore, not one hell of a campaigner. The aforementioned website does a great deal to combat his image as a "douchebag." So there have been a few stunts (Jay Leno motorcycle entrance) and sometimes an inability to say perfectly reasonable things in clear language (sounds like a lawyer trying to worm his way out of something even when what he is trying to say is great). A lazy media that is just given to repeating unhelpful, thoughtless mantras, coupled with an agressive and totally unscrupulous campaign strategy by Karl Rove, leaves us with a huge impression of John Kerry as someone who "flip-flops" on every issue because he is incredibly indecisive, not to mention vain and "super liberal," "way out of the mainstream," whatever the hell that means. John Kerry is an excellent candidate for President, he's just not that great a campaigner.

I feel that this post is long enough for now. I'm gathering a bunch of information on the respective health care plans of Kerry and Bush, and my next post will present my findings. Needless to say, Kevin is more or less dead wrong in his assertions. Also, I have not forgotten about the "What is a Conservative?" post, I am just in the process of reworking my argumentative strategy. It will be along shortly.

6 Comments:

Blogger Kevin said...

First of all I did not say that ALL Kerry supporters feel that way, the word I used was many. Clearly, you needed to say "needless to say, [I am] more or less dead wrong in [my] assertions," since you did not feel the need to answer my ultimate criticism, which was health care as a "right" in the Kerry campaign. A good answer to this post would have been, "I agree with health care for all Americans, even if it causes my tax rate to go up, since leaving college and trying to start my life on a sound financial note can only be helped by giving more of my money to the government for a program that I will never benefit from," or, "I disagree with health care for all Americans the way that Kerry is proposing." Or anything else along those lines, something that answers the question. Another question that needs to be answered is whether you feel expenditures on health care, like in Kerry's plan, is fiscally responsible.

If you don't agree with Kerry's plans, but you are voting for him anyway because you choose to believe one source of information over another, then the website could be called "I disagree with John Kerry's plans but I won't vote for George Bush - not even if he dove into a rushing river to save my drowning sister." It's the same premise, just without the word "douchebag."

Finally, John Kerry as a flip-flopper does not originate with Karl Rove, nor is it a creation of anyone but Kerry himself. He voted for the $87 billion before he voted against it. He said to the crowd in this famous audio clip: "Now listen up, this is important." This is not something that was twisted out of context in the style of Michael Moore. He says he doesn't agree with the practice of abortion, he thinks its a terrible thing, but he would never vote against it. He gave the black power salute to the NAACP convention yesterday. He votes for things in the Senate and then complains about them on the campaign trail - like Bush's education plans.

This post was the first time I can recall you refering to John Kerry as an excellent presidential candidate, especially since you were right in recalling that you refered me to that website, a link you had in your profile for a while. As I recall as well, Howard Dean was your first favorite candidate. Now, my problem with this is obviously you can't agree with everything Kerry has proposed, yet you never speak out against it. I speak out against Bush all the time even though I support him, and I have made no secret of the fact that I support other candidates in the GOP, just as you must in the Democratic party.

July 16, 2004 at 12:14 PM  
Blogger Peter Parker said...

Damn, Kevin. This recent comment is going to get torn to shreds. Prometheus' words about how wrong you are in every sentence never rang truer than in this comment. If Prometheus doesn't bite, I will return to point out the flaws of your statements. As for the health care plan i understand that he is currently getting facts before he posts so thats why he didnt address it in this post as he, himself, said in this post. Word

July 16, 2004 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Well why don't you both bite? I don't see how a post like yours progresses a debate. I try to be respectful, clearly that cannot be returned. As far as Kerry's health plan, the commercial I saw from the Kerry campaign stated he would lower insurance premiums $4,000 for families. What do you think he's going to do, wave his magic wand, or tax us? Once again, there's no way that repealing the Bush cuts for only the >200k crowd will pay for this and the rest of his spending plans. That's what I am saying. Call my assertion dead wrong all you want, but do it with arguements, not what boils down to school yard bullying.

July 16, 2004 at 4:43 PM  
Blogger Peter Parker said...

youre right kevin, sorry about my comment. ive been in a bad mood all day. My bad.

July 16, 2004 at 5:46 PM  
Blogger eigenwill said...

Over at Crooked Timber -- and I have a feeling I'm going to say that quite a bit -- there's a continuing series (and controversy) on the cost-effectiveness of socialized medicine, with some interesting data that shows European nations spend less per capita on health with better longevity and infant mortality statistics. Of course, usual caveats apply, and I can raise several arguments against this, as many commentators already have.

July 21, 2004 at 5:10 PM  
Blogger eigenwill said...

I mean "several arguments against concluding socialized medicine is better" etc., and "data show."

AFAIK, you can't edit comments. Too bad.

July 21, 2004 at 5:11 PM  

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