Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Kerry Sounding a Lot Like Dean... Except Not.

John Kerry's strangely unaffecting candidacy announcement speech sounded oddly like an uninspired Howard Dean. He strikes out as Bush, criticizing foreign policy, while admitting that he voted for "threatening" war against Iraq, an interesting reading of the Senate resolution upon the strength of which Bush MADE war, as well as threatening it. Apparently Kerry has decided that a slight recharacterization of the resolution he voted for is required. Kerry promised he will go back to the UN and internationalize the occupation were he President.

Kerry says he'll roll back the Bush tax cuts, except for those to the middle class, unlike some candidates (a poke at Dean). That he'll make up all the jobs lost under Bush in his first 100 days. (dangerous promise, that one) That he'll stop corporate welfare and will not allow corporations to move offshore and take government contracts. That he will build a system of universal access to health care by allowing people access to the Congressional health care plan, though, frankly, most people couldn't afford such a sumptuous plan and he didn't mention an income percentage cost. He promised to ensure civil liberities and equal rights, protect the enviroment, and end dependence on foriegn oil within ten years through higher CAFE standards and alternative energy(quite ambitous). He promised to litmus test for Roe any Supremes he might appoint. He also said he was looking to be the candidate of the NRA (another poke at Dean), and that we need to continue the assault weapon ban (though Dean supports this too, so what the difference is between them is not articulated).

In truth, I like Kerry. He seems like a genuinely caring and thoughtful guy. But he seems to lack a second gear. He grinds along speaking in the calm and measured tones of a career politician trying to avoid saying too much. If his mild pokes at Bush are supposed to help him catch fire and get shut of the constant bleed of support he's been suffering, this speech doesn't seem like the medicine. The one time Kerry's support really blipped was when he ripped Tom DeLay a new one for questioning his patriotism. If Kerry can whip up that kind of passion regularly, then Democrats might feel like Kerry was up to taking Bush on and leaving him crushed in the dust. Kerry does seem to get that many Democrats want Bush beaten and battered, broken like a dropped china doll, and that infernal smirk wiped right of his face; or better that face wiped right off his smirk. People hate his guts like they could never hate someone they had ever met. It's like the opposite of the hunger of the GOP to destroy Clinton.

Meanwhile, Howard Dean releases a press statement criticizing Bush for being a jerk to our allies because he called several European countries "chocolate makers" in a derisive way. Now that's a passionate and scrappy candidate. Dean doesn't let anything slide. He doesn't take any crap off those GOP twerps, and that's one major reason Democrats love him.


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