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Whither John Kerry?

Earlier, in a comment here, I mentioned I was considering opening up a discussion where people could give solid, positive reasons why one should vote for John Kerry. It got some positive response (I think one), so I figured "what the hell" and decided to go ahead with it.

But first, a couple ground rules.
1) Only serious, positive statements about John Kerry will be tolerated. Sarcastic or cynical "positives" will be edited or deleted, as the mood suits me. (Unless, of course, I find them way too funny to mess with.)
2) Absolutely no mention of President Bush will be tolerated. This is to limit the discussion to "why vote FOR John Kerry," and not "why to vote AGAINST Bush." If you want to discuss that, there are a couple zillion web sites out there you can do that. You might want to start with Democratic Underground, the site so dedicated to free speech they TWICE banned me for not toeing their party line finely enough.
3) This will be a watched and moderated discussion. Although I am loath to do so normally, I will be exercising my authority to edit and/or delete comments. And by "edit," I mean I might remove words, sentences, or even completely rewrite postings as the whim strikes me. For example, "I'm gonna vote for John Kerry because Bushitler is an evil, stupid, drunk cokehead who has wet dreams of global tyranny and apocalypse" might get edited into "I'm gonna vote for John Kerry because I'm too stupid to read the rules and think they apply to me, and Kerry will make sure there's plenty of social funding programs to keep me happy and drugged and well-fed while I continue my existence as a waste of oxygen." Consider yourselves warned. (And before you ask, Rodney and McGehee, yes, I had you two in mind here.)

So, there you are. Any John Kerry supporters out there willing to step up and take the challenge? And remember, bonus points will be awarded to those who can actually look beyond vague promises and plans and show evidence indicating Kerry will actually achieve them.

J.

Update: It's just after 3 in the morning, and I just spent over half an hour cleaning up the various and sundry messes others left behind here. That'll teach me to set a time bomb like this, then go to sleep less than an hour later.

To those who played along and took my challenge seriously, my thanks. You've taken steps to improve the level of discourse of this campaign, and I appreciate it. And to those who took the opportunity to engage in rants and slams and sarcasm, I offer a collective "get stuffed" to friends and foes alike.

J.


Update 2: I've done the final housecleaning and closed comments on this thread. The next time I do anything like this (IF there is a next time) it'll be when I have time to babysit the thread properly.
For the record: Only a few people's comments were edited, and then later deleted. Despite some stated concerns, no one had their piece rewritten to change the sense of it (despite my semi-serious threats to do so). And while I had to delete a LOT of comments that broke my rules, I am impressed with both the quality and quantity of the responses. My thanks to all you fine people -- even the ones I had to delete. It reminded me of the danger of making promises I'm not fully qualified to keep.
One final note: Simon over at The Blogging Of The Presidency done stole my idea, reversed it, and made many other sundry improvements on it. I'd recommend going over there and expressing why you are supporting President Bush. I intend to this evening, when I get home from work.

J.


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Comments (57)

1. He seems to have a bette... (Below threshold)

1. He seems to have a better grip on reality on some issues.
2. All the polls seem to indicate the country is not going in the right direction, why not give another a chance.
3. There needs to be a return to ballance in the ballance of Powers. Since the GOP will probably manage to hold on to a majority in Congress, it will serve the interest of the American people better to have a Democrat in the White House.
4.I have serious doubts about his ability to convince allies to join us in Iraq, but living abroad I can tell you that a change would likely be good for our standing arround the world.
5. His economic plan makes more sense to me. Running huge deficits forever is not a solution.

Now I take it that you asked this question in sincerity, and that no flames are going to be permited in this thread, if not, kindly delete this comment, cause I am in no mood to be insulted, I am simply supporting you and Wizbang by offering my sincere opinion.

The Republican Congress wou... (Below threshold)

The Republican Congress would hate him so completely that the resulting legislative gridlock would stop the profligate spending in its tracks.

Kerry will better protect o... (Below threshold)

Kerry will better protect our constitutional liberties and rights. Along with those rights, he will better defend the separation of Church and state. He is for religious freedom, not religious control of government.

Kerry was a fall-back candi... (Below threshold)

Kerry was a fall-back candidate for me--an "anybody but Bush"--until I saw him on the Daily Show. There it was clear that this guy's not just smart, but balanced. There's a kind of middle-aged gravitas to him, not a heaviness so much as a calm self-awareness: a sense of "I know who I am and don't have to fake it." That's pretty rare in politics. I've seen the same John Kerry in the debates, and feel really comfortable about giving him my vote.

I've also been extremely impressed with how his campaign has handled all the Machiavellian Karl Rove bullshit the Bush campaign has thrown at them. That shows his ability to surround himself with good people who know how to work the system and get the job done.

Kerry would exhaust all dip... (Below threshold)

Kerry would exhaust all diplomatic options before going to war with any country.

John Kerry will show respec... (Below threshold)

John Kerry will show respect for science and the scientific community. He will base his policies off of scientific fact, rather than faith-based fantasy.

I support John Kerry in par... (Below threshold)

I support John Kerry in part because:

His understanding of REAL threats, including the fact that when the US invaded Iraq all that was initially secured was the Oil Ministry and air fields, not nuclear facilities nor ammo dumps. This understanding alone elevates my trust that he actually has safety in mind, not domination.

He's actually read the Constitution. plays it straight with people instead of invoking code words, i.e. Dred Scott, and will protect the separation of church and state instead of invoking radical right wing agendas nor skewing the courts toward radical agendas. His agenda is to protect the Constitution as written by the founding fathers.

He won't be trying to run the country as a business with Enron-like creative financing lining the pockets of the CEO's and raiding retirement plans.

Norml's 2004 Presidential Candidate Report Card though revised from an earlier report, still show Kerry's position more inline with the majority opinion of Americans.

The support and renewed respect he will gain from the international community will bolster cooperation and intelligence sharing, most of which is lost now.

I plan to elect Kerry for ... (Below threshold)
cul:

I plan to elect Kerry for the following reasons:

- To put an end to the secrecy and blatant lying that is the hallmark of the present adminstration.
- Because he recognizes the interdependency of nations and has a far better chance of creating a viable diplomacy with other nations.
- He thinks before he leaps.
- He understands fiscal responsibility.
- Kerry understands the civil rights dangers of the Patriot and will push to amend the more serious breaches.
- His desire to fully fund the federal promises of Homeland Security, taking economic pressure off the States and to fully fund the No Child Left Behind Act.
- His plan to rescind some of the tax cuts irresponsibly made by the present administration in order to fund the above. (Rescinding those taxes should not be considered a raise in taxes, because it is not).
- Because Kerry understands the basis of the separation of church and state.
- The US desperately some sort of national health care program and Kerry plans to approach that.
- I think putting restrictions on the outsourcing of American jobs is vital and Kerry has specific plans to deal with it.
- He has the capacity for learning and is willing to adjust his position according to the realities on new data.

A Note to Republicans: We a... (Below threshold)

A Note to Republicans: We are the Progressive Blog Alliance -- and we are your worst nightmare.

In addition: Kerry understands that the war on terror cannot be won with the power of our military alone. Contrary to the spin in the conservative echo-chambers of the net, Kerry will not make the US "pass a global test". However, Kerry DOES promise to use America's diplomats, intelligence , economic power, and the values and ideas to prevent a new generation of terrorists from emerging.

Here's two:John Ke... (Below threshold)

Here's two:

John Kerry is:
1) Someone who can put together two sentences without butchering the English language. ("In France, every Frenchman knows his language 'A' to 'Zed'...)
2) Not hung up on fear of medical technology (stem-cell research).

Jay, have you seen the docu... (Below threshold)

Jay, have you seen the documentary on Kerry that is playing in theatres right now, Going Up River? (Yes, the one by the same documentarist who made Pumping Iron about Schwartzenegger.) I highly, highly recommend it.

The documentary reveals Kerry as a young man, serving in Vietnam, and then coming home to play a pivotal leadership role in Vietnam Veterans Against the War. The courage, integrity, leadership and vision he domenstrates...also moved me from the ABB crowd firmly into the Pro-Kerry camp. The movie is all original footage with original audio (including Nixon tapes) plus interviews with the people involved. I can't speak highly enough about it.

The characteristics that Kerry demonstrated in the beginnings of his public career come up again in his little known battle in the Senate against banks that were laundering drug cartel money--banks that were co-incidentally tangled up with many prominent republicans. (Here is one summary from The Washington Monthly; a search on Kerry+BCCI will yield far more.) There is speculation that certain political players have had a vendetta against Kerry since his investigation of BCCI in 1987, which embarrassed a number of political people in this country.

If you don't have enough reasons to vote for Kerry, take a look into the BCCI story.

John Kerry promises to:... (Below threshold)

John Kerry promises to:

-Extend the Superfund (which reportedly saves $17 billion over ten years)
-Collect royalties for mineral rights on Federal lands (reportedly saves $1 billion over ten years)
-Cut electricity use by the Federal government by 20 percent in 10 years (reportedly saves $14 billion over ten years)
-Cut subsidies to high-income corporate farmers, something that desperately needs to be done.
-Freeze the Federal travel budget (reportedly saves $10 billion over ten years)
-Reduce the number of contractors employed by the Federal government by 100,000 (reportedly saves $50 billion over ten years).

The Federal government apparently employed 5.6 million contractors in 1999 - more than three times the number of civil servants. The Kerry-Edwards plan claims that it will reduce the number of contractors by 100,000.

John Kerry cares about women's issues. He was an original co-sponsor of the Women's Health Equity Act, and promises that as president, he will increase funding for breast and cervical cancer research and treatment, require insurance plans to cover contraception and fight for a meaningful Patients' Bill of Rights to guarantee women direct access to their OB/GYNs.

John Kerry promies that he will only nominate individuals to the federal bench whose records demonstrate a respect for the full range of constitutional rights, including the right to privacy and the right to choose.

As president, John Kerry promises that he will reverse the XXXX-XXXXXX rollbacks to our Clean Air Act, plug loopholes in the law, and take aggressive action to stop acid rain, and use innovative, job-creating programs to reduce mercury emissions and other emissions that contribute to global warming.

He promises to end corporate welfare "as we know it," and roll back the XXXX tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. He also plans to cut taxes for businesses that create jobs here in America instead of providing incentives to move overseas.

John Kerry would like to eliminate The "Disabled Veterans" Tax. Hundreds of thousands of disabled military retirees are being taxed on their disabilities.

He wants to combat homelessness. Studies have estimated that more than 23 percent of homeless men in America are veterans. As president, John Kerry says he will work to ensure that veterans get the support they need to find housing and jobs. In 2001, John Kerry helped to pass the Heather French Henry Homeless Veterans Assistance Act, an ambitious effort aimed at completely ending homelessness among veterans.

There are at least a hundred more great reasons to ponder at http://www.johnkerry.com/issues/policy.html

Hi, my name is Ben H. Houst... (Below threshold)

Hi, my name is Ben H. Houston II, and I too am with the Progressive Blog Alliance. There are many reasons to support our next President, John Kerry. First of all John Kerry realizes that Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaida are the culprits behind 9/11. Our next President will concentrate on capturing Osama Bin Laden and when we have an opportunity to capture him, he won't delegate that duty to Afghan warlords. Our next President will follow the advice of military experts when they tell him that we need more troops, or they tell him that we need to take advantage of an opportunity to capture a terrorist like Abu Musab al Zarqawi. [See this link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4431601/]

Our next President will restore fiscal responsibility to this nation by cutting out tax loopholes for corporations that actually encourage them to go offshore and by requiring those who have benefitted the most from all that America has to offer to sacrifice by paying the same share of taxes that they paid in the 1990s, when our national economy prospered. This tax policy will also allow the federal government to fund some of the current federal unfunded mandates like "No Child Left Behind", releaving the pressure on state and local governments who have had to increase taxes on the poor and middle class during the past four years. [See this link: http://quote.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000039&refer=columnist_wasik&sid=aUfkWACqky5c]

The next President of this great country will increase fuel efficiency standards and begin real efforts to find alternative sources of energy to oil so that we can become less reliant on Middle Eastern oil. This investment in and commitment to new environmental technology will also spur the economy by creating jobs in the short term, and making us much more energy efficient in the long term. It will also help us clean up the air in this nation, especially in certain smog filled cities like LA, Phoenix AZ, Atlanta GA, or my hometown of Knoxville, TN.

I hope that this is helpful.

What distorted quote, Nick?... (Below threshold)
Boyd:

What distorted quote, Nick? Are you saying that Senator Kerry didn't say that he would ensure that the US would pass the "global test" before committing troops?

Yeah he did Boyd, but what ... (Below threshold)

Yeah he did Boyd, but what he meant was a test of morality. Are we doing the right thing. Are we within our legal rights under international law. Have conservatives determined now that the U.S. should be able to attack anyone we want to becuase we suspect they may be a danger. If so, what kind of example are we setting for the world, especially when KNOWN dangers like Korea go unattacked. I have never had a conservative yet explain to me WHY we attack Iraq and Not Korea. No, what happens is, they go into spin mode, talking about what Clinton did. Anything that is wrong in the world is Clintons fault, or so goes the rationale. Well I for one am not buying it.

Why John Kerry?He'... (Below threshold)

Why John Kerry?

He's committed to a pay as you go principle for government spending - fiscal discipline.

He's committed to giving states the right to decide whether or not to authorize gay marriage.

He's committed to winning the war on terror and doing what's necessary to win - doubling special forces and adding 40,000 active duty military.

He's committed to building alliances where possible to increase our ability to win the war on terror.

He understands that the war on terror requires action across multiple fronts - military, diplomatic, intelligence, and international cooperation.

He's got the experience needed to shut down terror financing, as evidenced in his unpopular fight to close down BCCI.

He respects the military, including the military command and knows the huge price paid by grunts when civilians try to run wars from afar.

He has experience in the other branches of government - judicial (as a prosecutor) and legislative (as Senator) - and will better be able to work with them.

He has the integrity to separate his personal religious beliefs from his role as a leader.

He's got a record of standing up for what he believes in despite strong pressure to back off - from the days of his war protest, the BCCI investigation, uncovering the arms for hostages scandal, normalizing relations with Vietnam, and more.

He understands that terrorism is not primarily state sponsored but is committed to confronting states that are in league with terrorists - militarily if necessary.

He believes that America truly can win the war on terror, that we don't have to live in fear, that we can protect the homeland and create an offensive network to cripple terrorist networks. He understands that the cooperation of the international community makes this more likely.

He is committed to protecting the environment in a business friendly way.

He has a long and active interest in supporting small businesses as a key economic engine of the country.

He knows that there's a health care crisis but is smart enough to avoid a government run program, while leveraging the power of the government to provide coverage for uninsured kids and price breaks for the rest of us.

He's prepared to address the problem of corporate welfare fairly.

A single party running the executive and legislative branches has been disastrous.


And that's just an off the cuff response from another member of the Progressive Blog Alliance.

Why Kerry for President? He... (Below threshold)

Why Kerry for President? Here are my two cents:

1. Fiscal responsibility with a social conscience. Kerry has a better grasp of both the need to reduce our record-breaking federal budget deficits and of what it will take to get there. At the same time he’s made it crystal clear that he wants those who are middle-income to thrive – something we have not been doing for some time. The plans to improve the health care situation (from accessibility to proper health coverage to dealing with runaway prescription medication costs), to shore up programs such as social security struck me as solid. That we in the low and middle-income levels will not be squeezed further by taxes is a plus. He seems realistic about what can be accomplished in four years – an even bigger plus.

2. Character. Kerry has been willing to stand up and be counted when the situation has called for him to do so. Agree or disagree with the stands he’s taken on such issues as the Vietnam War, but be rest assured that the man means what he says. He may have come from a well-off background, but he sure doesn’t come across as sheltered, and I have every confidence that he’ll be willing to stand up and face his dissidents, his political opponents; that he’ll have the courage to admit when he’s been wrong. He has a very stoic temperament that will suit him well given the turbulent times in which we live.

3. Experience and knowledge. With around two decades as Senator, the man has been an active participant in passing legislation and strikes me as well-prepared to handle the rigors of Presidential life. I’ve been impressed with the role he played in helping to stop money laundering to terrorists a number of years ago, and I’ve been impressed with his understanding of the importance of maintaining friendships internationally. Kerry’s life experience as a soldier will undoubtedly influence his approach to foreign policy, and I have every confidence that he will use all tools at his disposal to protect America’s interests and security without unnecessarily endangering the lives of our men and women in uniform.

4. Realism. My own bias is toward political leaders whose domestic and foreign policies are data driven as opposed to dogma driven. Kerry strikes me as someone who will lead based on facts rather than on faith, who will make his case on whatever issue based on its merits rather than appealing to authority. Realism is a huge plus for me as I see it as a means to reduce the probability of disastrous policy outcomes in no small part due to the ability to recognize mistakes and correct them long before a situation can get out of hand.

5.Civil rights and liberties. Having seen the excesses of the last four years, I view a Kerry administration as our best hope at curbing the more invasive facets of the Patriot Act. Kerry strikes me as having a good grasp of the importance of protecting our safety without sacrificing our Constitutional liberties.

I intend to vote from John ... (Below threshold)

I intend to vote from John Kerry because:

His record on the environment is second to none and demonstrates he is a strong advocate for environmental protection.

Kerry understands that it's important to wage an effective war against terrorism. He has the experience, drive, and intelligence to make better foreign policy decisions that will make America more secure and prevent a new generation of terrorists from emerging.

Kerry will not place special interests of any particular sector over the good of the people.

He will work to repeal the areas of the Patriot Act that infringes or invites the infringement upon our civil liberties.

I want a president that will focus on rebuilding our economy and pass tax cuts that benefit all Americans, not just the very wealthy.

Kerry will fight to erase disparities in health care and make high-quality, affordable health care available to all Americans.

One more thing - the global... (Below threshold)

One more thing - the global test. Is it expecting too much that we be able to make a credible case to the world before preemptively attacking/invading another country? Is this so unusual?

At no time in his career as a Senator or during the campaign has Kerry said he'd cede control of our military, our decisions, our anything to France or any other country or organization. He has definitively stated that he believes we have the right to act preemptively. He also believes that we are safer when we have the support if not the cooperation of the global community and that a preemptive act should be one for which we can credibly make a case. You'll note that he didn't say once we've made that case, others have to agree with us. It simply has to be defensible.

If this 'global test' thing is the best line of attack on Kerry, an attack based on a clear and total misrepresentation of his consistent position, then he really is an incredibly strong candidate.

And before I completely for... (Below threshold)

And before I completely forget, I'm also part of the Progressive Blog Alliance.

1) John Kerry supported a b... (Below threshold)

1) John Kerry supported a balanced budget while in Congress - that kind of concern for fiscal solvency is quite appealing in a time of record deficits (run up by - oh, can't mention him, sorry).

2) John Kerry has shown a commitment to sound science in his support of stem cell research.

3) John Kerry has shown a willingness to take politically unpopular positions out of moral conviction, in his opposition to the FMA and flag-burning amendments, both unnecessary amendments used only for political division.

4) Whether facing enemy fire in Vietnam, saving an acquaintance from choking, or facing harsh attacks in a campaign, John Kerry has, over his life, shown a keen ability for exhibiting calm under pressure, certainly a positive quality for a leader.

5) John Kerry understands the need for strong alliances with our allies to help track down rogue terrorist groups all over the planet with the assistance of local authorities, while not sacrificing America's own national security interests. Our leadership needs to strike this balance.

6) Under a Kerry presidency, I will finally have some degree of faith that the decisions of government regulatory agencies are done in the interest of citizens rather than simply being the rubberstamped decisions of certain industries.

I do NOT belong to the Progressive Blog Alliance. I'm a freelancer.

1 - Kerry knows what he's t... (Below threshold)

1 - Kerry knows what he's talking about. That's different.

2 - Kerry/Edwards' tort reform will actually reform the law to keep nuisance suits to a minimum rather than a push a 'reform' that will protect corporations from the consequences of their illegal decisions. Their plan will work for us.

3 - More foreign leaders endorse him, which means he can do what he said he could do--build a real coalition.

4 - He understands what's wrong with the PATRIOT Act and how to fix it.

5 - He has a genuine sense of humor.

6 - He understands what's wrong with the Kyoto Treaty and has a pretty good idea how to fix it.

7 - He's actually been in combat, not just seen it on tv, and that means he won't throw life away except as a last resort.

8 - He understands that if you have to use the military to fight terrorists, you send the military after the actual terrorists. He knows that if a threat is coming from Canada you don't send the Army to Mexico, and that's a step in the right direction.

9 - None of his advisors is a neocon.

10 - John Edwards will be the Vice President, and he's the one I want in charge if something happens to the president.

I could go on but I don't want to overoad you.

Reasons to vote Kerry:... (Below threshold)

Reasons to vote Kerry:

to disavow unilateralist military adventurism;
to repair America's standing with the other major powers;
to support stem cell research;
to support abortion rights;
to support greater access to health care.


From another member of the Progressive Bloggers Alliance

I am voting for John... (Below threshold)
beta:


I am voting for John Kerry because of science. Stem cell research, yes, but more importantly -- do you know that right now many scientific panels that are supposed to provide hard data (not partisan interpretations) to Congress and the president are headed by industry honchos? These are scientists who, when working for tobacco companies, "proved" cigarettes are not addictive or harmful, or that drugs later shown to be harmful were safe.

Right now science is being trumped by belief. You have to respect what Kerry said in his response to the abortion question. Essentially, that he has his beliefs but he's not going to force others to hold the same beliefs. That's pluralism, that's America, that's what the terrorists are against. And dismissal of science is a necessary step for those who rule by ideology.

Put in the simplest terms: this country is deeply divided. It is irresponsible for someone who was elected by less than half the voters to legislate a single set of beliefs without compromise. John Kerry will compromise, defend your beliefs and mine. Science and judgment over broad visions that many do not share.

I'm voting for John Kerry b... (Below threshold)
tas:

I'm voting for John Kerry because we need a president who will restore our national prestige and trust in the eyes of the rest of the world.

This message was brought to you by the PBA.

I'm a centrist Democrat, li... (Below threshold)
Geoff Ryder:

I'm a centrist Democrat, liberal on social issues, and conservative on the budget. And I believe the science on global warming, so environmental stewardship is important to me. Given all that, with over two decades of public service, John Kerry:

-- has an almost perfect voting record on the environment, as measured by the Sierra Club.
-- has a perfect voting record on women's issues, as rated by women's rights groups.
-- is not in bed with GOP interests, and so we will get back a divided government that will force reasonable compromise (the GOP will retain at least one chamber of Congress for sure).
-- voted for balanced budgets, even though unpopular at the time.
-- served two decades on the Senate foreign relations committee, and knows more than nearly anyone about keeping foreign alliances together.
-- actually fought and killed for his country; he showed he has the guts to pull the trigger when needed.
When I learned about Kerry's record, I became enthusiastic about his candidacy. The U.S. would be lucky to have him as its leader.

I am going to vote for John... (Below threshold)
Kevin:

I am going to vote for John Kerry because he understands that America is a great, diverse, and wonderful country.

I am going to vote for John Kerry because he loves his country enough to fight for it.

I am going to vote for John Kerry because I know that four years from now this country will have a stonger say in world affairs through cooperation, respect, and diplomancy than through unilateralism and bullying.

I am going to vote for John Kerry because I prefer my girls to grow up in a world where they will have a safety net if something bad happens to them.

I am going to vote for John Kerry, not because I'd rather have a beer with the guy (I have friends for that) but because I believe he's intellectually up to the task.

I'm going to vote for John Kerry out of the purely selfish reason that my life will be better off four or eight years from now with him as president .

John Kerry - 1 - Sci... (Below threshold)

John Kerry -
1 - Scientific Literacy - not only does he respect science - he's smart enough to understand its implications when real scientists explain them to him (whereas GWB can't even pronounce "nuclear")
2 - Abortion - respectful of the Catholic and Evangelical Christian faith that life begins at conception - but more respectful of our constitution, which prohibits having religous doctrine dictate policy which affects everyone. Kerry is for making abortion safe, legal, and rare - which is the only policy that most people can actually agree on.
3 - Supreme Court - a justice may serve for 30 years or more. Those appointments matter, and the next four years will probably involve 3 or 4 appointments (Rehnquist (84 before end of next term), Stevens (88), O'Conner (78), Ginsburg (75), Kennedy (72), Scalia (72)), though it is not impossible for there to be as many as 6. Kerry seems much more likely to pick justices of superb reasoning and extraordinary constitutional rigor (for many reasons, one of which is that he can tell the difference), while Bush has already said he'd only pick judges committed to overturning Roe v. Wade - which is not only terribly divisive, it is also the worst possible way to pick a judge.

I could go on, but that seems enough for now.

rk

1. Though John Kerry had a ... (Below threshold)
Stephanie Dray:

1. Though John Kerry had a privileged upbringing, he’s always worked for a living. After Vietnam, he went to law school and became a prosecutor. He opened a victim’s assistance office, brought serious offenders to trial quickly and went after organized-crime. I like that he’s a straight-arrow who plays by the rules and is willing to enforce them.

2. As a candidate for the US Senate, John Kerry refused contributions from political action committees. Early in his career, he became a critic of government waste and broke with the Democrats to support a balanced budget. I like that he understands how money corrupts the system.

3. In the Senate, Kerry carved out a niche for himself doing important investigative work. He led the Iran-Contra hearings and stopped the illegal sales of arms to terrorists in Iran. He also helped shut down the Bank of Credit and Commerce International for laundering money of drug traffickers and terrorists. I like the fact that Kerry doesn’t just talk the talk—he’s been shutting down terrorist organizations for two decades, long before it was fashionable.

4. In the 1990s, Kerry investigated the possibility that POW’s were still alive in Vietnam. Kerry reached out across the aisle to Senator McCain, and with his help, they closed the chapter on that messy and misguided war. I like that Kerry is willing to work with people from both parties to heal old wounds; he might be able to bring Americans together.

5. Senator Kerry has been a tireless advocate for America's underprivileged minority youth. Kerry nagged Bill Clinton for all eight years of his Presidency to help these kids get an education. There weren’t any votes in it for him; it’s just something he’s passionate about. I like that he really cares about “the little person”.

Great topic. Thanks for op... (Below threshold)
krl:

Great topic. Thanks for opening it up. This is clearly a quality blog, one of the creme de la creme on the net.

I'm an independent who has strong opinions on various topics, spanning the political spectrum.

I hope you won't disqualify my comment for mentioning Bush up-front, because it's not the crux of the message. Let me say that I have given Bush many, many opportunities to prove himself, and he has simply disappointed me all-around. He disappoints me not for his political core, but for what I believe is his overall lack of competence to handle a very difficult job. I think it's important for me to say this at the beginning, because I don't dismiss any candidate based on his political affiliation. I happen to think Bush's father was actually a bit underrated in some ways, and a 'ell of an American, to be honest. The youngest commissioned Navy officer ever. CIA, Council on Foreign Relations, vice president, oil company. He did it all, and succeeded every step of the way. Bush Jr., I believe, simply rode Sr.'s coattails to the top. His pre-political career was notable only for being mediocre.

So now that that's out of the way -- just background -- let me move on to Kerry.

Kerry is a lot like Bush Sr. in a way. As a young man he always outperformed his peers. He was a step ahead. In his 20's his friends were already predicting he'd be president one day. He volunteered to go to Vietnam because he believed strongly in serving his country like the brave Americans did on D-Day in World War II. Winston Churchill was a hero of his. He was, I believe a patriot. And when he saw the country wasn't doing as well as it needs to do -- this is AMERICA -- he immersed himself bravely in the political spotlight at a far younger age than most would dare to. His character is, I believe, impeccable, and I think America truly needs this sort of leadership after what I believe are disappointments in both the Clinton and Bush years. First Lewinksy, and now just too much BS from George Bush, who promised in 2000 to be straight with us. In the first debate Bush actually said it was "ludicrous" to think that a new UN resolution would have caused Saddam to "disarm." What was he talking about? Saddam hasn't even tried to make weapons since the early 90's. I apologize for the Bush reference, but I think it's necessary to frame the current political environment. What we need now is a guy with the kind of character that a man has to be born with. Bush Sr. had it. A lot of our great presidents have had it. And I believe John Kerry has it.

That's the background part of it. Now here's the marrow. There is A LOT of marrow, and I regret that I don't have time to cover all of it. Issue number one, I think it goes without saying, is terrorism. This is the issue that overshadows all others this year, and it's the one just about all of us can agree is important. The Bush administration had the reigns of power on 9/11, so it's their conception of the "war on terror" that most of us are familiar with. But their version of the campaign on terror is seriously flawed. (And again, I mention this only as a reference point to Kerry's approach on reducing terror.)

On September 11, 2001 a privately-sponsored terrorist organization called al-Qaeda, headed by Osama bin Laden and his assistant Ayman al-Zawahiri, attacked America, killing 3000 Americans and toppling two of the world's tallest skyscrapers in the best city on earth. The group was being sheltered by the Taliban, headed Mullah Omar (remember these names), although it's more accurate to say that it was bin Laden protecting Omar rather than the other way around. In response, the Bush administration at first correctly focused on Afghanistan, as John Kerry and almost any other competent leader would have. Then, with the US mission in Afghanistan half-accomplished, the administration embarked on a wild goose-chase into Iraq, an adventure Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, and others had been advocating since the 90's (long before most of them knew anything about al-Qaeda). As a result, the US is now deeply distracted from what should have been its solemn mission of tracking down the utter lowlife who attacked us on our own soil in 2001.

One day when he was in Vietnam, John Kerry's boat began to receive fire from the shore. Instead of motor away from the incoming fire, he turned his boat straight into it and took out the bad guys. At one point he hopped out of his boat, chased a guy down, and killed him. When he was later awarded a Silver Star for his bravery, his superior said semi-seriously, you know, you technically weren't supposed to leave the boat.

But this is John Kerry. He sees a goal -- the real goal -- and he chases it down relentlessly until he nails it. When he came back from Vietnam, he realized the country could do better, and he was right. He was a young guy, and he made some mistakes during that time, which he admits. But he was right that we had veered way off-course in Vietnam, and we needed a course-correction.

Right now, we need a course correction in the war on terror. The Bush administration has defined it as a war against state-sponsors of terror. But the administration is totally misrepresenting the entire paradigm. With an unnecessary war in Iraq raging, the State Department tells us that anti-American sentiment in the Middle East has now reached "shocking levels," and terrorism worldwide is on the increase. This is the problem with our current approach. Terrorism is not something we can conquer with military force. It's not a mano a mano battle of who's the last man standing, as the Bush administration would have us think. Terrorism is as much a phenomenon as it is an enemy, and John Kerry understands this. He understands that we cannot simply smash terrorists, either by smoking them out of their holes or by toppling regimes. Al-Qaeda is currently present in about 60 countries. That's an increase from several years ago. In fact, the State Department tells us that as of 9/11 there was no al-Qaeda presence in Iraq. Today Iraq is a central breeding grounds for al-Qaeda.

John Kerry's plan to reduce terrorism is a lot less popular than it should be, because the Bush administration has defined the boundaries in this war against terrorism. They've turned it into a machismo thing. But reducing terrorism requires more than just a sledge-hammer. It requires a gentle touch at times as well. Make fun of somebody for saying that, or not. But it's true. This is not about appeasing terrorists. It's about increasing American national security. I'm not talking about the guys who attacked us on 9/11. They are toast, and John Kerry and John Edwards will track them down and kill them, as they have said -- and as Bush has not done. But there is more to terrorism than that. The next generation of terrorists is currently being recruited by guys who tell them America is evil, cares nothing about the Arab world, and hates Islam. And you know what, the Bush administration has helped them make their case.

As a lawyer, one of Kerry's focuses was organized crime. And whether or not it's popular to admit this, terrorism gets most of its strength from the same kind of clandestine networks. These are not networks we can drop MOAB bombs on. These are networks we have to dismantle -- forget the Bush administration spin. As a senator, one of Kerry's focuses was nonproliferation. Nonproliferation is a major key to reducing the threat from terrorism, as Kerry has told us many times. While the Bush administration, however, has focused on preemptively toppling regimes to try to reduce proliferation -- which, seriously, is no solution at all, let's be realistic -- Kerry has thought long and hard about a comprehensive approach. He's mentioned his plans for the Soviet Union (though it's hard to get into details in a debate), but he also has ideas for reducing proliferation comprehensively around the world. The Iraq war is going to be two years old in a few months. During the war, several countries have increased their arsenals. This brute-force approach simply doesn't work, and it's far too bloody and uncivilized (not to mention un-American) on top of that. Kerry won't hesitate to pop our top-priority enemies if need be, but he's realistic that there are simply too many guys out there invade them all.

Here's the score at the moment in the war on terror, for those not paying attention:

bin Laden: free, alive
Ayman al-Zawahiri: free, alive
Mullah Omar: free, alive
Iraq: previously, no al-Qaeda, now a prime breeding grounds for anti-American terrorism

Bush's policies on terror have been a tragic disaster -- I apologize, but there's no way to contrast strategies without mentioning the current ones -- and the nation needs a capable, intelligent leader who has many years of relevant experience on exactly the sort of tricky issues we're facing right now. Bush is a simple-minded guy, for better for and for worse. In 2000, that was OK. But terrorism is not so simple, and we need a guy who understands all the little things that must be done to truly reduce it. Bush has tried to combat terrorism with a sledge hammer. Kerry's got a sledge-hammer in his toolshed. He's also got a scalpel, and everything in between. This is precisely what we need right now.

I've probably gone on just about long enough. I could have covered lots of little issues superficially, but I wanted to tackle that one in at least a little bit of depth (though I've still left out far too much).

But let me cover a few other things quickly. Kerry's economic advisors are super-smart people. They like to talk about creative ways of stimulating the economy, the kind of thing we saw all the time during the Clinton years and that we've seen in other administrations but which has been all-but-absent recently as Bush has forgone intelligent economic stimulus for very crude tax-cuts-on-the-rich policies. I'm not suggesting that tax-cuts-on-the-rich have no place, but most economists do not believe that such a simplistic approach is the best way to stimulate a modern economy, and we can do A LOT better. Some of Kerry's guys are from the Clinton years, and some are from elsewhere. He's not a hippie liberal, as the Bush administration has tried to claim. For instance, Warren Buffett, who's advising Governor Arnie in California, also offers the Kerry team tidbits. In the last debate Bush cited Robert Rubin as someone who criticized one part of Kerry's economic policy. True enough, but you know what? Rubin's on the Kerry team. That's the beauty of it. Kerry's team can take criticism, and let smart minds shake apart economics until the best policies fall out of the mix. Robert Rubin is an economics genius, and for every bad thing he's said about Kerry's plan, he's said 100 about Bush's. When former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill criticized the Bush economic plan, Bush fired him. When Lawrence Lindsay (a key economic assistant to the president) criticized it, Bush fired him. You know what Cheney told Paul O'Neill? He told him, "deficits don't matter." Guess what Alan Greenspan has to say about that? He says our current deficit situation is putting our entire future economic stability at risk. He tells us this is not sustainable. The Bush administration is so ideological it doesn't have room for intellect. Cheney himself used to be a somewhat intellectual guy, but he's left that behind and joined up with a feverishly ideological crowd -- and this is not to the nation's benefit. So economics and fiscal policy are huge pluses for Kerry. Like Bush, he's prepared to delegate the responsibility for much of his plan. Unlike Bush, however, he's smart enough to deeply understand what his advisors are telling him about the economy. Paul O'Neill related to us that Bush really didn't understand the economy, and I believe that's dangerous. We need a guy who knows more than just how to rubber-stamp a tax-cut-for-the-rich, and Kerry's more than capable in this regard.

(For those paying attention, Rubin's name actually came up twice in the debate. Kerry mentioned him once as "Bob Rubin," and I'm not even sure Bush realized that was the same guy as the "Robert Rubin" he'd memorized for his later talking point.)

There are many other issues, of course. Our health-care system needs reform, and Kerry has a reasonably centrist plan for fixing it up. The trick is not to sacrifice the competition that makes American medicine the best in the world, while still providing health-care to far more people. And Kerry's plan tries to do just that.

On the environment, Kerry is a whiz but not a goofy Naderite. He understands that we need to protect this planet because it's the only one we've got, but he also knows that people need to make money. Bush seems to understand only the latter, no matter what he tells us. He promised to do something about global warming, for instance, and he's DONE NOTHING. We've gone backwards on global warming during his administration. This is not faux science. It's MAINSTREAM science, just as much as any modern medicine is mainstream science.

Another big plus for Kerry is energy policy. He and his team have some fantastic ideas for getting America away from this dependence on the Middle East that's simply choking us. The bottom line, pretty obviously, is that we need to move away from our over-dependence on petroleum. There are several options, and the Kerry team has framed this debate a lot more intelligently than the Bush team, in my opinion. For instance, America has several hundred years worth of coal energy, but only a few years of oil energy. But burning coal is very dirty. So one thing we can do is research how to make burning coal a lot cleaner. Another promising technology that you might laugh at is wind power. The cost of producing energy from wind power has come WAY, WAY down over the last few years, in some places almost to the point where it competes with traditional fossil fuel energy. We have to take advantage of this. One of the biggest options we have is fuel-cell technology, and the Bush administration has promised to help us move toward this, but they always seem to get distracted. I think they simply have too many friends in the oil industry (Condoleeza Rice even had an oil tanker named after for, for crying out loud...). It's ironic I think that the Bush administration came into office promising to fix our energy policy, but if anything we seem more confused about energy policy now than ever. Maybe it's because Bush and Cheney both got advice from Enron's Kenneth Lay, who knows. (Bush calls him "Kenny-boy.")

Energy policy is a serious, serious issue. The bottom line is that OIL IS RUNNING OUT, and it will almost certainly run out sometime this century. We just don't know quite when. In the meantime, our dependence on the Middle East will grow and grow, and if we don't fix this, we really are going to be sending our kids to die over there because this country can't make it without energy consumption.

I'd love to keep going, but I frankly wonder how many people have actually read this far, so this is probably as good a time as any to wrap this up.

John Kerry is a good man, and if you open yourself up to him, he'll grow on you; trust me. There's no reason to fear his plan on terrorism. If anything, we should all be very afraid of Bush's plans on terrorism. The "liberal" label doesn't fit Kerry, whatever that label means. America created more than 20 million new jobs under Bill Clinton, because his economics guys refused to say no. Kerry's economic team will have similar drive, rather than being hemmed in by crude ideology. He'll be honest with us, I believe. He knows the importance of defending the country, but also the importance of being patient sometimes, the importance of leading the world, and the importance of being straight with the American people.

Maybe you guys are disenchanted with Bruce Springsteen by now because he's participating in a Vote for Change tour, but I think if anyone knows what America is, it's Bruce. This is what Bruce had to say recently.

"America is not always right. That's a fairy tale you tell your children at night before they go to sleep. But America is always true. And it's in seeking those truths that we find a deeper patriotism. ...Remember, the America we carry in our hearts is waiting."

I think John Kerry will restore the America we all carry in our hearts. America is going through a tough time, and over the last few years I don't think we've always been right. But our soul is strong, and all we need is someone to help us pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and get back to being the America we all know and love.

Remember it? I do.


p.s. I realize I broke the no-Bush rule. You'd be justified in deleting my post, I suppose. This is simply how I think about politics. I think it's far more useful to compare two candidates than to talk about one in a vacuum. After all, the issue is how can we make America better, right? Not how cool a guy is John Kerry.

John Kerry will bring a gre... (Below threshold)

John Kerry will bring a great First Lady to the White House. Theresa Kerry is in a class with Rosalind Carter, Jacqueline Kennedy, and Eleanor Roosevelt. She does more than smile pretty, she has very intelligent things to say and will do great good for this country and our relations with the world.

"It is time that the world listens to women" - Theresa Kerry

For me, the best reason to ... (Below threshold)
Eric:

For me, the best reason to vote for Kerry (as opposed to voting against The Sneering Imbecile Who Shall Remain Unnamed) is that a Kerry administration will offer at least a modicum of respite for workers who have seen their rights and working conditions steadily eroded under the current administration.

A Kerry administration will enforce workplace health and safety standards, will not manipulate regulations to permit employers to cheat employees out of overtime pay, will negotiate for fair labor standards as part of trade deals, and will uphold and enhance the rights of workers to form unions for their mutual protection and benefit.

Whatever reservations I may have about John Kerry, the fact that his administration will at least call a ceasefire in the current administration's war on labor is sufficient reason to give him my vote.

(N.B. I am yet another member of the Progressive Blog Alliance.)

Oh and lest I forget, aside... (Below threshold)

Oh and lest I forget, aside from all the political talking points, aside from the fact that he served his country and, as someone mentioned earlier, he saved not only his own men but countless other lives in helping the country realize that the Vietnam war must end, Senator Kerry is a gentleman. This country needs a leader who will help us find a gentler side of ourseleves. A combination of strength, resolve, and gentleness can be a powerful force for good in the world.

Because I trust Kerry to li... (Below threshold)

Because I trust Kerry to listen to more than a select group of hand-picked ideologues. There's no magic solution to the Middle East, but Kerry seems to know how to seek advice, and to act on it even when it conflicts with a particular "party line." (That leads some, including me sometimes, to grouse that Kerry can be a Republican sometimes.)

In the same vein, because I believe Kerry will bring some much-needed openness to the government, and will tell the truth about what is going on in Iraq. Right now, the elites and the regular joes have a completely different understanding of what is going on in the world.

Kerry will also restore some of the things we had expected from our government -- some degree of independence for Federal agencies from the executive so that Congress, and the people, can get at the realities we face at home and abroad.

Kerry will support the right to choose. There are a number of things wrapped up there, including the roll back of some insane demands such as abstinence only education.

I've looked over Kerry's health care plan, and it seems like a bold step in the right direction. Look it up, if you're interested. I think Kerry has a majority of Democrats behind the fact that we need to "solve" the health care problem, NOW.

Kerry's rollback of the tax cuts will provide the government with the money it needs to fight this g-d-n war, and I'm sorry, but anyone who says ordinary people will be hurt by it is drinking the kool aide.

Finally, Kerry is not an ideologue. We though that the neo-cons would save us from terrorism, we were wrong. The fight against terrorism has many different fronts and many different battles, and it can't be solved with a rubric.

You're right, of course. Many of the reasons to vote for Kerry are because he is not Bush. But that just shows how awful Bush is. It's pretty hard to figure out how to get home if you're still face down in the ditch.

I'm voting for John Kerr... (Below threshold)
RubDMC:

I'm voting for John Kerry because I believe that he is better than the other candidate.

By 'better' I mean:
- more thoughtful
- more serious
- more informed
- more committed
- more motivated
- more experienced
- more qualified
- more intact (as a person)
- more in tune with the issues that I believe are important, and with the policies that I believe can begin to address the serious problems that we face (some of which are directly attributable to the current president)
- more able to attract qualified individuals into government, and more able to assess and draw upon their recommendations.

Thanks for opening up the thread. I've got a lot of reasons to vote FOR John Kerry, without hesitation. I can find no reason to vote for the other candidate.

Best,
RubDMC
Chief Cook, MC Run an' tha Phat Boyz Championship Barbecue Cooking Team

I am nothing but a register... (Below threshold)

I am nothing but a registered Democrat. I don't bother with labels outside of party affiliation, and I give the candidate for the opposing party fair consideration before making my decision.

I support John Kerry because:

1. I believe the "global test" remark was gravely misunderstood by Kerry opponents, and I think it can actually work. His past has proven that he will stand up for his beliefs, even under intense pressure, and the "global test" would be to simply gauge the rest of the world's sentiments. Support has to be a factor in the decision-making process -- even if it doesn't affect the decision of whether to go to war, one must consider this when planning the approach.

2. Kerry can successfully resolve the conflict in Iraq and leave a stable government behind despite the "wrong war, wrong place, wrong time" comments. He seems to place an emphasis on reconstruction in Iraq, and not war. I find this to be a better stance, because our objective should be to reinstate a sovreign government in Iraq, not to defeat anyone, as the concept of war insinuates. Also, if his mission is reconstruction and not fighting, we have a greater chance of attracting the support of those who have been opposed to the Iraq war. I still doubt the involvement of Germany or France, but with a different man in the White House, one who is open to diplomacy, they might have a change of heart, and it's better to ask than to ignore potential allies.

3. Kerry does not strike me as being soft on terrorism. What he does have is a completely different world view than those opposed to him. Like Kerry, I honestly don't think 9/11 should have changed our view on national security. It should have been a wake-up call to strengthen it. The men who hijacked the airplanes were seen successfully evading airline security, so we should strengthen airline security. I have yet to see this one happen via federal funding. Air marshals don't cut it. Osama bin Laden claimed responsibility, so we should've launched an immediate investigation into the attacks (the 9/11 commission) along with the military actions in Afghanistan. The commission should have been started on September 12, 2001. Not last year. Then the U.N. weapons inspectors should've been to continue searching for WMD, because Saddam's sudden compliance demonstrated a need for investigation, not war. All of these seemingly logical actions that did not happen seem to fit Kerry's law-enforcement approach to terrorism, and I feel confident that it is the approach that will make us safer.

4. Although I would've used a different choice of words, I agree with what Kerry meant by fighting a "more sensitive" war -- that is, being able to respect peaceful Muslims living in both America and the Middle East by not resorting to racial profiling while being tough on those who spread hatred.

5. John Kerry demonstrates a strong fundamental understanding of the U.S. Constitution, and I find him a well-qualified candidate to protect my constitutional rights. Rather than attempting to amend the Constitution, he simply leaves ambiguous issues to be decided at the state level or as a personal choice. His pro-choice argument about how he cannot legislate an article of faith demonstrates the proper interpretation of the separation of church and state. His promises to stop the medical marijuana raids in states where it has been legalized and let states decide the gay marriage issue demonstrates that he will not utilize big government as a tool for promoting his own agenda, instead trusting and respecting the decisions of others.

6. I'm not sure about Kerry's promise to cut the budget deficit in half, but he has shown me that he'll make an honest effort to do so. He was one of the first Senate Democrats to vote in favor of a balanced budget, and he continues to support that view. How will he pay for his spending? I believe that Kerry will cut back on some low-priority federal funding for the sake of trying to get our government out of debt, and rolling back the tax cuts on those making more than $200,000 a year should have an impact. Also, he proposes to create government-run health insurance, and a portion of the money paid for this insurance could be contributed to eradicating the deficit in addition to providing the insurance itself.

7. At the very least, I oppose outsourcing because I want an American whose speech I can understand to answer the phone when I call for tech support on my computer. I find Kerry's plan to offer tax credits for businesses who keep their employees in the U.S. the best way to combat such outsourcing, as long as the tax credits would be enough to outweigh the extremely cheap labor possible in many foreign countries. The best way to compete in the global market is to first establish a strong base within the U.S. and then expand outward, not encourage businesses to leave the country. Furthermore, putting a halt to the outsourcing of low-paying jobs opens up a vast opportunity to create jobs and perhaps alleviate beforehand the potential problems associated with troops that should be returning from the Middle East within the next year seeking employment.

8. According to Kerry's plan on prescription drugs, any of the drugs in Canada that we could be importing at lower costs are to be used. Nevermind that the drugs came from the U.S. in the first place. What counts is the bottom line: under Kerry's plan, our drug costs will be lowered.

9. With nearly 44 million Americans uninsured, even the thought of nationalized health insurance is heartening. Even better is how Kerry plans to make this insurance allow the individual to choose his/her own provider and medications, and leave other health insurance companies intact. The artificial competition provided by the creation of a national health insurance company is sure to lower premiums for private health insurance. In addition, Kerry tried to pass a stronger Patients' Bill of Rights, and no doubt would try again as president to prevent patient abuse by providers and insurance companies.

10. John Kerry seems to have found the middle ground on tort reform that helps both insurance companies and trial lawyers. Forcing cases to be reviewed by a panel of experts prevents lawyers from filing an excessive number of frivolous lawsuits at the expense of insurance companies, while allowing the lawsuits to occur benefits the lawyers' practices.

11. I find that when I review unbiased accounts of Kerry's military service in Vietnam, he served honorably, and heroically in some cases. Thus I believe him when he refers to how his military service strengthened his character.

John Kerry overall exhibits qualities that I look for in an effective leader. He served honorably in Vietnam despite reservations because it was his duty to the U.S. Time and again, he stood against massive opposition to act in favor of what he believed to be right. His leanings toward diplomacy restore faith that we can regain at least a shred of credibility with other countries. His interpretation of the U.S. Constitution is sure to protect our rights. Most importantly, I believe that Kerry's plans are right for America.

This comment followed my po... (Below threshold)
krl:

This comment followed my post, though it may not have been in reference to it:

>Jay, now you've done it. Wizbang has been
>discovered by DU and "progressive"
>propagandists worldwide, and they are all here.

I would just like to add that I did not arrive here from any other place. I was here because I enjoy political commentary, particularly at this stage of the campaign season. And I think it's unfair to simply dismiss points as being "propaganda" or "misinformation," rather than responding to them specifically. I think people ought to respect that this blog is a conservative-leaning blog, and not turn it into an obnoxious ad for the Kerry campaign. I do believe that this is a good opportunity to have an open debate, and I have a lot of respect for the blog guys for creating this thread. To me, it means Wizbang is one of the rare political blogs that actually cares more about this country than about a single politician or political party. So I take my hat off to this blog -- and just urge people to try to keep it respectful on both sides, and about issues rather than slurs, accusations, or insults. I think we all want what's best for the country, and one of the most damaging things is for people to second-guess motivations or insult intelligence. I believe there's no reason for that; and I'm not accusing -S- of all of this, I'm just writing a sweeping, general comment.

I think it's great to escape the ordinary political boxes. That's when things get interesting.

John Kerry's 1971 senate te... (Below threshold)

John Kerry's 1971 senate testimony about the insanity of the Vietnam War was both deeply courageous and intelligent.

1. Kerry will separate chur... (Below threshold)
Deb:

1. Kerry will separate church from state, appropriately reducing the mixing of politics with religion. The two do not mesh.

2. Kerry will focus on jobs, the economy, and social programs vs. military build-up (spending) and sending our men and women into war. He won't be trigger happy.

3. Kerry will be an articulate speaker, rarely ever mangling the English language.

4. Kerry won't be an eye twitching hot head.

5. Kerry will have a non-"school principal dictatorial and condescending" vice president.

6. Kerry will not attempt to strip women of their rights to their own bodies. He will not eliminate women's rights to choose.

7. Kerry will reinstate equal pay initiatives.

8. Kerry will not reduce or eliminate funding for emergency shelters, crisis hotlines and other needed services to protect women from violence.

9. Kerry will not leave behind nearly a half million children from child care programs nor cut back on after-school programs that enable working parents to know their children are safe after school.

10. Kerry will work to make health care and prescription drugs more affordable for the middle class and poor -- the uninsured in America.

11. Kerry will not cow tow to big business nor take care of only the top 1% in his policy decisions.

12. Kerry will fully fund the No Child Left Behind education reform act, support increased funding for special education and make college more affordable.

13. Kerry will not nominate Supreme Court Justices based on religious beliefs.

14. Kerry will do more for the protection of the environment.

15. Kerry will bring back sanity to policy and regulation -- and won't strip Americans of our civil liberties.

Vote Kerry because two aspe... (Below threshold)
emptywheel:

Vote Kerry because two aspects of his record show he is UNIQUELY prepared to compbat terrorism.

First, look at the history of his BCCI prosecution. Against the wishes of many in BOTH parties, and largely through his own force of will, Kerry sniffed out the funding of terrorists and showed why the CIA was failing in investigating these sources. This part of his RECORD shows that he will be able to prosecute the networks of terrorism (as compared to Ashcrofts 0 for 2000 rate on prosecuting terrorists--I mean, c'mon, we're letting terrorists GO!). And just as importantly, he will be able to take on and fix our intelligence agencies.

The second reason why Kerry is UNIQUELY qualified to lead us in the war on terror is that he has a commitment to moving us away from our dependence on petroleum, and he has a proven commitment and balance to the environment and to fiscal moderation. Right now, our country grows more and more dependent on oil at precisely the time that demand is driving its cost up around the world--so long as we follow this path, we can't take on the Saudis, the true source of terrorism and one of the real threats to us and to Israel. Kerry won't make us energy independent--but he will make real strides in making us LESS dependent on Middle Eastern oil. Only by doing that will we create the pre-conditions to stamp out terrorism.

Last January, I think it wa... (Below threshold)

Last January, I think it was, I read an article at Salon.com, an interview with Robert Kennedy Jr., a man whom I respect because of the quiet way in which he has worked for decades behind the scenes on environmental issues. He is somewhat public on occassion, but mostly RFK Jr. does his thing out of the glare of the spotlight. Anyway, he spoke at length about John Kerry and the Senator's environmental record. He spoke with conviction and passion about the Senator's commitment to environmental issues and convinced me that John Kerry was a passionate advocate for environmental protection and preservation. I looked into the Senator's record a little deeper and I liked what I found, which was man for whom everyone had enormous respect, a man who followed his conscience, who had empathy for those who were less fortunate, who had physical courage, who seemed at all times to stand for decency and helping others not just with words, but with deeds. A man with keen intellect and who could think on his feet (he once saved a Senate colleague's life by stepping off an elevator, seeing that the Senator was choking where others had seen the same thing and not known what to do, and executed the Heimlich maneuver). This was a man I respected and could appreciate. I have been concerned with enviromental issues for twenty-five years and this was the most environmentally committed candidate I had ever seen. I have also, for that same period, felt that the key to solving the Middle East crisis was taking oil out of the equation by finding alternatives, something the Senator speaks about in his campaign. This would also simultaneously have a net positive effect on the environment, allowing the air and water to clean itself. The result of that would also be an improvement in the food supply.

So I support Senator Kerry and have done so since that day in January (maybe it was February, I don't remember exactly). I was pleased to see the other candidates, several of whom I respected greatly, fall by the wayside as the Senator's campaign picked up steam. I will be delighted to see him win in november and take office in January. I have never been to an inauguration, but this is the first time I would want to be at one. This is a fine man who will make a good president and could possibly be a great one. These are times that call for someone who can be proactive and solve problems before they occur, a man with some sensitivity and vision who can forge alliances and also a man with the abilty to choose a new path. That, to me, is Senator Kerry.

Richard:Evidence f... (Below threshold)
emptywheel:

Richard:

Evidence for my points are easy.

For a background on Kerry's prosecution of BCCI, the original terror-funding scheme, see this article. You could read the congressional reports on the BCCI investigation (or thet CIA-drug investigations stemming from Iran-Contra), but this article is more accessible.

For a discussion of Kerry's environmental stewardship, see the LCV scorecard on his voting record. His score from this session is quite low, given his missed votes. But his voting HISTORY--at 88% and above--shows him to be a real leader in this matter.

For a discussion of Kerry's overall fiscal moderation, see this survey of academic economists (a group that tends conservative). On every measure except free trade, Kerry does better than Bush. And on "promoting fiscal discipline," 80% of economists choose Kerry over Bush.

Richard,I don't me... (Below threshold)
Chris:

Richard,

I don't mean this as an attack, but I have to disagree with your statements. It appears to me that you are allowing talking points to cloud your judgement. If you look at Kerry's voting record, you will see that the points made above are accurate: He did vote for a Balanced Budget long before it was considered a popular thing to do; He has been a staunch supporter of the environment for his 20 years in the Senate; He was one of the chief investigators into BCCI and its illegal practices; He, along with John McCain, was one of the chief investigators into MIA's in Vietnam. The list goes on and on. These are not talking points from the DNC or Dan Rather, but fact. If you are unable to discern fact from fiction, then I suggest the problem is with you and not those who have stated their reasons for supporting John Kerry.

I decided to back John Kerr... (Below threshold)

I decided to back John Kerry for President, one hundred percent with no reservations, midway through the Democratic National Convention. For the first time ever, a candidate allowed every single one of his inter-party opponents share the stage with him.

At the same time, a few Democrats who I feel are one or two baby-steps away from Zelling out were also allowed to speak. I'm also fairly certain that there were, at least, tacit invitations extended to Republicans to join the party, which they obviously couldn't do without committing political suicide (Zell is retiring).

The DNC proved to me that a John Kerry Administration would be one of the most inclusive and bipartisan administrations ever. And that would be good, I hope everyone would agree.

Very simple. John Kerry has... (Below threshold)
Tom:

Very simple. John Kerry has killed communists in defense of freedom and liberty. Period.

Oh. PS...John Kerry ... (Below threshold)
Tom:

Oh. PS...
John Kerry also had the moral courage to question the moral authority and wisdom of those whose commands put him and others in combat. He killed for his country and comrades; his guilt and outrage that he may have sinned (i.e. in the context of acting in an un-just v. just war) is worthy of respect.

First, I would like to than... (Below threshold)

First, I would like to thank Jay Tea for having the strength of character to solicit serious debate at this stage in the campaign. It has become all too clear that many people would prefer to muddy the water with false accusations and talking points in an effort to scare people into voting for their candidate. I hope that this discussion serves to further true discussion which is sorely lacking in our flailing democracy.

So why vote for John Kerry in November? Instead of filling this page with volumes of reasons I will focus on three. First, John Kerry is committed to governing this country in the best interest of ALL Americans. This point was summed up best during the second debate when the question of abortion was raised. Kerry stated, that while I he holds a particular belief as President he represent all Americans and therefore must govern with this in mind. I know people would like things to be black and white, it would be simple, but this is not the case. If the chief executive panders to one constituency he does so at the detriment to all others.

Second, John Kerry has proven during his 20 plus years in the Senate that he is adept at building and nurturing alliances. It is my opinion that we are at a crossroads in American history where we have a choice about how to best guide the world in a positive direction. Senator Kerry believes, as I do, that in order for the US to remain the driving global force it is today we MUST be willing to do more than use force to get our way.

Lastly, this nation is built on respect and adherence to the rule of law. Senator Kerry, a lawyer and former prosecutor, is keenly aware of this fact. We need a chief executive with this level of understanding to help rebuild the respect America has lost over the past four years. We can not continue to employ Federalist lawyers to find loopholes in law that suit our short term interests. The result, as we have seen with the current administrations “interpretation” of the Geneva Conventions, is certainly to produce more Abu Gharib’s and Guantanamo Bay’s.

The Progressive Blog Alliance

Despite an attempt at fairn... (Below threshold)

Despite an attempt at fairness in the posed question, I don't think a for or against question is appropriate in a mid-term election. During a mid-term election the electorate decides whether the president is worthy of a second term. If we decide no, the vote is for not-president, thus the couching of the question in condescending language is totally unnecessary.

I have plenty of reasons for voting for Kerry, primarily his stance on progressive-leaning (although not enough for me) social stances and a commitment to widen the net for those who need social services. Furthermore, I sense in Kerry a dignified, diplomatic perfectionist - and if there's any place for a diplomatic perfectionist, it's the Oval Office.

Lauren,This isn't ... (Below threshold)

Lauren,

This isn't a mid-term election. Bush's first term is up. We aren't deciding whether to continue his term; we're deciding whether to give him another. The next mid-term election will be in 2006.

Doug

I just want to thank all of... (Below threshold)

I just want to thank all of the posters who took this question seriously for their responses. I had my own reasons for supporting Senator Kerry. Now I have even more reasons, and I will now reference this page from my site, because it is a must read for any of the Senator's supporters. On this one page you have marshalled almost every possible argument for voting for Senator Kerry on November 2. Contradicting what one opponent said, these are not talking points, but an amalgam of the Senator's stated intentions and fine record. You all have my gratitude.

Jeez, Doug, thanks! Before... (Below threshold)

Jeez, Doug, thanks! Before coffee in the morning I'm an awful dumbass. I'm so glad you could come around and correct me while still confirming my intended statement.

Kerry is flat out smarter, ... (Below threshold)
Mike:

Kerry is flat out smarter, better educated, and more persuasive in his arguments (useful for negotiating with foreign leaders). Oh, and his wife isn't on anti-depressants 24 hours a day.

Kerry does have a senate re... (Below threshold)
John P:

Kerry does have a senate record, he did a great job investigating BCCI. He's smart enough to understand that level of complexity, but for some reason leaves it out.

One thing I noticed during the debates is that while the president understands the media better, Kerry understands the issues.

I want a president smarter than me. I fail to see the value of "My Next Door Neighbor" as President.

Thx for a decent thread! We're destroying our country with the current level of polarity. Bopnews.com is offering the same style pro-Bush thread and I will make a similar post there to help keep objectivity alive.

Not sure if I am breaking t... (Below threshold)

Not sure if I am breaking the rules here but Deb's first reason was:

"1. Kerry will separate church from state, appropriately reducing the mixing of politics with religion. The two do not mesh."

Is it just me or was that John Kerry who was campaigning in two black churches in Miami just this past Sunday?

Marty,"Is it just ... (Below threshold)

Marty,

"Is it just me or was that John Kerry who was campaigning in two black churches in Miami just this past Sunday?"

The separation of church and state does not mean that a President should not talk or appeal to Christians (or members of any other religion). It does not mean that a President should be an atheist. It means that government policy should not be tied to the doctrines or membership of a given religion. "Faith-Based Initiatives," for example, are violations of the separation of church and state. School prayers, which the sitting president supports, are a violation of the separation of church and state.

But, uh--you knew this, right? You aren't dumb enough to believe that talking to Christians is a violation of that fundamental principle in the Constitution. You were just trying to muddy the waters, to obfuscate the political issues, and hope to make it unclear just how Kerry is not just the Democratic candidate (with a capital D) but a more democratic candidate as well. Right?

Kerry is willing to engage ... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Kerry is willing to engage with the promise of democracy by speaking to audiences composed of citizens and strangers, unlike Jerry Falwell.
Granted, Kerry's neoliberal robes are a cause for concern, but that is simply a historical-political reality that must be negotiated and challenged and not simply sneered at.
Also I would like to second the recommendation of "Going Upriver" which shows a man remarkably prescient, mature and courageous for his years, at a time in this country that haunts the present perhaps more than any other, the lessons of which remain to be ap-plied.
Cheers, PBA.

Where to start?(1)... (Below threshold)
Adam:

Where to start?

(1) John Kerry has a proven record of public service, and I'm not just talking about Vietnam. As a Prosecuting Attorney and as a Senator, he has demonstrated a willingness to serve his community and his country. In all instances, he has done so honorably.
(2) John Kerry look ahead - the best example of this is his work to shut down BCCI, a money-laundering bank used by terrorist groups and drug lords, among others. This was accomplished despite pressure on him by both Democratic and Republican leadership in the late 1980s.
(3) John Kerry is a man of conscience. He served his nation in Vietnam, specifically requesting Swift Boat service, because he felt it was his duty to do so. When he returned from Vietnam, his conscience dictated that he speak out honestly as to what he saw while he was there, and to speak out against the war and its effects on both the Vietnamese and the young men sent to fight and die there. After the war, he and John McCain both worked to bridge the gap between the US and Vietnam and heal some of the wounds the war left in the psyches of two nations.
(4) John Kerry is not afraid to examine his beliefs against the evidence before him, and he is not afraid to change his policies as a result of this examination.




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