A little while ago I opened this thread to invite Kerry supporters to state why they were backing John Kerry for President. On the basis of quantity of responses, it was wildly successful; I had to close it down just before it hit 100. Certain other parties also found it cause for celebration; I was unwitting midwife to a brand-new group. I finally have sympathy for and understand the perspective of Snow White’s stepmother. And while it certainly was informative to see the “other side’s” perspective, it was ultimately onconvincing.
One of the more positive aspects of that posting, however, was when Simon of The Blogging Of The President shamelessly stole my idea and improved the hell out of it for a series of their own postings.
The main improvement Simon developed (besides actually moderating the thread, not opening it up and going to sleep like I did) was to limit people to three paragraphs. I didn’t, and man were some of you VERBOSE.
Simon’s “why do you support George W. Bush” thread was followed by Shaula’s own “Why do you support John Kerry,” and then “why can’t you support George W. Bush.” Conspicuous by it’s absence was the logical conclusion to the series — “why can’t you vote for John Kerry.” When I saw the way things were heading, I started preparing my answer. However, the question was never asked. Never to let a hunk of writing go to waste, though, I thought I’d put it here. I’m also flouting the rules a bit, going a little beyond three paragraphs, but if Shaula or Simon had actually completed their series, then they could have enforced their rule.
I’ve been a bit of a Kerry observer for some time now (living next door to Massachusetts will do that to you — New Hampshire is considered a “suburb” of Massachusetts in terms of media markets, highway funding, etc. etc.), and when it comes right down to it, I just can’t bring myself to vote for him for anything.
1) John Kerry lacks consistency. I just can’t tell where he stands on major issues. If the war in Iraq was “the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time,” then how the hell would have have “done it smarter” and “gotten other nations to help?” Is he pro-choice when it comes to abortion, or does he believe that life begins at conception? Is Israel’s security fence (which has proven to be a serious barrier to suicide bombings) “necessary to the security of Israel” or “a barrier to peace?” (I want to get snarky here and say perhaps Kerry believes in killing babies and that the existence of Israel is a danger to world peace, but I’m trying to be serious here.) He voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, which blocked gay marriage, and even signed a letter supporting the rights of gays to wed one another, but denounced the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court when they struck down barriers to gay marriage. I find myself agreeing with him about half the time, but I can’t trust him to stay with any position.
2) John Kerry lacks character. He has huge cognitive dissonances between his stated positions and his actions. He calls for the “wealthiest among us” to pay “more of their fair share” in taxes, but as one of the wealthy, he doesn’t. In Massachusetts, residents have the option of paying state income tax at 5.3 or 5.85 percent — Kerry has always filed at the lower rate. Thanks to her investments, his wife has an effective tax rate of 12.5%, while last year I paid almost 12% on a hugely lesser income. He’s a proud outdoorsperson, but blamed a Secret Service agent for his snowboarding fall (“the son of a bitch knocked me down,”) quit his bike ride when he fell, let someone else carry the goose he allegedly shot, and posed proudly with a shotgun that he supported outlawing. He calls for more fuel-efficient vehicles, but he (I’m sorry — “his family”) owns about half a dozen huge SUVs. He seems to go out of his way to endorse laws and policies that he wants to impose on us, but can’t be bothered to follow them himself. As Leona Helmsley reportedly said once, “taxes are for little people.”
3) John Kerry lacks any sort of record of achievement. I’ve repeatedly challenged Kerry supporters to cite three examples of things Kerry has achieved in his 20 years in the Senate, and never received a satisfactory answer. Kerry was one of the big movers behind uncovering the Bank of Credit and Commerce International scandal of the early 90’s. That was fine work, and I give Senator Kerry great praise for his work on that — he took on a lot of big power players, led the fight to take down a wildly corrupt institution, and won one for the good guys. I find it amazing Kerry hasn’t touted that in his campaign But other than that, what the hell has he done since Viet Nam? His attendance record in the Senate over the last year (missing almost 90% of all votes) would be the envy of Jeff Spicoli or Ferris Bueller, but without the charm of wrathful administrators. On the contrary — he still collects his paycheck despite doing virtually none of the duties it’s allegedly for, in violation of his oath to the citizens of Massachusetts who he is supposed to be representing.
Four years ago, George W. Bush became president, he didn’t seem to have an agenda. He had a lot of trouble getting his appointments confirmed, and nobody quite knew what he was all about. He was on his way to being a “caretaker” president, much like Ford or Carter, and have a mostly unremarkable term in office. 9/11 changed all that, and he rose to the challenge and found his identity and role as leader of the war on terror.
John Kerry reminds me a lot of the pre-election George W. Bush. But I don’t want to take the chance on seeing how he will develop in the office, and America can’t afford another atrocity like 9/11 to see what sort of president John Kerry will become in a crisis.