Question for Senator Kerry

I sat through most of your speech and did not hear anything new. We are used to the usual tactic of the challenger: contrast your glittering hypothetical to the incumbent’s messy reality. Maybe you can get Chirac, instead of Blair, to be your poodle. Maybe you would do all the same things as your opponent, but do them gracefully and to the applause of the world. I doubt it, but you are not the first to say it. I’m old enough to remember Nixon’s secret plan to end the Vietnam War. I don’t think your secret plan to make the permanent members of the UN Security Council follow your enlightened leadership will work out much better. Let it go; you don’t believe it any more than I do.

My question is this: if things are as badly awry as you say, what have you been doing about it? Senator Kerry, you have been in the senate for eighteen years. If health care were such an urgent issue, why did you never introduce a bill to reform it? If jobs are going overseas and American workers are not on that famous level playing field, what did you do about that? Every issue you raised in your speech is one that should have been addressed in the US Senate. Let’s stop talking about your Vietnam record. You have been in government for almost all of your life. Other than building your resume, what have you accomplished? Is there a major piece of legislation with your name on it? Please refresh my memory.

And if you have been mailing it in for eighteen years, what makes you think you are the man for this job?

33 thoughts on “Question for Senator Kerry”

  1. Mitch, don’t fret, help is on the way. Great republican talking points Mitch. Not very original. And your timing is pretty bad. The RNC already put out this crap weeks ago.Which I am sure you never read. Your disdain for Kerry is oozzing like oil in your rhetorical question My question is, why did you even ask it? You already knew your answer.

    By the way, Kerry is only 61. He was first elected to office in 1976. So if I do the math, he’s been an elected employee of the poeple for 28 yrs. (Oh, by the way, how many times have you been elected?) That’s hardly almost all of your life. It’s less than half of his life.

    Also, if you know anything about politics and representative government, a congressperson or senator does not have to introduce legislation in order to be effective. It is a deliberative body, if you remember. You are showing your ignorance of the political process with that statement (major pieces of legislation)

    And why stop talking about his Vietnam record? AWOL and 5xDeferment Dick love to wrap themselves in the flag and walk tall and talk tough when it’s not them or their kids being sent off to die or return like Max Cleland. ChickenHawks they are. When they had the choice, look what they chose?

    Finally, Mitch, the only way you’ll actually get an answer to your questions is to vote for Kerry and in 2008, see what major pieces of legislation he’s presented and passed. See if he did get the UN on board regarding Iraq. All of your questions would be answered. But, you’ve got to vote for him. You’ll know for sure if he is the man for the job after his first four years.

    After four years of Bush, I know for sure he is not the man for the job.

  2. Read a letter this morning on the Chicago Tribune editorial page that dovetails with this thread. This from Rebecca Sturgeon of Evanston:
    Kerry has a real plan to make education and health care available to all Americans.

    He has a real plan to reduce our dependence on foreign oil sources so we are not vulnerable.
    Really? I have heard that these plans exist, but I haven’t heard the first detail of how they will work. Unless Rebecca is a Kerry advisor, I don’t think she is aware of any details either, yet she will shill for him and his vaporware plans. This is not sarcasm, as a voter I want to know the plan Kerry has developed and how it will work. To the first commentator who didn’t leave his name, you don’t like Bush and will vote for his opponent and that’s fine, it’s your right. But don’t tell me to vote for Kerry and then see how it all works out. That’s a line of bull.

  3. Wow, a sneering comment that says nothing. Great work, no-name! Kerry’s only been a senator for twenty-eight short years, who needs to sponsor legislation or have any kind of reputation after three decades, and besides, the BusHitler is a chickenhawk! I’d feel better about the Democrats if anybody there seemed to care about anything besides getting “anybody but Bush” elected.

  4. The real plans are a deep secret since if they were known the VRWC would destroy them and GWB would steel [sic] them, simultaneously, of course.

  5. Thanks for saying it Mitch. That’s been burning in my mind. If he can do these things, why hasn’t he been doing them the past two years.

  6. What a cheap shot! Kerry ils in Senate…who controls the senate and the House and the veto? We are worse off in so many ways than we were 4 years ago…now whom do you blame–the GOP or Kerry? I had expected something a bit more challenging than this non-academic nonsense.

  7. freddie, stick to debating your mirror you mental parakeet. you seem to like reading your own writing, since you answer your own rhetorical questionsfreddie poo wrote: Is America better off in all ways now than it was 4 years ago?
    Posted by freddie poo on July 30, 2004 10:31 AM

  8. Because it has been danced around, when exactly and for how long has John Kerry worked in the private sector? That means doing a productive job for a company that earns a profit. I’ll be willing to bet it is no more than Bill Clinton (who I don’t believe ever worked a real job in his life, ywt he’s a millionaire).

    By my count, if he is 61 and spent 28 years as an elected official, spent another 5 as an unemployed toddler, another 12 + 4 + 2(grad school?) years in school. We know he spent 4 months in Vietnam, so that leaves about 10 years of opportunity to work a real job. Of course he’s a trust fund baby, so he certainly wouldn’t have had to work a real job if he didn’t want to.

    Enlighten me.

  9. Anonymous — I can’t restrain myself from saying that I voted for John Kerry before I voted against him. I’ve been one of his constituents for his senatorial career. It is quite undistinguished. He is not held in high esteem by his colleagues. Whether control of the Senate was with the Democrats or Republicans, he was ineffective. He, along with Jimmy Carter and Ted Kennedy, turned me first into a Reagan Democrat and then a Republican. Believe me, it is not from lack of familiarity that I dislike him.

    And are you saying that the Senate only deliberates without legislating? Even if that were true, why would we switch in wartime to a Hamlet when we need a Fortinbras? Bush has his problems (I did not support invading Iraq with Afghanistan still in an uproar), but they are different problems.

    I am still astonished to see Democrats using the chickenhawk/draft dodger argument. Maybe military service comes up as an issue only after a long dormancy, like cicadas. Clinton beat two genuine heroes.

  10. “Help is on the way”. With a slogan like that, I already feel relieved and ready to volunteer even more tax dollars to John and John who will never get us into a war but will kick ass when they do. And get the UN involved, which will solve everything just like it did in Bosnia, Somalia, Kosovo, Lebanon and the rest of the grand failure list…Anyway.

    More seriously – sort of – am I the only to wonder what has happend to the awful, immoral, disgusting, unnecessary, shameful Vietnam war lately ? I mean, it used to be all those things and only a limited, ‘balanced’ amount of respect could be given to people who fought there. For what they went through. Not for the duty itself, since that was oh so wrong.

    Suddenly, now that it’s about Kerry, it was all about “defending the country”. Against the imminent threat of North Vietnam, I guess.

    I am in awe at the spinmeister skills involved. For months, the message that Iraq was another Vietnam has been pounded into countless skulls; just another shameful, Nixon-like, “immoral”, “illegal” venture against an enemy that wasn’t. Yet for four days, we are told that fighting in Vietnam was about defending the coutry.

    OK. But if that was so, and if Iraq is another Vietnam then Iraq is about defending the country too, no ?

    As for our intellectually superior yet conveniently anonymous reader, one can only wonder what he’d have to say of McCain given his Vietnam and legislative record. Oh but wait; he’s on the wrong “side”. Counts for nothing then. Silly me. Never mind.

  11. WOW! Did the Bush re-elected jump!

    Oh, freddie? If the pubbies run the Senate, why don’t I have my judges?

    One would think I would have them by now.

    And here’s even more to ponder. The dems can stop judges, but the didn’t stop the budget. Why?

  12. Kerry can always initiate diplomacy on his own. Did the Bush administration forbid him to have discussions with them. He could have easily conveyed the many reasons for war that Bush “failed” to do. He could be acting as a go-between. However, he seems oblivious to the importantace of Iraq to Mid-East, Iran, and war-on-terror stategy (or intentionally ignorant).

  13. Frank is a troll. He adds nothing to the conversation. He is the equivalent of dog shit on the rug. I nominate his comment for deletion. Do I hear a second?

  14. There’s 2 Franks here. My post was to freddie poo at 10:53 this morning. I don’t know who the last Frank was, for that reason I’ll sign with an initial, and ask the moderators to change my previous signature.

  15. Sylvain,

    You noticed the “defended my country in Vietnam” line too? That one really made me sit up and do a John Stewart-style eye rubbing. Whaa? It truly is amazing how long and in how many ways Kerry has milked his four months in Vietnam. I would love to see a break down of the Kerry experience to speecifying ratio on last night’s performance: 4 months in Vietnam/X minutes on Vietnam in speech = Y; 240 months in Senate/ Z minutes on legislative accomplishments in speech = ?

  16. I would second the motion to delete, except for the fact that cynics and morons are best revealed by their own words.

  17. Does anyone know if that article in GQ w/the pic of W and the geisha girls is satire or not?

    It would explain Alabama for the troll.

  18. Too late. Troll is gone.
    Now that I reflect on it, the troll’s style was a lot like that farrago of nonsense that appeared in the first anonymous comment.

  19. So much for freedom of speech.
    John Ashcroft would be proud of you.
    How many months did Galineau spend in Vietnam
    or any other war? I’m curious.

  20. I cry all day for your freedom of speech.

    Freedom of speech is a fine thing. Feel free to exercise it all you want at your own expense and on your own property. IF you exercise your speech on this blog, our property, you shall behave with what we consider to be minimal civility. That is mandatory. If you fail to do so we reserve the right to expunge your “free speech” at our own discretion and without notice. Those are the house rules. Get used to it.

    Oh yeah — that’s Mr. Galineau to you.

  21. Oh, now you are going to privatize the web? Handling opposing opinions, or the free market of political discourse, is a sign of intellectual maturity. If like minded comments are desired, make this site or comment area password protected. Then you have your own “gated community” of like minded individuals. Uncivil words? Was anyone told to go Cheney themselves Are words behaviour. Is a thought a behaviour? Perhaps I am talking to the four eggplants of the apocalypse. Who knows. Speaking of civility, I’ve read some mean spirited stuff from the Contributors directed at unwary, ill prepared individuals on some of the other entries. The maxim, you can dish it out but you can’t take it is apt. Is this the harbonger of fascist free speech? Only time will tell.

  22. It’s harbinger with an I. If you cannot think or argue without calling people fascists, it’s your life. At least learn to spell.

    And yes, this blog is private property. Just like a restaurant : although the owners let you walk in without submitting you to an ID check and a search, it doesn’t mean you can shit on the carpet and smash the dishes just because you happen to feel like it. Nobody is demanding that you like the food, but the fact that you do not does not entitle you to behave like a jackass.

    So you either have something productive and constructive to offer, or kindly take your superior “intellectual maturity” to a more suitable setting. Like Usenet. Thank you.

  23. I resent the attacks on spelling. My English skill aren’t the best, but I’m no idiot.

    Look what that shitty troll has done. Completely derailed the discussion. Not one thing he said has any validity or relevance. I think Andy is right about letting them discredit themselves, but when something doesn’t deserve a response…

    I propose deleting most of the responses to the trolls.

  24. I propose ignoring those who offer no rational discourse. Nothing would hurt them more.

    Indifference, not hate, is the opposite of love.

  25. Maybe this should be a different thread, but seeing “fascist” used as an all-purpose pejorative makes me wonder if it is still possible to have a political discourse across the divide. Many of the people closest to me, including my parents and most of my siblings, are on the left; some traditional lunch-bucket Democrats, some are rather doctrinaire socialists. I’ve found that it is impossible to get the other party to stop throwing around the catchwords of their party, and it is a struggle to avoid doing it yourself. When you get to that point, you might as well go get yourself a snack and see what’s going on in another part of the house.

    Here are some techniques I would recommend to avoid getting to that point:
    1. Get your facts straight. I had a long, pointless discussion with well-meaning people about the Florida election. Frustrated by that, I actually did some research on the newspaper recounts and read the Florida SC ruling and the SCOTUS decision. Then I went back and looked at some truly ugly elections (Hayes has my nomination for the worst). It made a big difference next time.
    2. Find common ground. If your own position derives from a firmly-held belief, can it be justified on another basis that you share?
    3. Don’t overstate your case. This is maybe the hardest for me. Bush has been a disappointment for me in many ways, but I don’t hate him. Neither do I hate Kerry. I dislike him and have said so, and consider his qualifications meagre. To me, he is a mediocrity, not the devil incarnate. I can’t see that Bush is much worse than a middling president either, and he is doing much better (aggressiveness is not always a bad thing) on the war than I would have expected, although more statist on social and economic issues than I would like to see.

    T. Roll, if you go over my original post, you will see that I called Kerry to account for his record in the Senate. Is that unfair? Is it not germane to the issue at hand? If you can defend his record, please do so without recourse to fits of name-calling. If you believe his record is irrelevant, be prepared to defend this unusual position. If an argument cuts both ways (Bush’s military service vs. Clinton’s), discretion should indicate that you need a better one. And as for free speech, you can set up a free weblog with Blogger with a minimum of technical skills. Other than that, you can say what you want, but not where you want.

  26. The following quote is from a learned jurist who paraphrased J. S. Mill from On Liberty

    Remember that defenders of a position become flabby when they have no attackers to put them on their mettle. They forget the arguments for their position because no one is pushing them to argue for it. Surrounded by the like-minded, browsing comfortably in a herd,implicitly defining a narrow channel of [conservatism] as the mainstream, many… become dogmatically complacent. Their conversational community is an echo chamber. They utter as truisms what a detached observer would recognize as prejudices.

    Mitch, your comment of July 31 is duly noted and provides food for thought.

  27. Trolloid,

    We love a good debate with a thoughtful opponents. However, gnats do not qualify.

    Instead of paraphrasing Mill through an anonymous “learned jurist”, maybe you should quote the original…

    Your own comments so far are a rather perfect example of Paul Craig Roberts’ Rochester Theory : “People do seek out contrary opinion, not to test their own, but to beat it up in demonstration of their moral superiority.” Which they never need to argue or prove, of course, because their certainty convinces them that anyone in disagreement can only be a contemptible idiot, by definition.

    So what you’re clearly missing in your little quote is that it’s a two-way street. You cannot demand arguments without offering any – and Mitch certainly offered his, which you conveniently ignored – yet you have nothing to offer beyond soundbites, flat assertions, name-calling and condescending sneering….

    So since you can demand that others argue without doing the same, you implicitly consider yourself and your beliefs to be above or beyond everyone else’s here; which also, quite clearly, entitles to behave like a cackling jackass, conveniently hidden in the comfort of online anonymity. Very impressive.

    More seriously, we are glad you found a good description of your problem. Overcoming denial is the first step, and we’re genuinely happy for you.

    …by the way, why is “[conservatism]” bracketed ? Just curious….

  28. It is fascinating to read comments that resemble a high school debate team. What argument did Mitch offer: I voted for Kerry and he’s been ineffective? Obviously the majority of Massachusettians have approved of Kerry’s performance for many years and think he is effective. Mitch does not offer any specific reasons regarding Kerry’s supposed ineffectiveness. Zippo. Nada. Didn’t intro any major legislation? How many senators do? And how does that relate to being a presidential candidate? The statement that he is not held in high esteem by his colleagues is baseless unless you’ve got references: Which colleagues don’t hold him in high esteem? Define high esteem? Why isn’t he held in high esteem? Where did he get this insider info. So Gallineau, don’t be telling me I’ve got nothing to offer when nothing has been offered to me! Othewise, opinions appear to be facts, which they ain’t. And how you arrive at this doozy is beyond me: you implicitly consider yourself and your beliefs to be above or beyond everyone else’s here; I think you must be talking about yourself because ‘an Einstein I ain’t.

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