More Opinion on Kerry

Since we’ve been discussing him, I may as well throw in my 2 cents (again).

I never liked Kerry.

See my comment to this post. Sowell’s example, which I cite there, is not the only instance of Kerry’s arrogance and dishonest partisan bullying that I am aware of. I remember particularly his hostility toward gun owners during Congressional hearings in the 1990s. His reflexive deference to abusive federal police agencies, during (IIRC) hearings on the Waco and Ruby Ridge fiascoes, strongly impressed me as an indication that when it comes to government vs. the little guy Kerry will usually take the government’s side.

Kerry’s current tactic is to cite his Vietnam service as a way to deflect attention from his weak position on national defense. In much the same way, during those long-ago hearings, Kerry repeatedly invoked his supposed authority as an ex-prosecutor to shout down principled arguments against gun-control laws and for greater accountability for the FBI and BATF. He impressed me then, as he does now, as someone who prefers to browbeat opponents rather than reason with them.

The core of Kerry’s arguments usually seems to come down to an assertion, “I know better than you do,” followed by a non-sequitur, “and this is what I will do.” But, of course, he doesn’t know better. Who could? His attitude might be appropriate for a trial lawyer with a weak case or a parent talking to small children, but not for the chief executive of a democratic republic. It really is an un-American attitude. To paraphrase Adam Smith, any candidate who is so arrogant and foolish as to believe that he knows better than his fellow citizens is unsuited to holding the national office he thinks he deserves.

Yeah, this is only my impression, but it’s a strong impression that I’ve had for years. It comes from watching a lot of hearings on C-SPAN, back in the day, and from reading what Kerry’s saying now. You can learn a lot about pols by watching how they behave in televised hearings. Some elected officials, when they interact with witnesses with whom they disagree, come across as basically decent. Kerry came across as an arrogant jerk who said whatever he had to say to get his party’s talking points across. He wasn’t a bold leader but a cautious party hack. I don’t think he’s changed since then.

11 thoughts on “More Opinion on Kerry”

  1. Jonathan,

    This is my first time posting to this blog (and after the expected flames, probably my last) , but, hopefully it will be accepted in the spirt it is intended… to stimulate conversation…not attacks.

    I was a very happy and content Reagan Republican, until Mr Bush entered the Whitehouse. Now I have a very different opinion of things. First off, in response to your post I’d like to say that a politician is a politician regardless of party affiliation, and as I get older I believe them less and less.

    I guess everyone who posts here is in the over 200K per year tax bracket. So it may come as a surprise for some of you to learn that there are a few of us who can read, type, and think, and who have to work two jobs to make ends meet these days. I for one wonder why 99% of America could possibly support a President who has single handedly, doubled gasoline prices, replaced high paying jobs with low paying service jobs or those outstanding opportunities at 7/11 and Walmart, managed to lose the lives of 1000 American soldiers when attacking a country that did not attack us, and is running the highest deficits in our countries history.

    I’m offended when they tell people like me that when I voice my uneasiness at recent events, I’m out of the mainstream of American thinking. Me? Out of the mainstream?? a Republican?? Perhaps Mr. Bush will pay my mortgage next month? And while we’re at it, keep my daughter (who’s in the Navy) out of Iraq?

    I might also add that I feel that the current administration’s Global oil policy has been reduced to rebuilding Iraq’s oil infrastructure, while taking care of their ‘buds’. It would seem they enjoy rebuilding pipelines, and watch them get blown up, so they can step in and rebuild them again. Nice business, wouldn’t you say? Are any of the White House experts looking anywhere outside of Iraq these days? How is it that they were caught completely flat footed by events in the oil market last week caused by legal manuvering in Russia and why is it that their response seems to be to send Dick Cheney running around the country explaining that it’s the Democrats fault for the high cost of oil. Why sure, all we have to do is hand the Oil guys the ‘keys’ to our National Forests, and everything will be fine… anyone buying this??

    What I find totally depressing is that we have some of the best “Texas Oilmen” advising our esteemed White House management team, and this is the best they can do? 45 bucks a barrel of oil?? On second thought, I imagine they feel that they’ve done a great job by doubling (quadrupling?) their bottom line at the expense of the American people.

    I thought we were government “by the people, and for the people”. When did this change to government by corporation, and for the corporation? Did I miss the memo?

    I used to believe in trickle down economics. That was until I found out that “trickle down” means it trickles out of the country and not into our economy or job markets. I guess Mexico and China are very grateful for the influx of capital. As for me.. I want my old high paying job back. And if there are those who are still quoting those old predictions of how NAFTA was going to increase our standard of living…I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I’d like to sell…cheap.

    I do believe it’s time that we look around us and see what’s actually happening. I will humbly suggest that it will be very difficult for banks to loan money for folks to buy homes when the prospective customer makes 7 bucks and hour. Yet that seems to be the trend in these new jobs our economy is generating. We are totering on the edge of an abiss, and the administration just won’t see it. There is no plan to address any of these things.

    Unless Bush and company wake up, I’m voting for the other guy in November. How can he do worse?

    My thoughts…for what it’s worth.

    a Florida realist

  2. Maybe the lawyers on this blog can clarify, but aren’t corporations considered to be a “person” in the eyes of the law? A thoughtful comment, Florida realist.

  3. Repeating every tired cliche and class warfare stereotype in the book is thoughtful ? I must have missed the latest fashion.

    I guess everyone who posts here is in the over 200K per year tax bracket.Yeah, I’m in the 200K range : you know, 200 kilometers of commuting every day.

    By the way, the definition for realism is here. Nothing in there about repeating party lines and Michael Moore-like conspiracy theories. Unless maybe you meant this kind of realism.

  4. I guess everyone who posts here is in the over 200K per year tax bracket.

    Not even close. I should be so fortunate. I’ve been struggling and eeking out a living my whole life.

    I’m not sure it’s reasonable to hold Bush responsible for the shenannigans of Russian oil companies. Also, The idea that someone is allowing oil pipelines to be blown up so that US contractors (Halliburton, no doubt) can rebuild them does reek a bit of conspiracy theory thinking. Strange things have happened in business (Enron) but I somehow seriously doubt that’s the case here. Isn’t it Bush’s justice department who’s prosecuting the Enron execs and sending them to jail? Was it not the Clintons who released felons for making campaign contributions? Do you honestly believe GWB took this country to war to add a few million to Halliburton’s bottom line? Are you honestly prepared to believe we pissed off our allies, manipulated the intel of dozens of disparate countries, sent our sons and daughters to war and spent $200 billion of tax money in order that a few companies can make a little money? And Powell, Rice, the JCS, the Brits, the Poles, the Australians, the Italians, and everyone else are all in on the conspiracy? If there’s a tomato crop failure in Mexico and California, are you prepared to believe the Kerrys engineered it in order to boost the price of Ketchup?

    We’re hardly a bunch of Bush cheerleaders here. If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know that.

  5. Michael, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, I must let you in on the secret handshake : George W. Bush is both the most incompetent moron and the shrewdest, most evil manipulator. In fact, he’s so dumb he outsmarts everyone. Forrest Gump is his real name.

    Rational irrationality at work.

  6. As for me.. I want my old high paying job back. And if there are those who are still quoting those old predictions of how NAFTA was going to increase our standard of living…I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I’d like to sell…cheap.

    I’m sorry you lost your job and I respect the service of your daughter.

    Unlike most of the writers on this blog, my education in economics is spotty and my mastery is nonexistent. However, two ways of looking at the world that I’ve generally found wrong-headed are
    A)The conspiratorial: I realize, especially if things aren’t going well, that it is nice to think that the solution is to get rid of those few evil manipulators that are thought to represent change and therefore to ignore the inevitability of that change. It is just not a very accurate way to look at life or the messy diversity that is culture/history/people. Today, some attacks on Bush seem in the tradition of the Luddites.
    B) Class warfare: In our shifting economy, the classes are not rigid; economist after economist will tell you that he who makes minmum wage today is likely in ten years to have moved anywhere from the middle to the highest quintile of income; that person is least likely to still be getting minimum wage and in the bottom quintile. In such a society, class warfare encourages a kind of destructive infantilization that avoids responsibility. Besides, it plays on our worst instincts – those our society has long tried to corral not because our society is made of upper classes wanting to keep their income (or at least not only because of that) but because envy/covetnousness is not likely to make for a happy person or a happy society. Righting wrongs is one thing as is working toward a fair society is another. Spilling much spleen about those who have more than we do doesn’t get us or them anywhere.

    Anyway, as someone who worked for a minimum wage with a Ph.D. under my belt, I don’t disdain those jobs at 7/11 or Walmart. I respect work, done by me, done by my children, done by my husband. Of course, I don’t make 200K. That is absurd. That I hope my children make more than minimum wage as they move on in life goes without stating. But those jobs, too, are a part of our society and both the jobs and the people who perform them should not be treated with condescension nor pity.

    Your kind of realism, as Sylvain points out above, is “socialist realism” which produced neither great art nor great economics.

    Finally, low mortgage rates as well as changes in the economy have been important in housing. Still, I have trouble seeing the trends of the last decades as all that terrible. I’m not as good at googling as I should be, but I did find a couple of stats. Being the middle-class, middle-aged drudge that I am, I have always felt that % of home ownership was important. Here are two stats:

    Homeownership rate rose from 67.8% in 2001 to 67.9% in 2002. I figure an increase right after a hit at our financial heart and about the time we are gearing up for war is interesting. Of course, the low mortgage rates led to a much bigger boon in refinancing and remodeling.

    Another sign might be African-American home ownership:

    5.7 million: Number of African-American householders who own their own home, representing 46 percent of all African-American householders. In 1990, the corresponding figures were 4.3 million and 43 percent.

    The 2001-2002 stat is small; the longer term picture of African-American home ownership shows a steady if not spectacular increase. We can complain about the difference beween African-American percentages and that of the country as a whole; we can complain that only 2 out of 3 Americans own their own homes. But in any real time or place perspective, this indicates a society that is moving in the right direction. Given the percentage in transit (young, old, newly degreed, newly married, newly divorced), I can’t imagine a 100% goal is doable or even desirable.

  7. Ginny, in all honesty and with all due respect to our first-time poster, I’m afraid we are both wasting time here; this person, whoever they are, seem more interested in scary bedtime stories than they are with facts. The whining about expensive oil is a sure sign of it; never mind that even now, it’s about half as expensive as it was 24 years ago (most folks still do not understand inflation adjustments), or that gasoline spending, as a proportion of income, is lower for most folks than it was back then.

    Never mind the complain about $7/hour job when the latest BLS data shows in the clearest manner that hose are not the jobs that are being created.

    A lot of this sounds like the standard populist spiel from the like of Edwards or your local union.

    But the real puzzle here is how and why Kerry would be a proper alternative; which seems implicit since Bush is so all-around bad. After all, one only has to look at the list of 100 Businessmen who support him to spot a few obvious problems for the very voters who agree with our self-appointed realist. Forty of them are CEOs who also figure on Lou Dobb’s infamous “Exporting America” list; in other words, the very “Benedict Arnold” CEOs Kerry has been bashing since last winter.

    And maybe, just maybe, someone will notice that both the managing director or Carlyle and the CEO of Fox are on that list and ask Michael Moore how that jibes with his conspiracy theories….

  8. Moore is an entertaining guy, but hardly someone I’d regard as impartial, and he certainly can’t count on me as one of his following. I spent 30 years in the manufacturing sector, and watched it slowly shrink to a mere shadow of what it was. I’ve paid my dues, and have earned the right to speak out when it’s clear to me that I’m not better off today than I was 4 years ago. My reference to the 200K level is because apparently those tax cuts affect this bracket more than any other. When the Democrats controlled Congress and we were running those obscene deficits year after year, I was all for throwing the bums out and returning to fiscal responsibility. As near as I can remember, most of America felt the same way and the Democrats were throttled. Today, our deficits are even larger. Why is it that if I advocate the same treatment of those in power today, that I’m labled a Socialist? Or is it beacause of my reference to NAFTA? Apparently a hot button for some on here. Well, speaking for myself. NAFTA is what it is. Look who it helped, and who it hurt. Are you guys really that out of touch? My time in Manufacturing was spent as a Manufacturers’ Rep in the electronics industry. I watched the American lines I represented move their operations to Mexico, and Taiwan. They said it was to stay competitive and profitable, I believed them. Before you could blink, many of the customers we sold this product to, also moved their manufacturing operations to Mexico… same reason. Presto, no American customers….plenty of Mexican ones. Am I a Socialist?…. no, I’m a realist. At 53 I’ve been around long enough to remember the past promises and lived long enough to see the results.

    Never mind the Stats you can read on American Manufacturing. They play fast and loose as to where products are actually manufactured and toss American distribution into the manufacturing category, which drastically alters the picture. By the way… how many of you guys own and drive American made autos?… Just wondering.

    As for repeating cliche’s… I have to confess not being well read enough to know that I did. I’m just callin it the way I see it. My post was born of frustration, and yes…I do think it’s an incredible coincidence that whenever we have a Bush in the White House, that they head for where the oil is. I humbly remind people what happened the last time a Bush was in the White House. …and that’s not a cliche, that’s our history and my reality. Do I think Bush had a political debt to pay to his benefactors? Yes I do, but no more than any other President, his pay back is just more visible. Anyone remember how Clinton handled China trade negotiations? How much did China put in his pockets? A politician is a politician… period.

    Sylvain, with all due respect to BLS data, here in Florida, there’s absolutely no problem getting a job if you can swing a hammer, change bedpans, wear Mickey Mouse Ears, work on commission only, or mow a lawn. Obviously, all of these occupations will guarantee safety from paying taxes in our highest tax brackets.

    Florida Realist

  9. The problem with this one is that getting the proper education in economics and how the world really works won’t be accomplished in a few paragraphs on a blog.

    I’ll just say this, because it seems to be at the crux of the misconceptions here:

    Manufacturing employment is shrinking all over the world, even in China. Manufacturing is getting more productive and less labor intensive every day. This is a trend that has been going on for decades. It is not going to be changed by governments trying to make wages in the manufacturing sector higher, that will only force manufacturers off-shore even quicker or out of business, and make everything we buy more expensive.

    A good example is the textile industry. The textile industry started in England in the 1700’s. But wages were lower in New England and the textile industry slowly moved to America and out of England (despite the best efforts of English politicians). Then after the Civil War, wages were lower in the South than in the North, so those jobs moved out of New England (despite the best efforts of politicians from the northeast). Now those jobs are moving to China for the same reason (despite the best efforts of politicians from the South).

    Now this looks like a terrible story of loss and depression. But it isn’t, quite the contrary. Becuase textile products are now much cheaper and people without a lot of money don’t have to spend as much of their income on clothes, so they can spend it on more important things. Or save it so they can become wealthy.

    This is no different than agriculture. 100 years ago most people in America worked a back-breaking existence on farms. But as Agriculture became more and more productive it required less and less worklers to tend an acre. The number of people who work in agriculture has plumetted since 1900, despite the best efforts of depression era politicians and useless government protection programs. This is a good thing, because food is so cheap in America that we are all becoming obese (so they say).

    These things all started happening a long time ago all over the world and aren’t going to change no matter what any politician does or ssys.

    But the scare over manufaturing jobs going overseas is mostly maufactured. The fact is that most of those jobs have disappeared entirely due to productivity gains, not because they “moved”.

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