Looking Back: Kerry Was Right and Other Stories

I’m on the road today, but hopefully will make it on line later on. Even if I’m not by the computer, Liberal Values will continue to post material. Recently I went through my download of Light Up The Darkness to find posts which are still relevant, but no longer available on line. I’ve set some posts to appear over the holiday weekend. To start out today I have a variety of posts about John Kerry from around June 2005. This includes some “Kerry was right” posts. As usual I’m putting old posts below the fold so that readers looking for new material only aren’t subjected to them. Tomorrow Sci Fi Friday includes Al Gore.

Kerry’s Warnings Right on Cost of War

27 June 2005

It seems that every few weeks we have another post on how Kerry was right and Bush was wrong. This includes the Iraqi weapons (and here), Bush’s failure to capture Bin Laden, as well as the warnings that Bush would attempt to privitize Social Security after the election.An editorial today in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette now argues that Kerry was right about the costs of the war:

During last year’s campaign, President Bush’s operatives ridiculed John Kerry for forecasting that the cost of the war in Iraq would exceed $200 billion. Now it appears that the Massachusetts senator’s estimate was, if anything, on the low side.

The $82 billion war spending bill signed by Mr. Bush pushes the cost of military operations in Iraq well past the Kerry prediction, with no end in sight.

Kerry’s Warnings Proven To Be Right–Again
3 June 2005

Remember before the election when John Kerry warned us about the missing weapons in Iraq? Once again, further evidence shows John Kerry was right, and that George Bush’s reckless foreign policy has further endangered us. From an AP report:

“U.N. satellite imagery experts have determined that material that could be used to make biological or chemical weapons and banned long-range missiles has been removed from 109 sites in Iraq, U.N. weapons inspectors said in a report obtained Thursday.”

Salon’s War Room Reports on Kerry’s Request for DSM Investigation

24 June 2005

The Salon War Room has two posts so far on Kerry’s letter. First they report on the letter (followed by a copy of the text):

A few weeks ago, John Kerry vowed to make an issue of the Downing Street memo in the U.S. Senate. And then nothing happened — or so it seemed.

In fact, Kerry has been working behind the scenes to get some of his Democratic colleagues to join him in calling for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to look into Downing Street, and now it’s finally happening. Kerry — joined by Sens. Jon Corzine, Tim Johnson, Ted Kennnedy, Frank Lautenberg, Barbara Boxer, Tom Harkin, Jack Reed, Jeff Bingaman and, yes, Dick Durbin — has just written a letter to the committee’s chairman and vice chairman, arguing that the revelations contained in the Downing Street memo “raise troubling questions about the use of intelligence” in the run up to the Iraq war and provide “renewed urgency” for the committee to complete an investigation that Republicans have said is no longer necessary.

Afterwards they ask, Where Are The Other Democrats? For those who have been itching for someone — the national media, the White House, Congress, anybody — to take the Downing Street memo seriously, the news today is mostly good: Even if the Republicans will never let it happen, John Kerry and nine other Senate Democrats have actually asked for an investigation that will include the revelations set forth in the Downing Street memo:

And yet — where are the rest of the Senate Democrats? There are 44 Democrats in the Senate, and Kerry circulated a draft of his letter to the whole lot of them two weeks ago. In the end, he was able to persuade just nine of his colleagues to sign on: Jon Corzine, Tim Johnson, Frank Lautenberg, Ted Kennedy, Barbara Boxer, Tom Harkin, Jack Reed, Jeff Bingaman and Dick Durbin.

Where are you, Harry Reid? Any reason you didn’t sign, Sen. Clinton? And while we wouldn’t expect to see a signature from someone like Joe Lieberman on this letter, why don’t we see your name there, Sen. Obama?

It would be one thing, we suppose, if Kerry’s letter were outrageous somehow — say, if it impugned the patriotism of millions of Americans or suggested their real “motives” were to put U.S. troops in mortal danger. But Kerry’s letter isn’t like that. It simply quotes passages from the Downing Street memo and highlights the “troubling questions” that they raise.

Campaigning Against the Washington Republicans
24 June 2005

Great minds do come up with the same ideas. Oliver Willis asks if John Kerry is reading OW.com as he notices that this ad uses the term Washington Republicans twice. Willis had a post on his site which I linked to on May 3 with this advice:

You’re running against the Washington Republicans. Whether you’re a challenger or an incumbent, you’re running against the Washington Republicans and their total inability to work for America. The Washington Republicans are everything we hate about politicians – partisan, greedy, and elitist.

It turns out that John Kerry had used this term on May 2, if not earlier:

“It’s another example of how Washington Republicans are completely disconnected with the values that are important to the American people. Together we must hold them accountable and let them know that cutting kids’ health care is just plain wrong.”

Kerry used the term again earlier this month:

“The Washington Republicans ignore facts, push aside America’s real problems, promote partisan sniping and division, and flat out refuse to turn their attention to finding ways we can work together to make America stronger.”

He used Washington Republicans in talking about the DSM last week:

“It’s not too much for Americans to expect a thorough explanation of the Downing Street memo,” he said. “The administration and the Washington Republicans who control Congress scoff at the idea of congressional oversight, and insult Americans by brushing off even the most basic questions about pre-war intelligence and planning for the aftermath of war.”

Other times he gave the same message even if he wasn’t quoted as using the exact term. This comes from a Boston Globe account of Kerry campaigning:

Washington seems more and more out of touch with the difficulties the average family is facing,” Kerry told the crowd of about 150 last week in Baton Rouge. ‘’Go out of here, take some anger and a little bit of outrage at the fact that Washington is not dealing with the real concerns of our country.”

(Later in the story) His new political action committee bought a large ad in tomorrow’s USA Today that accuses Bush and GOP leaders of ignoring soaring gas prices, children without health insurance, and the lack of quality jobs with good wages.

‘’They think it’s all about them,” the ad states above pictures of Bush, House majority leader Tom DeLay and Senate majority leader Bill Frist. ‘’Don’t let them forget about what really matters to you. . . . Make Washington stand up for the needs and values of America’s families.”

I don’t know if the quote I found above is the first time that Kerry spoke of the Washington Republicans, but we’ve quoted Harry Reid using the term back in April:

“Our children know that you can’t change the rules just to get your way. I think it’s time that Washington Republicans remembered those truths.”

Reid also used it more recently:

“But if the Washington Republicans stopped to listen to the American people, this is what they’d hear:

Americans are sick and tired of getting caught in the crossfire of partisan sniping.

Americans want us to put the common sense center ahead of nonsense.

Americans want us to bring people together, to focus on what we owe to one another, and the responsibilities we share.

And Americans want their agenda – their jobs, their health care, their security – to get back on the front burners of the nation’s agenda.

Americans are coming to realize this Republican Congress is out of touch with the real problems of working families and that the agenda the Republicans are advancing is at odds with what people in this country really care about.”

Kerry Proven Right, Yet Again, This Time on Ohio
22 June 2005

I’ve had several posts on how Kerry has been proven to be right over time on numerous election issues, such as Bush’s “out-sourcing” of the hunt for Bin Laden and allowing Iraqi weapons to be stolen. Today more evidence came in that Kerry was also right despite attacks from both the left and the right on his handling of the Ohio vote.After the 2004 election, Kerry was attacked by conservatives for stating that voter suppression influenced the election results. He has also been attacked by some liberals for not fighting more to expose what they believed was outright fraud.A report entitled Democracy at Risk: The 2004 Election in Ohio was released today supporting Kerry’s position against both types of attacks. The New York Times summarizes the report by stating, “A five-month study for the Democratic National Committee found that more than one in four Ohio voters experienced problems at the polls last fall, , but the study did not find evidence of widespread election fraud that might have contributed to President Bush’s narrow victory there.”The report verifies Kerry’s claims that voter suppression was a factor, and gives suggestions for future elections to reduce these problems.

The lack of evidence of fraud in a this five-month study conducted by the DNC also shows that the attacks on Kerry in parts of the liberal blogosphere for not contesting the Ohio results were unwarranted.

Controlling Health Care Costs
20 June 2005

Ron Brownstein discussed health care in the LA Times today. He notes that Republican proposals are unlikely to do much to affect health care costs:

There’s no silver bullet for controlling medical costs. The inability of even a massive consumer like GM, with its vast bargaining power, to hold down its bills belies the simplistic suggestions from Bush and conservative thinkers that transferring more of the cost to individuals will significantly reduce costs by making patients smarter consumers.

He has a more favorable view of John Kerry’s health care proposals:

The best domestic policy idea that Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) produced in his 2004 presidential campaign directly addressed that problem. Kerry proposed that Washington assume 75% of the cost for any patient whose annual health expense reaches $50,000. One leading analyst estimated that change alone could reduce health insurance premiums by 10%.
Kerry plans to embody his proposal in legislation this year. Frist hasn’t progressed as far toward a specific plan, but he has proposed a public-private partnership that could absorb more risk for the most expensive cases from individual insurers.
What else? Allowing Medicare to bargain directly for prescription drugs would establish benchmarks that could lower the massive pharmaceutical costs now inflating healthcare spending. (GM alone spends about $1.5 billion annually on prescriptions.) More creative efforts to encourage fitness would reduce the incidence of expensive illnesses, such as diabetes, linked to a widening (sorry) obesity problem.
Finally, covering more of the nearly 45 million uninsured Americans would shrink the huge bill for uncompensated care (recently estimated at $43 billion annually) that the insured pay through higher premiums.
Each of these steps would require more federal spending or intervention in the market. Big employers like GM contributed to their problems by allowing their ideological resistance to such activism to mute their support for innovative ideas like Kerry’s. But Wagoner now talks urgently about the need for national action, and Washington should respond.

While Brownstein specifically gives Kerry credit for government reinsurance of catastrophic claims, other ideas Brownstein endorses were also part of Kerry’s health care proposals, including allowing the government to negotiate drug prices under Medicare and covering more of the uninsured.

Democrats Who Blame Kerry are Missing the Point
14 June 2005

The Republicans often win Presidential elections by demonizing the Democratic candidate, and Democrats have been falling for this. We’ve seen the post-election criticism that Dukakis was a bad candidate, Gore was a bad candidate, and now that Kerry was a bad candidate. Only Bill Clinton escapes this, but there are not many Bill Clintons out there.

E.J. Dionne
warns about the dangers of blaming Kerry for the loss:

This habit is dangerous because dissing Kerry is an easy way for Democrats to evade discussion of what the party needs to do to right itself.
By focusing on the past, the Kerry alibi allows Democrats to avoid engaging the future. In 2008, the Democrats could nominate a candidate who combines Harry Truman’s toughness, JFK’s charm and FDR’s gifts of leadership — and still face many of the problems Kerry confronted. Blaming everything on Kerry as the supposedly elitist, stiff and indecisive Massachusetts liberal is the Democrats’ version of cheap grace.

Dionne notes that the Republicans would have attacked any other Democratic nominee as they attacked Kerry, likely with the same results:

That raises the larger question. The Republicans and their allies spent millions taking Kerry apart. They would have done the same to John Edwards, Wesley Clark or Dean. Would they have handled the attacks better? Who knows? Would they have looked a lot worse for the wear? You bet.
Bush’s lieutenants always understood that their candidate couldn’t win unless his Democratic opponent was turned into Frankenstein. This crowd may not know how to beat the Iraqi insurgency, but they sure know how to make Democrats look bad.

If Democrats are going to win in the future, they need to stop using Kerry (or Gore, or Dukakis) as an excuse and turn to the real problem of finding better ways to fight the Republican Noise Machine. If this is not done, the next Democratic nominee will suffer the same fate as other recent candidates.

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