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November 2, 2005 – One Year Later: What a Stronger Country We Could Have Been

by Pamela Leavey

It is hard to believe that some people still think that George W. Bush is doing a good job as president. Why haven’t some people finally seen the light? We’ve heard references to Voter’s Remorse occasionally in the news, yet, some still stubbornly cling to the wrong-minded views perpetuated by the Bush administration and MSM.

The Bush administration is an affront to America. We see almost daily an assault on the very foundation of our country – the U.S. Constitution. On Monday, as Rosa Parks – a heroine of the civil rights movement, lay in the Rotunda, in an unprecedented tribute, George W. Bush nominated Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Alito has a record of standing against civil rights, yet, George W. Bush had no qualms with offering up his nomination, while Rosa Parks lay in state.

Think about how different the past year would have been if John Kerry were President.

Think about that if, in spite of defeating a sitting wartime President in three nationally televised debates, the Kerry campaign had not been edged out by the Swift Boat sliming smear tactics. Think about the fact the MSM was complicit in blocking Patrick Fitzgerald’s CIA leak investigation. Think about the politics of fear that manifested as an October surprise – Osama Bin Laden’s appearance on tape which Fox News Channel’s Neil Cavuto labeled a “Kerry endorsement by Bin Laden.”

Think about how different things could have been. This isn’t just abstract could-have-been thinking. It is real. It is based on the facts. And, it has serious consequences for our families, our children, our troops, our veterans, our environment, and our country.

How do we know? Because a year ago, John Kerry made clear promises and offered specific plans that would have made America a very, very different place. Take a look at what could have been…

Instead of giving tax breaks to individuals making over $300,000, President John Kerry would have used that money to cover all 11 million children in America currently living without health insurance.

We know this because, on the first day legislation could be introduced, John Kerry made his first act as a returning Senator to introduce his KidsFirst legislation, which will do precisely that. And, he has traveled the country several times to galvanize grassroots support to get every child in America health insurance. As President, he said health care reform would’ve been the first bill he sent to Congress.

Rather than limit scientists’ ability to discover potentially life-saving cures through stem cell research, President Kerry would have reversed Bush’s policy limiting the number of stem cell lines available to scientists and provided significant funding for research. Every day that we wait, more than 3,000 Americans die from diseases that may someday be treatable because of stem cell research.

We know this because Kerry said one of his first acts as president would be to reverse Bush’s stem cell policy.

Rather than selling off the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil companies for drilling, President Kerry would have protected it from oil drilling.

We know this because President Kerry would have kept his commitment to veto Arctic drilling.

Rather than walk through a field of wildflowers holding hands with Saudi Prince Abdullah, rather than nearly $3.7 million from the oil and gas industry during both presidential campaigns, rather than sign energy policies into law that the administration’s own Energy Information Administration says will not lower gas prices — President Kerry would have taken record-high gas prices seriously.

We know this because John Kerry last year unveiled a comprehensive plan to lower gas prices, improve efficiency and move towards energy independence while creating jobs. Under the plan, Kerry would manage the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to protect our security without driving up prices by temporarily suspending filling the SPR until oil prices return to normal levels. He would also engage in diplomacy to ensure that US consumers are not held hostage to price fixing by OPEC. He would set goals to increase fuel efficiency and make new investments to assure American industry leads the way. His plan also called for an increased use of renewable fuels to reduce our dependence on oil.

Rather than muddle through with the prospect of a war without end in Iraq, John Kerry would have brought 20,000 American troops home over the holidays after the Iraqi elections. WE know this because John Kerry argued throughout his campaign that a long term American occupation would only exacerbate the insurgency.

Instead of facing a $1 billion shortfall in one year of the Department of Veterans Affairs budget, President John Kerry would have made veterans health care funding mandatory — eliminating the constant fights in Congress for more money, and reversing changes Bush made to the system that have increased co-pays and cut millions of veterans from the rolls.

We know this because John Kerry cancelled campaign events in New Mexico, turning his plane around and flying overnight to come back and vote in favor of a Senate measure to make veterans health care funding mandatory. As soon as John Kerry showed up to vote for the bill, Majority Leader Bill Frist cancelled the vote.

Rather than leaving our troops and military families in the lurch, President Kerry would have pushed Congress to pass and signed into law his Military Family Bill of Rights. Survivors would get more when their loved ones die in service to America, widows would not be kicked out of military housing after 6 months, and every member of the Guard and Reserve would be eligible for military health care.

We know this because John Kerry pledged to push for his Military Family Bill of Rights and sign it into law during the campaign, he has introduced it as a stand-alone bill, and he has repeated worked to attach provisions from it at every opportunity n the Senate. In February, Kerry said, “Starting with the coming debate on the supplemental, I will fight to pass as much of my Military Family Bill of Rights as possible. There is no time to wait. Congress must act now.”

Rather than the embarrassment of a Miers nomination extreme Supreme Court nominees that Bush has put forward to appease the far right wing of his party, President Kerry would have respected the law of the land and not tried to skew the balance of the Supreme Court.

We know this because John Kerry said, “As President, I will only appoint Supreme Court justices who will uphold a woman’s right to choose.”

Rather than aggressively seek to undermine women’s right to chose, both in the U.S. and abroad, President Kerry would have repealed the very first act Bush took as president. John Kerry would repeal with Mexico City Policy that currently prevents family planning clinics overseas that receive any U.S. funding from mentioning abortion as one of my options.

We know this because Kerry said one of his first acts as president would be to repeal the Mexico City Policy/global gag rule on abortion.

Rather than leave people in New Orleans stranded and praying on rooftops as FEMA twiddled their thumbs, John Kerry would have sent in C-130s to evacuate people before disaster struck.

We know this because John Kerry had a serious, five-point plan to improve homeland preparedness. One of the key parts of the plan was for disasters like hurricanes. Kerry also campaigned in Louisiana, stood on the banks of the Mississippi River with Louisiana elected officials, and pledged support for federal appropriations to strengthen New Orleans’ levees.

Rather than allow our Gulf Coast coastlines to lose a football field every half-hour to erosion, President Kerry would have made the protection of our coastlines a national priority.

We know this because John Kerry said on Earth Day of last year, “A secure coastline means security for the families who live here, the business owners who make a living here and the sportsmen who hunt and fish here. I believe that a good economy, strong communities and a healthy environment go hand-in-hand. Bush administration has cut funding for coastal programs, and in Louisiana, refused to release the results of a study that was to outline a comprehensive plan to address the rapidly depleting coastline. . . “When it comes to protecting our coasts, we don’t have a moment to lose,” Kerry said. “Today in Louisiana, a piece of land the size of a football field sinks into the Gulf of Mexico an average of every half hour. And, coastal erosion isn’t just swallowing your beaches; it’s drowning your economy. Fishermen risk seeing their nets come up empty, sportsmen are watching entire habitats disappear, and people living on the coast fear that their homes or their businesses may literally slip into the ocean.”

Instead of spending $1 billion of American taxpayers’ money EVERY WEEK in Iraq with off-the-books accounting gimmicks, President Kerry would have cut the deficit in half and paid for war spending out of the budget, rather than by deficits that will saddle future generation with mountains of debt.

We know this because John Kerry has always made fiscal responsibility a priority throughout his 20 years in the Senate. When President Bush unveiled his budget in February, Kerry said, “Every American family has to live within their means. Their government should, too. . . Americans are spending $5 billion a month in Iraq, yet there is not a penny to fund the war after December 31. The numbers simply don’t add up and the American people deserve better.” Kerry pledged he would cut deficit by half, at least, in first term, in part through repeal of Bush tax cuts for wealthier Americans.

Rather than giving American companies tax breaks to outsource Americans’ job overseas, President Kerry would have eliminated them.

We know this because he said so repeatedly last year. He said he would eliminate special tax breaks for U.S. companies with overseas subsidiaries. Under current U.S. tax law, U.S. companies with overseas operations can defer paying taxes on income at those operations until they bring the profits back into the U.S.

Rather than increasing unemployment, Kerry would have created 10 million jobs in four years.

We know this because Kerry had a solid, realistic plan to do it. As an incentive, he would offer an employer tax credit for new jobs created in manufacturing and other businesses and tax credits to help small and midsized businesses pay for employee health care, which has been blamed for slow job growth.

Rather than sitting by many Americans are priced out of college, President Kerry would have made sure that every American who had the skills and desire to go to college could have.

We know this because Kerry had a $3.2 billion community service plan for high school students that would qualify them for the equivalent of their states’ four-year public college tuition if they perform two years of national service, and provided a tax credit for every year of college on the first $4,000 paid in tuition.

Rather than allowing corrupt lobbyists like Jack Abramoff to destroy Americans’ faith in government, President Kerry, in his first 100 days in office, would have ended revolving door lobbying.

We know this because John Kerry pledged in the fall of 2003 that as President in his first 100 Days he would issue an executive order to instate a 4-year lobbying ban for Administration officials.

Rather than allow genocide to continue in Darfur, John Kerry would have intervened.

We know this because Kerry said last year, “I believe that the United States and the international community must act immediately to apply effective pressure on the Government of Sudan to rein in its militia proxies and to immediately provide unrestricted access for humanitarian aid and aid workers. We must also act swiftly to initiate negotiations aimed at securing a political settlement to the conflict. And because there is no guarantee that the Sudanese government will relent, we must also start planning now for the possibility that the international community, acting through the United Nations, will be forced to intervene urgently to save the lives of the innocent.”

Rather than caving to political pressure and allowing the assault weapons ban to expire, President Kerry would have kept the ban in place. We know this because Kerry’s pledges and consistent votes to keep assault weapons off our streets.

23 Responses to “November 2, 2005 – One Year Later: What a Stronger Country We Could Have Been”

  1. But don’t you know the democrats don’t have an agenda? And Kerry’s position was not clear on anything. Rush told me so. Thank God for Rush because it might have taken me 15 minutes to go on Kerry’s campaign website and actually read his clearly defined agenda and positions.

    Ok, sarcasm aside, let’s pretend that Kerry really didn’t have a plan (which anyone intelligent enough to be skeptical of anything Neil Cavuto says would have taken the time to read up on Kerry and figure differently). How would that be worse than Bush? Seriously taking the position of “I will not do the stupid shit that Bush has done” should have lead to an automatic 90% landslide.

  2. Some great points here, but it’s sort of like saying how great it would have been to win the lottery…didn’t happen and you can’t spend what you don’t have.

    I think Kerry (while likely a great guy and all), didn’t do enough of a job standing for anything other than not being Bush. And all the swing voters we needed weren’t sufficiently disenchanted to walk away from Shrub by Kerry’s position.

    Let’s hope that 2006 and 2008 will see Dems with real messages that clearly and compellingly explain to Joe and Jane Swingvoter that the Dems are the party of values, choice, the middle class, etc., that we didn’t lead the country into the biggest mistake ever in Iraq, etc.

    So in that sense, as I’ve read somewhere else, Kerry and crew did us a disservice; we counted on him to cross the goal line and he dropped the ball big time (he had help, but think of Clinton in the same situation, and it’s a different story).

    For what it’s worth…

  3. Mike

    Actually Kerry won a greater percent of the under $50,000 vote than Clinton or Gore ever did. The problem was that at the time of the election 51% of Americans approved of the decision to go to war in Iraq, while 55% thought Iraq was part of the war on terrorism. So 55% of Americans agreed with Bush’s main rationale for war at the time of the election (“We’re fighting in Iraq so we don’t fight them here”).
    Still, Bush did not win 55% of the vote, just 50.7% to Kerry’s 48.3%. So 4.3% of voters agreed with Bush on what was arguably the biggest issue of the day, but voted for Kerry anyway. If anything Kerry overachieved (or Bush underachieved, or a combination of the two).
    Kerry also beat Bush 49%-48% among registered independents (a higher percentage of their vote than Gore or Clinton got), and won the total popular vote in the battleground states–he just didn’t proportion them out correctly. Better to have lost Florida or Nevada by larger margins and transferred those votes to say, Ohio? If that were possible of course.
    The reason Kerry lost the popular vote is simple: While turnout was only up 1.3% in the blue states, it was up over 10% in the red states. So while Kerry won the blue state popular vote and Bush won the red state popular vote by large margins (which was to be expected) there were more Bush red-state voters voting than their were Kerry blue-state voters voting.
    Kerry would’ve had to run up huge margins in the battleground states in order to win the popular vote without help from increased blue state turnout.

    Finally, unlike in 1932, 1976, 1980, or 1992, going into this election 50% or more approved of the job Bush was doing. At no time in his first term (even before 9/11) did more Americans disapprove of Bush than approve of him.
    Regardless of how you or I feel about the presidents running for re-election in the above years, one thing is certain: At the time of those elections a solid majority of voters had decided they didn’t want the incumbent anymore and were just waiting to make sure the challenger was not a radical or a meathead. In 2004, we were not facing a case where a majority had soured on the incumbent president.
    Furthermore, according to a Democracy Corps poll taken just before the election, between 53% and 55% of Americans thought the phrases “will keep America safe” and “is a strong leader” applied to Kerry. Pretty good for a guy who had never actually been commander-in-chief for a day in his life.
    No the Kerry folks did not run a mistake free campaign, but neither did Bush: I don’t think losing three debates and statements like “gynecologists should be free to practice their love on women” were part of the Rove plan.
    Just remember this: In 1980 Reagan was in the position of trying to sell a new car to a couple who hated thier old car and just wanted to make sure they weren’t buying a lemon.
    In 2004, Kerry had to sell a new car to a couple who weren’t ready to give up their old one.

  4. Mike

    For what it’s worth – it’s folks like you who dropped the ball – not Kerry.

    That said, you’ve picked the wrong place to spew that garbage.

  5. WE did KERRY and most of all our COUNTRY a disservice by not working hard enough for the truth we knew and the values we share!

  6. Get on down the road Mike. You really don’t care for the REAL TRUTH!!

  7. As if poll numbers and public perception had nothing to do with the effectiveness of one’s campaign. You can do the math anyway you want, you can make the [valid] argument that the media was biased in favor of the GOP noise machine, but when it gets down to it, the Kerry campaign was a limping debacle. And that’s not just 20/20 hindsight. Throughout the campaign, people were mystified by Shrum’s ‘sit back and watch the disintegration’ approach backfire as an overly compliant Kerry basicaly laid down and let the negative momentum overwhelm his campaign. I was there, I remember this, and it’s foolish to defend it with this fatalistic stance about poll numbers, as if those numbers were determined in a vacuum wholly independent of the quality of the two candidates’ campaigns.

    Harry Reid for President!

  8. I think John Kerry would have went down in history as one the greatest Presidents of all time. He would have restored every thing America stands for, that is why I am backing him 2008 should he run again.

  9. Klaus, did it occur to you that the negative feelings and perception were also part of the GOP message? I agree that Shrum is not at all my favorite, and the campaign was cautious and not utilizing where Kerry and Edwards were most comfortable.

    That said, voters embraced the quality of our men, despite the unequal access to any mainstream media, especially fair. A huge difference when people are only exposed to Fox or hate mail.

    Hindsight is great when you’re not in the middle of the cauldron, a national campaign of the misinformed, in thrall of the neo-cons and fear, and you’re relying on experts to bring home an uphill win. Yes, uphill in our enemy, the incumbent, no matter how worthy our side.

    I second that Kerry is the best prepared, emotionally and intellectually, in my lifetime to be president. I wish more knew what he is doing for us now.

  10. John,

    I completely agree.

  11. John, Marjorie, and Teresa–You now I’m onboard the Kerry Train. WooHoo!!

  12. Wow. Again, for what it’s worth, I’ve voted for every Democratic candidate in every election I’ve voted in and am a registered Democrat.

    My point is not an attack on Kerry; I agree that the country would have been significantly different had he won.

    But he didn’t. So my sense is that it’s best to try and move on and figure out how to win in ’06 and ’08. Is he the candidate to do it? Don’t know. Personally, I like the sound of Gore/Obama, but that may be wishful thinking.

    I regret that my comments seemed like “garbage” but would also offer that I’m trying to as much as I can on a personal basis to change get Dems elected.

  13. Kerry still bears some responsibility for throwing in the towel before the votes were counted, and there were still allegations of fraud. There was even a recount going on and Kerry did nothing with his excess 50 million.

    But the country at least would be rid of the Bush cabal.

  14. Ben-
    Here’s some facts….
    From what we do know about what happened in OH, none of it adds up to a major change in the results. The real crime about what happened in OH was that 60,000-100,000 folks voted against their own interests and bought into the spin spewed by the supposed “religious” right. On average, more blacks in OH voted for Shrub than blacks in other states.

    Also, the K-E campaign still has a case pending in Ohio.

    Also, JK concluded his campaign with a war chest of about $7 -15 million, NOT $50 million. And he had already given more to state campaigns than any other Dem prez candidate. They were so flushed with money in fact they didn’t ask the campaign for additional funds – because they didn’t need them. Lack of money was NOT an issue for the state campaigns.

  15. Mike

    Many of us here are long-time Kerry supporters. If he runs again, most likely we will all support him.

    Currently however, he’s a seated Senator and he’s doing a lot of good work in the Senate for the American people.

    If you read through the Kerry categories here, you’ll find also that he spends a lot of time campaigning for candidates in current 05 races and is raising money with his Keeping America’s Promise PAC for candidates in the 06 races.

    He’s not focused on anything but the present and the need to take back the Senate and the House in 06. He dedicated to helping make that happened and won’t even discuss whether or not he will run again.

  16. Ben,

    Candidates always concede before all the votes are counted if they cannot win as it takes weeks for every last vote to be counted.

    Kerry did take the unprecidented step of delaying his concession to the following day to be certain that there were not enough provisional or absentee ballots to change the results. He was found to be correct on this.

    Even after conceding, Kerry continued to investigate, looking for possible fraud. His concession wouldn’t have mattered if fraud was uncovered and he wound up with more votes than Bush in Ohio.

  17. Ben F- Had some purists not been so nitpickily misinformed and in love with their own righteousness, blue states may have voted in bigger numbers, giving us bragging rights. There were no more votes to be counted.

    Should a careful prosecutor, still without proof and a pattern of fraud, stand there with sword flying-just to make people feel better? We still don’t have discovery on machines. Important to know that in those couple months, K/E camapign, John and Teresa did everything to find whistleblowers-the only way to find BBV fraud.

    I am sorry that so many Dems misunderstood the challenge because of Bush hatred. Often when the opposition incumbents are so strong in organization and media, just making gains and looking credible can be a very big deal. We are still strong as pro-security, leadership on issues, maybe you’d like to discover where that OBL tape came from and timing decision. Internals went down that weekend, with their messages that OBL wanted Kerry to win.

  18. Klaus

    That “debacle” got more votes than any other democratic candidate in history and very well possibly won the election – so thanks for sharing.

    Oh, and we were there too. Myself – I was a writer for the Kerry campaign blog, what were you doing during the campaign?

  19. I smell some freepers. 🙂

  20. …or is someone just eating a shit sandwich.

  21. You Know, It think we need to look reality in the face. The 2004 Presidential election was not lost by John F. Kerry or his campaign staff. We as Democrats, Independents and reasonable Republicans dropped the ball. The ultra conservative Right-Wing beat us, by spreading hate and intolerance. President Bush gave them what they wanted and they intern stoked the hatred and fear within the hearts of the people. So, I join with everyone else in saying that WE lost because for whatever reason not enough people took this election and the issues decided by it seriously.

  22. Shaun

    Thanks for saying this. We all need to fight harder to beat the republican machine. We need a solid unified front.

  23. Un consejo uno de los ultimos post de Lourdes Muñoz, la parlamentaria española que quedo atrapada en New Orlenas (tb hay su vivencia entera)
    12 Consejos en una catastrofe por James Nolan . Son las conclusiones de este escritor de New Orlenans después de pasar el Katrina, y especialmente de estar en una situación límite sin atención de las autoridades. A todos nos puede servir, ya que no sabemos que nos puede pasar, y sobre todo donde nos puede “pillar” una catastrofe.