If anyone sees John Kerry, tell him now would not be too soon for him to start standing up like a Democrat. Apparently, he's following his consultants' advice of simply hoping Bush will lose the election, rather than trying to win it. (These are the same geniuses who advised Al Gore.) As a result, Kerry is failing to ignite a massive populist fervor that's readily available to him if he'd only offer a flicker of Democratic spark. Example: Why isn't he pounding Bush for the gutting of America's middle class?
Take jobs. Bush and the media are gaily hailing the creation of some 600,000 new jobs in the last two months, claiming this vindicates George's tax cuts for the rich. Kerry has played Bush's game, dourly responding that, well, there are still too many Americans without jobs.
But this misses the crucial point, which nearly every working stiff knows personally: The issue isn't jobs, it's wages. Indeed, lots of them have two or three jobs -- and their paychecks still don't make ends meet. What's steaming folks today is that there are no middle-class jobs for them or their children. Yet Kerry's consultants caution that he can't appear to be some sort of economic radical.
Radical? I'm talking about jobs paying enough to buy a modest house, send the kids to college, provide family health coverage and afford a secure retirement. That's not radical... it's Roosevelt!
Bush is actively trying to return America to a pre-FDR, Robber Baron era, dismantling the legal framework that offers a middle-class possibility for working families. This is the greatest issue of our time -- and a stunning political opportunity. But if Kerry won't stand up proudly and loudly for these families now, they're not going to stand up for him in November.
Arianna Huffington has an online petition you can sign, calling on Kerry to get going and to stand forthrightly as a Democrat. To send Kerry a message, go to fanaticsandfools.org/petition.
Publication date: 06/24/04