Can someone win the presidency entirely on the basis of a negative asset? I wouldn’t have thought so, but here’s John Kerry, three months shy of election day, promoting himself as a man of presidential caliber entirely on the basis that he’s the Anyone in “Anyone But Bush.” Come next January the Anyone behind the desk in the Oval Office may be a bit taller. There’ll be medals on the bookshelf showing he killed Vietnamese in the service of his country. As for the policy furnishings, most everything else will stay the same. Kerry’s been pretty clear about that, letting his core constituencies know that as President Anyone he’s not going to cut them any favors.
The nation’s hungry, its underemployed, its jobless? In April Kerry announced that his economic strategy will be to wage war on the deficit, which means he’ll do nothing to alleviate problem number one in America today–the lack of jobs and the rotten pay for those lucky enough to have some form of work.
Women? Kerry, the man who voted for Bill Clinton’s savage assault, labeled “welfare reform,” on poor women, said he might well appoint antiabortion judges, adding magnanimously that he wouldn’t want such appointments to lead to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Kerry vows to put more cops on the streets, and there’ll be no intermission in the War on Drugs, which has played a large part in producing the memorable statistic issued by the Justice Department in late July, to the effect that the number of people caught in the toils of the criminal justice system grew by 130,700 last year. The grand total is now nearly 6.9 million either in jail, in prison, on probation or on parole, amounting to 3.2 percent of the adult population of the United States. In many cities a young black man faces a far better chance of getting locked up than of getting a job, since the lockup is the definitive bipartisan response of both Democrats and Republicans to the theories of John Maynard Keynes. Blacks have got less than nothing from Kerry, aside from his wife’s declaration that she too is an African-American; yet the Congressionial Black Caucus cheers the man who voted for welfare reform and devotes its time to flaying Ralph Nader.
The “Anyone But” strategy favored by most pwogs means that Kerry has never had his feet held to the fire by any faction of the Democratic Party. This has been the year of surrendering quietly.
War in Iraq? A majority of the country wants out, certainly most Democrats. Kerry wants in, even more than Bush. When the DNC told Kucinich to stuff his peace plank, Kucinich tugged his forelock and told his followers to shuffle back in under the Big Tent and help elect a man who pledges to fight the war in Iraq better and longer than Bush. Feminist leaders kept their mouths shut when Kerry flew his kite about nominating antichoice judges. Gay leaders didn’t move their lips to utter so much as a squeak when Kerry declared his opposition to same-sex marriage. Did we hear from Norman Lear and People for the American Way as Kerry, the man who voted for the Patriot Act, revived his Tipper Gore-ish posturing about the evils of popular culture? Of course we didn’t, even though Kerry voted for the unconstitutional Communications Decency Act, a piece of legislation that even the prudish Joe Lieberman couldn’t stomach.