Skip to comments.Analysis: Kerry Term Would Face Hurdles
Posted on 10/23/2004 9:12:41 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
WASHINGTON - If Sen. John Kerry (news - web sites) is elected, his presidency is likely to bring a sharp shift in White House direction along with pragmatic backpedaling on some of his boldest campaign promises.
From his ambitious health-care proposal to his pledges to add 40,000 troops to the military and 10 million jobs to the economy, Kerry has a multitude of multi-pointed plans, and he talks optimistically about making them reality.
Corporate tax loopholes? Gone "in a nanosecond," says Kerry. The Bush administration's new overtime regulations? Reversed on Day One, says running mate John Edwards (news - web sites).
And yet Kerry, a four-term senator, has been around Washington long enough to know how hard it is to get things done in an era of divided government, high budget deficits and war. Already, he has scaled back his child-care assistance and national service plans due to tight dollars and his pledge to follow a "pay-as-you-go" style of governing.
Kerry talks openly about the limitations he would face as president.
Asked recently what he would do to stop genocide in the Sudan, Kerry told a TV interviewer he'd do "everything possible," but he added that "our flexibility is less than it was" because of the demands from U.S. commitments in Iraq (news - web sites) and Afghanistan (news - web sites).
Reflecting on the past few years, with Republicans running both houses of Congress, Kerry said: "People don't understand what it's been like to have a House of Representatives run by Tom DeLay, and Republicans in the Senate run by a group of ideologues, and it's been hard to deliver things to people anything to anybody."
Even if Democrats make inroads on Election Day, the next Congress is sure to remain sharply divided and highly partisan.
Kerry's maneuvering room would be further limited by the war on terror and the situation in Iraq, which are sure to dominate the attention of the next president. Osama bin Laden (news - web sites) and other al-Qaida leaders are at large, and Kerry's plan to "win the peace" in Iraq contains many question marks.
"His governing will be dictated by events that are imposed upon him, regardless of how he wants to govern, and the critical one will be Iraq," said Marc Landy, a political science professor at Boston College.
Landy's shorthand description of Kerry's approach to Iraq: "Bush without the swagger," following through on U.S. commitments while trying to get more support from other nations. But Landy said Kerry will be under intense pressure because many of his supporters simply want America to get out.
"Even John Kerry doesn't know what do about that, because it's such a nasty choice," Landy said.
Kerry's goal of beginning a drawdown of U.S. troops within six months and completing it in four years is dependent on the willingness of allies to shoulder more of the burden anything but a sure thing. But he can sweeten his pitch for more international assistance by dangling a share of the reconstruction dollars that Bush has largely reserved for American companies.
Stylistically, the shift from Bush to Kerry would be dramatic. Where Bush is prone to short, simple declaratives and a Texan's folksy mannerisms, Kerry is a reserved New Englander known more for meandering deliberation and a self-described tendency toward "Senate-speak."
Still, former campaign manager Jim Jordan says the senator is sure of himself when making decisions on policy. "Although he is indisputably one who possesses progressive instincts, he's very rational and very, very practical. I think he would govern much like Clinton did," Jordan says.
Long a Senate backbencher without a leadership role, Kerry has little experience as a chief executive to evaluate in predicting his governing style. He appears to favor a fairly flat organizational structure, giving many aides access to him, rather than the more hierarchal organization associated with Bush.
"His leadership is based on extensive consultation," says Darrell West, a political scientist at Brown University. "He's not going to be an impulsive president."
Kerry's intimate knowledge of Congress and its key players could be helpful, West said, but there is also the risk that "familiarity breeds contempt."
"We know he's not a warm and cuddly guy," West said. "He may not have the personal relationships that are helpful."
Former Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey, who served with Kerry, says that on both domestic and international issues, the presidential contender has shown "he's not naive when it comes to getting people to work together" on difficult problems.
Kerry's work in the Senate to normalize U.S. relations with Vietnam and resolve questions about American POWs there displayed "an open-mindedness that is going to be needed on problems from Iraq to Social Security (news - web sites), where people tend to draw an ideological line in the sand," Kerrey said.
In areas where Kerry could act unilaterally, meanwhile, he could be expected to issue a staccato series of policy reversals, returning a wide range of regulations on the environment, abortion and other issues to their Clinton-era status. Kerry also would move quickly to lift Bush's executive order restricting medical research involving embryonic stem cells.
More broadly, Kerry's administration could be expected to bring a new approach across the horizon: tougher on polluters, less heavy-handed in using anti-terrorism statutes, more amenable to addressing global warming, hostile to even partial privatization of Social Security, opposed to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to name a few.
The path is less clear on some of Kerry's signature campaign proposals.
Kerry says his first order of business as president would be to "send Congress a health care plan that stops spiraling costs, covers every child in America, and makes it possible for every American to get the same health care as any member of Congress."
But the sheer scope of the proposal and the price tag anywhere from $653 billion to $1.25 trillion over 10 years, by outside estimates guarantees plenty of resistance. He's made other big-ticket proposals as well: a $2,500-a-year tax credit for college tuition, for one.
Kerry says he can finance his proposals by rolling back Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, closing various loopholes and getting allies to help share the burden in Iraq. But there is huge skepticism that he could deliver all he has promised and still meet his promises to cut the deficit at least in half within four years and not to raise taxes on people earning less than $200,000.
"On the big stuff, on Iraq, on the tax rollback, I don't see Congress being cooperative," said Barry Burden, a professor of government at Harvard University. Still there are other areas where Congress might be more amenable.
For example, Kerry's calls to increase financial support for schools under the No Child Left Behind law and to strengthen homeland security by doing more to protect ports and inspect airline cargo would be hard for Congress to resist politically, Burden said.
John Kerry, Doofus-in-Chief.
Kerry asks, "Where's the Beef?
Sen. John Kerry (news - web sites), D-Mass., center, shakes hands with Sen. Charles Schumer (news, bio, voting record), D-N.Y., after a Senate vote March 2. 2004, to extend the ban on military-style firearms another 10 years.
'Kerry's intimate knowledge of Congress and its key players could be helpful,' says Darrell West, a political scientist at Brown University, but there is also the risk that 'familiarity breeds contempt.'' (AP Photo/Dennis Cook/File)
Some lady showing Teresa she can work as an intern.
Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry (news - web sites) holds five month old Zoey Busboom as he arrives at a rally in Reno, Nevada October 22, 2004. The sign on the baby's neck reads 'Don't make me pay for the Bush deficit, Vote Kerry Edwards'. REUTERS/Brian Snyder US ELECTION
That "supporter" looks like she OWNS Treesa. The highness couldn't break out of that clutch with a crowbar.
Can you imagine the nightmare scenario:
John Kerry elected president . . . two weeks later we capture Bin Laden.
Kerry gets all the credit.
No, it would be more like 2 weeks later, Kerry spills the beans that Osama has been dead now for a long time... making him a Martyr, inviting more inspired attacks for revenge, spoiling the intelligence benefits of our enemy not knowing, etc.
Ms Kerry, like psuedo husband, does not like to be touched or hugged by common folk. In fact, they do not even like to touch each other. LOL
We need a Haavaad Professor to tell us this? What kind of a name is "Barry" for a Haavaad Professor, anyway? Do real professors actually use big words like "stuff"?
The next pronouncement by the learned gentlemen will be that tuition rates will be going up. "Stuff" happens, you know.
Kerry would have no mandate, no majority in either house, and no personal charisma. If he couldn't get anything of his through the Senate as a Senator, how's he going to do it as President?
Gerry Ford had more juice as POTUS than this guy would. We'll just have to call Kerry "Placeholder of the United States".
I hope there aren't any Freepers out there wasting tens of thousands of dollars a year on tuition for their kid so that he/she can learn how to say "stuff".
Have you watched that video of Richard Holbrooke and Wes Clarke meeting with the KLA on behalf of Kerry? This isn't going to matter once this gets out.
"From his ambitious health-care proposal to his pledges to add 40,000 troops to the military and 10 million jobs to the economy, Kerry has a multitude of multi-pointed plans, and he talks optimistically about making them reality"
$1.5 Trillion in new spending, massive tax increases to fund it, and a resulting slowing economy will not create 10 million new jobs. Kerry's spending will be largely money down the rat hole, with ever increasing health care costs and declining access and quality, as apposed to allowing American's to keep their hard earned pay. Add to that his anti-corporate, anti-capitalist agenda of onerous regulation, and burdensome and ultimately inflationary tax increases, and you can forget just about any new jobs.
Corporate tax loopholes? Gone "in a nanosecond," says Kerry. The Bush administration's new overtime regulations? Reversed on Day One, says running mate John Edwards (news - web sites)."
How Kerry expects to keep jobs here with his plans of tax increases, massive increases in regulation and employee health care costs, and the idiocy of the "Kyoto Accords" is beyond me. Look for an exodus of corporations offshore, scaling back of plans of foreign corporation's investment in plants in the US, and the steep decline of the Auto Industry in the US.
"Landy's shorthand description of Kerry's approach to Iraq: "Bush without the swagger," following through on U.S. commitments while trying to get more support from other nations. But Landy said Kerry will be under intense pressure because many of his supporters simply want America to get out. "Even John Kerry doesn't know what do about that, because it's such a nasty choice," Landy said."
Kerry hasn't a clue what to do about the war on terror. His term in office will be an unmitigated disaster. If we survive 4 years of his weakness and vacillation, we will be in such a terrible strategic position, that a Republican President will have almost nothing to work with by 2008. I have no confidence that Kerry will do anything aggressive or proactive as he has "said" he would do. Why believe a proven liar?
I mean this most sincerely: God help us if this happens. <shudder>
Where is that?
Amen to that. This is a honest to goodness nightmare scenario.
Think of all those Clinton people out there we hated -- the ones that brought us to 9-11; they're all out there, a government in waiting.