I am solidly behind Kerry for president this year not because he is the most electable but because he is the best candidate of those that are running, including Nader. Why do I say this? Because he is a Vietnam vet who came back and then courageously fought to end the war. He has always voted to support and fund the Veterans Administration and to provide health care for veterans. He was one of the first in Congress to push the Pentagon to admit to the effects of both Agent Orange and Gulf War Syndrome. He also pushed to normalize relations with Vietnam. He has been on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for many years and he has a great deal of foreign policy experience. He can repair our relations with other nations and he is the best prepared to stop the disaster that is fast approaching in Iraq and Afghanistan, if it is not already too late.
On domestic issues, he is the candidate that best fits my philosophy of government. He is for ending Bush's tax cuts that go for people who make more than $200,000 a year, creating an education trust fund, create a new Americorps and closing tax loopholes that encourage companies from moving overseas. He has fought for increased fuel efficiency and against the efforts of the Bush administration to drill for oil in the the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and off the coast of California. As for the claim that he is beholden to special interests -- you only have to look at which industries he has taken on to see that that is ridiculous. He has gotten more money than other senators from individual lobbyists but he has not taken any money from PACs (Political Action Committees) in his years in the Senate. Of course there is no comparison between Kerry and how much Bush has gotten from special interests.
What about the other candidates?
Well, Edwards seems nice but he has no foreign policy experience and he has not been around very long in the Senate.
Dean seemed to be another phony running on the populist platform. After all, he was known as a conservative governor in Vermont. He threatened to veto medicinal pot legislation as governor and he also broke up a teacher's union.
Kucinich seems well meaning but he has already lost the nomination. The only thing I know about him is that he use to be against abortion rights but now is for them and has voted against funding international family planning.
Bush -- forget it. A quagmire in Iraq. The highest deficit in history. 2.6 million jobs lost, the worst record since Hoover. International treaties overturned or blocked. Environmental legislation rolled back.
Which brings me to Ralph Nader. A lot of you will dislike what I have to say about him. To me he is both an egomaniac and a big hypocrite. He did some fine things for consumer protection in the 70s and 80s but I don't know what great things he has done since. He has ran four times for president, including this year. His best result was 2.7 % in an election that helped bring Bush into the White House. He claims that Gore and Bush were exactly alike. Excuse me? Gore would not have invaded Iraq. Gore would not have tried to dismantle the Clean Air Act or drill in the ANWR. Speaking of ANWR and other issues, where has Nader been for three years? Did he speak out against ANWR and other Bush environmental policies? I doubt it. I haven't heard from him and I stay up on the issues. He was mostly probably making money giving speeches and selling books.
If he really wanted to make changes then he would run for something less dramatic, but something he could actually win, such as mayor, state representative, even Congressman. But he won't do that because that would require him to quit bitching and to actually work to get his own legislation passed. And it would be less sexy and less of a money maker than running for president.
Nader is also a hypocrite when it comes to his own personal life. He has invested in Fidelity Magellan Fund, which then has invested in such companies as Occidental Petroleum and Halliburton. Nader has made a nice career out of attacking such companies but then he has also invested in these companies. And the organizations that he helped create in the 70s, the PIRGs, Public Interest Research Groups, pay their employees horrible wages and no benefits. That is why unions will often refuse to work with them on matters concerning worker's rights. I know about them, because I almost worked for one.
To me a vote for Nader is more than a wasted vote or a vote that helps Bush. It is also a vote for an egomaniac and a person who thinks he is a saint but actually does not live by the same rules he demands of everyone else. I say no thanks to that and I will do everything I can to educate people about the real Nader and help keep him off the ballot in Oregon.
That's all I have to say on the matter. I hope people will actually vote for the person who has worked hard for the environment, for labor, for veterans issues, women's issues and who has foreign policy experience. Kerry might not be as good at writing books and giving speeches about these issues as Nader but he has done a lot more than him on these issues and that means more to me than meaningless platitudes.
Thanks for reading this. Hate mail can be sent to me in person or on this list.