Monday, February 19, 2007

John Kerry’s Input To Be Valued

Cross posted from The Democratic Daily:

There was on OP/ED in the Boston Herald today that is so worth the read for Kerry supporters here on the Dem Daily. The OP/ED was written by Jeffrey R. Lewis, president of Heinz Family Philanthropies, who served as Republican staff director to the late Sen. John Heinz (R-Pa.).

One of the key points Lewis makes, as a moderate Republican, is that "on a variety of key and core issues," John Kerry "has been right on the merits and he has gotten to these positions long before the rest of the pack." That's a point we've made here many times here on the Dem Daily -- Kerry was right. (Emphasis added below is mine.)

Kerry’s input to be valued
By Jeffrey R. Lewis
Monday, February 19, 2007

Two years from now, when George Bush leaves office, he will leave behind a tattered domestic policy and a severely frayed foreign policy that in some places of the world is broken, embittered, violent and organized into very different camps whose only common denominator is a raging anti-American sentiment.

On Sept. 11, the world was at our feet, understanding our anguish and offering a hand of friendship. Today, much of the world is after our throat, burning our flag, and using foreign trade and oil as weapons of economic destruction against us.

The question that engages many of us - not as Democrats or Republicans but as human beings - is how to approach the project of restoring America’s place in the world.

America must find a path out of Iraq, rebuild our military, re-engage the fight in Afghanistan, restore our diplomacy - especially in the Middle East - and suture together the security coalitions that this administration tore apart with its preference for unilateral action and its disdain for our allies.

Our role, our responsibility, is to engage our allies - and our adversaries - on the problems that can no longer be confined behind borders. We need a fair trade policy with China and India that stops driving Americans’ jobs from our country. We need to keep our doors open to visitors without alienating our neighbors and further eroding simple common decency toward migrants.

We must lead, not follow, other nations in limiting carbon emissions to fight global warming. We must stop global trafficking in drugs and sex slaves in ways that honor the dignity of its victims and the sovereignty of the nations involved.

How do you accomplish all of these things in a world threatened by the proliferation of dangerous weapons and divisive ideologies, especially when our White House flexes its political muscle by declaring anyone unpatriotic when he or she dares to disagree?

The neo-conservatives led us into a morass because they saw the world as they wanted it to be, not as it was. The people who will help lead us out will be both more realistic and more idealistic. These internationalists, these patriots, are in short-supply, which is what brings me to John Kerry.

It’s convenient now to kick Kerry.

The New York Times [NYT] did in a nasty news story just a few days ago; some snarky references to his hangdog face, to his emotional reaction to the death of a serviceman in Iraq (what is wrong with that anyway?), his shift in attention to his Senate seat (an office and a responsibility he has always loved) now that the 2008 presidential campaign will take place without him.

Kerry has faced a difficult two years. Like any candidate who ran and lost a close election, he has been the subject of second-guessing and buck-passing. His honor was impugned unfairly by his political opponents. His character was lampooned by a White House trying to change the subject from a failed war and a failed presidency, and some of his own colleagues have thrown knives.

Hear then an inconvenient truth: At a national moment where foreign policy expertise is needed more urgently than ever before, Kerry offers this country a perspective on the world that is more sharply aligned with America’s interests than that offered by many of his Senate colleagues.

On a variety of key and core issues, he has been right on the merits and he has gotten to these positions long before the rest of the pack.

For example, long before the Baker-Hamilton Commission Report, Kerry had a plan for bringing the troops home from Iraq and forcing the Iraqis to fight for their own democracy.

We would like to see a man, or woman, on a white horse to lead us out of the morass in which we’ve been driven. But the task is too great for one leader.

We simply can’t wait for January 2009 for the leadership we need. There’s an important role for Kerry to play, now.
For those of us who still hold on as moderate Republicans of the past, Kerry’s is the only voice making sense, presenting a strategy and talking honestly and openly about the challenges we face and the country he loves.

As a liberal Democrat, I'll reiterate what Lewis says in his last paragraph, "Kerry’s is the only voice making sense." We can't wait until January '09, we need leadership now. In many ways over the past couple of years I have viewed John Kerry as the shadow president... the leader we should have gotten in the last election, who just keeps on fighting for us, just as he said he would during the '04 campaign. He's been right on so many issues and so many levels, I've lost track, but I know many are chronicled here on the Dem Daily.

Election '08 may be starting of with a bang, but in my opinion John Kerry is "more realistic and more idealistic" as Lewis notes about him, than any candidate has shown to date. Those Democrats on the stump, I've said here in recent weeks, more than a few times, will be wise to look to Kerry's stance on the issues and give credit where credit is do. Thank you, Jeffrey Lewis for saying what so many of us here at the Dem Daily feel and believe.

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