<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d5529474\x26blogName\x3dDimmy+Karras\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dSILVER\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://dimmykarras.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://dimmykarras.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d2234159095245132931', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

Monday, February 23, 2004

Kerry Over Edwards

I read the Kos endorsement of Edwards over Kerry and feel compelled to say that I feel precisely the opposite. Kos doesn't make a lot of sense here--he doesn't even touch on any of the relevant policy issues in explaining his choice--dismissing "those silly 'electability' arguments" before he goes on to endorse a version of them, namely that Edwards is more likely to elect a Democratic House and Senate. His bitterness over Kerry allegedly ignoring the blogosphere also seems a rather unsound basis for picking a presidential candidate.

I would suggest that issues do matter, and control of the governing apparatus per se isn't enough; it matters what Democrats do with it. This seems kind of basic to me, like something I shouldn't have to explain to anyone. Anyway, even by the Kos rationale of winning back Congress, I think Kerry makes more sense because he'll simply be a more effective president. Edwards can be the most telegenic guy in the world, but that won't matter if his policy choices don't work out and voters lose confidence in Democrats.

This brings me to something I've been slowly realizing in the past few weeks and that crystallized for me when I watched This Week yesterday morning. I won't bother running through a long list of issues, especially since I don't have a strong preference between the two men on most of them. I will say that Kerry conveys to me a feeling that he is more at ease with foreign and defense policy areas, whereas Edwards seems rather too eager to show he's competent there.

But what really has sealed the decision for me has come in their differing statements on trade. Edwards claims of the pain of lost jobs, "I've seen it personally," like that makes him any more fit to try to do something about it. Everyone knows that lsoing jobs is a bad thing. This exchange with Stephanopoulos was also telling:

Sen. Kerry has a legitimate position [on trade]. It's just different than mine. And we have a very different record on this issue. I voted against the Chilean trade agreement. I voted against the Singapore trade agreement. I voted against final fast track authority for this president. I voted against the African trade agreement. I voted against the Caribbean trade agreement. Sen. Kerry voted for all of those.

Stephanopoulos: You both voted for China.

Edwards: We both voted for China, that's correct.

Quick, which trade agreement do you think has a larger impact on the economy, the one with China or the one with Chile? I half-expected Edwards to go on listing how he voted against the Vanuatu trade deal or the Lichtenstein agreement here. He's blatantly pandering to protectionists to try to win votes, and I believe that this pandering would have a strongly negative effect on US trade policy in a hypothetical Edwards administration. Op-ed columnists have been rightly noting this, from Tom Oliphant to Tom Friedman to even Bill Safire (ignore the tax cuts mumbo-jumbo).

Of course, Kerry has engaged in some damaging rhetoric too, but based on listening to both men, Kerry seems to be engaging more in vague posturing to try to protect his flank while Edwards I fear really means it. And I'm not certain to vote for Kerry either--I'm still considering voting for Dean on March 2 as my own way of protesting the two major candidates, neither of whom I care for. I think it's silly how some Dem talking heads gush that we've had a very strong primary field this year when the two best, Clark and Dean, have been knocked out already.