|Dennis, We Thought We Knew You!
By Ralph Nader
Dennis Kucinich has decided to endorse the Kerry-Edwards Campaign. Of
course, since Dennis is a committed, life-long Democrat this is not a
big surprise. But, in doing so he also urged Nader supporters to join
Kerry-Edwards saying: "There is a place within the Democratic Party
for everyone, including those who may be thinking of supporting Ralph
Nader." Sorry Dennis, but most Nader supporters would find it very
difficult to support the Kerry-Edwards ticket.
Here are ten reasons why there is no place in the Democratic Party
for people who hold to their principles and progressive programs:
1. Kerry-Edwards supports the war in Iraq. The only promise that
John Kerry makes regarding Iraq is that he will "manage" the war
better than Bush. He voted for the war and will send more troops to
Iraq if needed. He recently told The Wall Street Journal that he
would keep the troops in Iraq longer than George Bush.
2. Unlike Senator Feingold, Kerry-Edwards undermines the
Constitution and civil liberties in the U.S. They voted for the
Patriot Act - an overly aggressive assault on our Constitution. John
Kerry, a former federal prosecutor, has not often distinguished
himself as a strong friend of civil liberties. Kerry supported the
Clinton crime bills, including the expansion of the federal death
penalty in 1996 legislation.
3. John Kerry represents corporations and the wealthy, not the
working majority. When John Kerry met with major donors he promised
them he was not a redistributionist Democrat - despite massive
corporate welfare programs, and the vast rich-poor divide that exists
in the U.S. today. The Washington Post reports that has received more
money from corporations and their lobbyists than any other senator.
For example, the Center for Responsive Politics reports that during
this election cycle, Kerry took in $3,321,382 from the health care
industry. Also, Kerry has received $7,568,630 from the finance,
insurance and real estate industries. His anemic plan for the working
poor is to raise the minimum wage to a mere $7 per hour by 2007 -
when over $8 would bring the purchasing power up to that of 1968!
He's called for even more corporate tax cuts as a prime part of his
jobs program, despite record corporate profits and shrinking
corporate responsibility for carrying their fair share of the tax
4. Kerry-Edwards does not promise health care for all. Forty-five
million Americans don't have health insurance and more and more can't
afford to keep it. The U.S. spends more on health care per capita
than any other country - 25% of our expenditures go to duplicative
overhead caused by health insurance-based health care. John Kerry
does not replace this system with a universal health care program; he
builds on this faulty system by paying the catastrophic care health
insurance costs of businesses - but tens of millions will remain
without health care under his plan.
5. Kerry-Edwards supports the drug war. John Kerry was the lead
sponsor of Plan Colombia, the devastating militaristic approach to
addiction. The plan sprays herbicides in the rain forests of
Colombia, poisons the land of peasants, uses the military against
peasant farmers and spreads coca cultivation in the region.
Domestically, Kerry has supported crime bills that have resulted in
the United States becoming the leader in incarceration in the world.
6. John Kerry continues to support WTO and NAFTA. These trade
agreements that are spurring the sending of jobs overseas to
Communist China, India and other poor countries undermine the
sovereignty of nations by putting profit of corporations before laws
enacted by nations. As a result, environmental, labor, and consumer
protection laws are undermined by trade agreements. But Kerry is not
calling for withdrawal from and renegotiation of these agreements.
7. John Kerry supports testing instead of teaching and does
nothing to make college more affordable. Kerry supported George
Bush's "No Child Left Behind" law, that emphasizes high stakes, high
frequency, multiple choice standardized formal tests and, through
their narrow domination, undermines teaching. He initially supported
subsidizing college education but has now backed away from that
8. The Democratic Party is undermining U.S. Democracy with John
Kerry's quiet blessing. The Nader/Camejo Campaign is facing an
unprecedented attack to obstruct its ballot access in numerous states
with dirty tricks. Through harassment of petitioners, efforts to
spoil ballot access conventions, use of state workers to challenge
our signatures and employing corporate law firms to challenge our
ballot access the Democratic Party is weakening the vibrancy of our
democracy and trying to limit the choices of voters--with the full
approval of the Democratic National Committee. The Democrats are
doing nothing to energize our democracy by making it easier for a
diversity of candidates to run or making sure votes are counted in
ways that ensure a majority president like Instant Run-off Voting.
9. John Kerry does not think for himself on the
Israeli-Palestinian question. The Israeli government violates the
human rights of innocent Palestinian men, women, and children every
day as documented by Israeli and international human rights
organizations. John Kerry's response is to support the Israeli
military government, even though Colin Powell has stated repeatedly
there is no military solution to this conflict. Kerry does not
highlight the peace movements in Israel and Palestine even though
they have been communicating with one another about accords that
would solve this conflict.
10. Kerry-Edwards will not challenge the military industrial
complex, about which President Eisenhower cautioned the American
people in his farewell address. He supports the bloated and redundant
military budget that now exhausts one-half of all the operating
expenditures of the federal government. Kerry-Edwards is as distant
as can be from Dennis Kucinich's most cherished proposal, that he
campaigned for around the country: the establishment of a Department
of Peace so that our government can wage peace as it now does to
prepare for war.
These are some of the reasons why our supporters will not be tempted
to follow Dennis Kucinich back to the corporate dominated two-party
system. Dennis Kucinich's relationship with the Democratic Party is a
one way street without any reciprocity.