In a strong field of candidates, Kerry stands above the others for his thoughtful grasp of America’s most challenging domestic concerns, his years of experience advocating sensible and nuanced foreign policy, his principled stances on military issues and his willingness to forge consensus among those on both sides of the aisle.
It goes without saying that Kerry’s personal biography is compelling. His experience as a veteran ensures that his decisions about America’s sons and daughters will be made with a perspective and thoughtfulness that few other candidates bring to the table. But more than his Purple Hearts for valor in combat and the life-and-death decisions he made to lead his men home safely, it is the passionate conviction he showed in protesting the Vietnam War on his return that proves the mettle of his character. John Kerry understands deeply what happens when an administration abuses the public’s trust in order to pursue its own agenda, which is why we are confident that he has the courage to restore accountability to the White House.
We believe in Kerry’s ability to clean up the mess that has been made of the Iraqi reconstruction efforts, by internationalizing the operations and marshaling the United Nation’s resources and goodwill in the region. His thoughtfulness about the decisions facing the U.S. in Iraq—and his resistance against boiling his philosophy down to a sound bite—is an encouraging harbinger of his ability to stand up to the ideologues who see America’s predominance as a tool for bludgeoning rather than inspiring. Kerry’s 18 years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has given him the context and confidence to enact a multilateral foreign policy.
Equally attractive is Kerry’s stance on domestic and economic issues. While the Karl Roves will surely try to paint Kerry as a ‘tax-and-spend liberal,’ his record in the Senate, and his plan for a tax policy that keeps costs low for working families, shows that he understands the pressures that face America’s middle class more than any other candidate in the race. Repealing Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans is a necessary and progressive step towards fiscal responsibility; keeping them in place for the middle class is sensible and compassionate policy. Kerry’s health care plan extends coverage to millions more Americans without outsourcing America’s healthcare protections or bankrupting its future economic stability.
John Kerry has proven himself a dogged fighter, not just in his recent come-from-behind victory in Iowa—which illustrated his broad appeal to voters in America’s heartland—but also in his legislative record. The four-term senator has nearly single-handedly kept the nation’s environmental health on the radar screen—long before issues like the Atlantic National Wildlife Refuge were fashionable causes. And he is the only candidate with the foresight and expertise to put forth a comprehensive plan for energy independence from foreign oil.
Kerry’s message has the broadest appeal and will be the strongest in the general election, but the Bush-Cheney machine will be a formidable opponent for Kerry, whose campaign is not as glitzy as some others in the race. In order to continue the momentum his campaign has built, Kerry should look to some of his southern colleagues as possible running mates in order to create the geographic diversity that has been crucial for other Democratic tickets.
Kerry will need to stay strong as his campaign moves forward and he comes under the harsh scrutiny earned by his front-runner status. He will need to look above the minute-by-minute pontificating by pollsters and pundits. But this is a task he is ready to undertake. As Kerry himself explained to a reporter pestering about his tracking numbers on the day before the Iowa caucuses, “The polls aren’t what this is about…It’s about issues, it’s about people, it’s about people’s concerns. And as we go around this country and point out, the millions of children left behind, the education system in disarray, the health care system imploding on itself…When people look at an energy bill with $50 billion of oil and gas subsidies, instead of investing in alternative and renewable energy, and fighting for energy independence. We’re not setting, under this administration, the real agenda of our nation. And I will, and when that agenda is clearly defined to the country, you watch.”
We look forward to watching Kerry take the lead, take his message to the American people and take back the White House. We are proud to endorse him for president.