Michael S. Dukakis predicted a win for President Obama next week and broke down key issues at stake in the upcoming election in a talk on Thursday.
“I think the president is going to win, but this is a very, very tight race,” said the former Mass. governor and 1988 presidential candidate.
In a lecture co-sponsored by the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations and the Institue of Politics, Dukakis laid out the stakes of the upcoming presidential election by examining the differences between Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney in two main areas: health care and foreign policy.
Dukakis said that, in his first term, President Obama managed to accomplish something that none of his predecessors were able to do—instituting a nation-wide healthcare plan.
“Truman tried it; Nixon tried it; Clinton tried it; Obama did it,” he said.
Dukakis told the audience that he is opposed to the Medicare changes that Romney and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan have proposed, There is no need to turn Medicare into a voucher system, he said, because the program itself is not the problem.
"This is a cost problem,” Dukakis said.
Dukakis added that funding problems could be solved without having to overhaul Medicare, noting that the existing structure “is actually a lot more efficient than the private system.”
Instead of making changes to Medicare that could leave millions of Americans without health insurance, Dukakis recommended that the United States regulate the cost of health care and follow the example of countries like Japan, Germany, and Canada.
“The market does not work in health care,” Dukakis said. “If the market doesn’t work, then you’ve got to regulate it.”
Dukakis said that he is also “very concerned” by the course of American foreign policy.
“The notion that the U.S. is the world’s policeman is badly flawed. We’re not doing it very well, and in any event we can’t afford it,” he said.
According to Dukakis, the U.S. would be better off if it focused on building the credibiliy of international court systems and providing support for global peace-keeping institutions—a task that he does not believe Romney can effectively carry out.“Romney is out of his element when it comes to foreign policy,” Dukakis said.
Audience member Andrew J. Pan ’15 said that he enjoyed the emphasis on foreign policy and appreciated that the lecture “didn’t turn into a crazed debate on domestic issues.”
Susan J. Pharr, a professor of Japanese politics and Director of the Program on U.S.-Japan relations, wrote in an email to The Crimson that she hoped the event would inspire young voters.
“I hope that it helps get them out to vote next week,” she wrote. “I also hope it will lead at least some of them to seriously consider public service as a career.”
As he closed his speech, Dukakis impressed upon audience members the significance of the upcoming election.
“[This election is all about choosing the president] who will create a future that all of us can feel good about,” he said.