Former Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca, who stumped for George W. Bush in 2000 and Ronald Reagan in the 1980's, has shifted his support to John Kerry. Now, I could analyze this and pull quote after quote, but the man's speech was so great, I'm just going to lay it out for you to read. Admittedly, I'm leaving a lot of it out, but here's my abridged version of Iacocca's statement.
Our country needs a change in leadership. We need a leader who is really dedicated to creating millions of high-paying jobs all across the country. The bottom line is simple: We need a new CEO and President.
All of my best friends are Republicans, and they ask me, 'Are you crazy or something? Why are you doing this?" Iacocca told an audience of several hundred at San Jose State University, as Kerry grinned, nodded his head, and applauded. "Well, it's simple. I tell them the world is changing. Our country is changing. And we need a leader who understands that change that's taking place. And most important, we need a leader who will level with us about how we can adapt to that change and make things change for the better.
The fact is, we can't compete unless our technology is world-class and cutting-edge. We cannot create new high-paying jobs unless America is the world's leader in the industries of the future. And John Kerry understands that.
John Kerry would make a great commander-in-chief, I have no doubt about that. He would also make one hell of a CEO. That's what a President is.
He knows how to surround himself with good people, and he knows how to set priorities. He's a doer. And he does know how to make a tough decision now and then, believe me.
And most of all, John Kerry has a clear plan for where he wants to take the country, and what he'll do as President in his first hundred days and then in his first two years, halfway through his first term.
Now, I'm doing this not as a Democrat or Republican, but as an American, simply.
I have two great causes left in my life. One is to find a cure for diabetes. I've been working on it for about 21 years now, and believe it or not, we've had a couple of breakthroughs. We're getting closer, really.
The other is to change the direction of my country. To do that, we need a great leader, and it's – believe me – a real honor for me to be able to introduce that leader, the next President of the United States, John Kerry.
I can't really add to that in any meaningful way. Here's a titan of corporate America who's crossed the political aisle time after time to support people whose policies he's seen as economically sound. And he didn't sit out the last election. He supported Bush. So his endorsement of Kerry is, in effect, a resounding vote of no confidence in the current administration.
I now formally challenge any socially moderate, pro-business voter (you know exactly who you are) to explain why he or she would vote for Bush over Kerry with this kind of endorsement from a figure like Iacocca. And 'tax cuts' won't count. I want something a little bit less selfish and vapid...
posted by Scott |
| Thursday, June 24, 2004
Kerry/Edwards? Kerry/Gephardt? Hmm...
Word from the street (inasmuch as FL Sen. Bill Nelson can be considered to represent 'the street') is that Kerry's veep pool is down to two: John Edwards and Dick Gephardt. One is relatively young (a plus for 2012), charismatic, a bit green, and Southern. The other is a bit older, somewhat wooden, experienced, and Midwestern. Both are likeable. Both are good fundraisers. Both bring certain electoral advantages to the table.
I've made no attempts to hide the fact that, between these two, I think Edwards would make the better VP pick for Kerry. And neither has Ralph Nader. Nader, whose sung Edwards' praises many times before, has begun to publicly lobby for Kerry to pick Edwards. He praises Edwards' "rhythm and oratory" as well as his ability to "stand up for the millions of Americans" in the face of "corporate supremacists." I can get behind that.
There's an idiotic idea floating around there that Nader's endorsement of Edwards would hurt his actual chances of being Kerry's veep pick. Though Nader's campaign has stressed that an Edwards pick would not bump Nader out of the running, you've got to admit that for progressives and liberals on the fence over Kerry v. Nader closer to November, a vice presidential candidate with Nader's backing makes Kerry look more attractive.
For his part, Gephardt has a lot of institutional Democratic support. The unions love him. He's a friendly, familiar face. But is that really enough to justify a VP nod?
If it really is Edwards and Gephardt at this point, the electoral math is really what counts. While Gephardt certainly helps Kerry in the Upper Midwest, he does little to improve his chances elsewhere. Edwards, on the other hand, boosts Kerry's standing not only in his native Carolinas, but across the country -- even in Dick Gephardt's Midwest.
There's another factor at play here that I really haven't heard mentioned. In 2012, at the end of the second Kerry term, Gephardt will be 71. Edwards will be 59. If we nominate Gephardt, aren't we practically admitting we're more obsessed with pacifying Democratic interest groups (read: unions) in the short term than providing America with solid Democratic leadership in the long term? GOP fanatics are already saying that Kerry is our Bob Dole, little more than a placeholder, that we're really waiting to run Hillary in 2008. Not that I'm seriously thinking we need to diffuse this kind of nonsense, but picking Edwards sends the message that the Democratic Party is digging in, preparing for the long haul.
posted by Scott |
| Wednesday, June 23, 2004
One of the nice things about blogging is that even if Opinion Journal doesn't want to publish my response to their absolute piece of garbage editorial on the NJ Democrats' successful tax reform efforts, I get to talk about it here. (Note: they actually did publish it.)
For those of you not familiar, two days ago New Jersey's legislature approved a bill which will increase the income tax on the top 1% (read: 28,500 people; everyone making over $500,000 a year) to fund both a much needed spending increase and additional property tax rebates for 1.7 million homeowners and renters.
Well, this morning the Wall Street Journal's editorial page decided to slam the state, playing fast and loose with the actual facts. Sub-heading the editorial "Why would anyone want to move to the Garden State now?" was enough to get my blood boiling. Their unabashed lying about Governor McGreevey's F.A.I.R. tax reform plan put me over the top.
In writing about the income tax increase, they somehow neglected to mention that there would be an accompanying increase in the property tax rebate that will benefit 90% of all state taxpayers. Whoops! They accuse the "McGreevey and his fellow Democrats" of "ramming it through" the legislature even though entirely one-third of the state's GOP assembly members also thought it was a good enough idea to vote for. Man, that's some effective ramming, tricking Republicans into supporting something so horrible.
The chicken littles predicting economic disaster as a result of this tax shift are the same folks who claimed two years ago that McGreevey's tripling of the New Jersey's corporate business tax would lay waste to the state's economic progress. Even the editorial board of the WSJ had to admit that "New Jersey's economy... has been leading the Northeast's slow recovery" with unemployment at "5.3%, compared with 5.6% nationally," and that "New Jersey was responsible for two-thirds of the New York metropolitan area job creation in the 12 months that ended in March."
So it's hard to square away the claim that a personal tax increase will scare off economic growth with the fact that a tripling of the corporate tax rate did nothing to hurt the state's economy. Again, according to the editorial, "New Jersey's private sector has added close to 60,000 new jobs, the fourth-highest in the nation." They make the claim "that many of these new jobs are being created by employers fleeing the high tax levels of New York State and City," but make absolutely no mention of the fact that New Jersey has done so despite a significant lessening of what they refer to as our "comparative regional tax advantage."
Allow me to engage in some boosterism here. The fact of the matter is that New Jersey is a great state. We're centrally located on the eastern seaboard between New York and Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, DC. As a center of trade, New Jersey is second to none. Port Newark is the largest marine import/export facility on our side of the Atlantic. Goods produced in New Jersey are trucked westward via Routes 80 and 78, and north and south on I-95 and Route 287. The turnpike and parkway could use some work, but we have a commuter rail system few states can match. Even though Jersey is small, our residents can ski in the winter and surf in the summer, all without having to step foot outside our border. Let's not forget that our last two Republican governors have proven to be thorns in Karl Rove's side, Tom Kean at the head of the 9/11 Commission and Christie Whitman at the EPA. All that and we're solidly Democratic and believe in--gasp!--progressive taxation! So despite what the snobs at WSJ say, the Garden State has a lot going for it aside from our "comparative regional tax advantage."
Why am I so upset anyway? The last thing I need is a bunch of Peggy Noonan and John Fund-worshipping supply-siders moving in next door. The minute they do... there goes the neighborhood.
posted by Scott |