Why Kerry was the man from the start

Election 2004 | Building/Consensus

Picking a candidate is hardly done rationally (as I had feebly done earlier in trying to deduce, according to the Civilities Themes, who would be the best candidate). More often it’s about rationalizing your choice once you’ve made it. Now obviously, Kerry is the best choice for me, for the Network/Access reason alone. After all, I know people in Massachusetts politics, and I’m more closely linked to Kerry than the rest of the candidates. Besieds, it looks like he’s going to be the nominee.

But there is a value, in the early stages of the campaign, to be listen to to the idiosyncracies of each candidate, and find one that clicks. As in courtship (“Dated Dean, Married Kerry”, goes the pithy saying, though no one’s added “Stood up by Clark” yet), it’s sometimes about finding the moment when you’ve fallen for someone. I have my Kerry moment (and to be honest, I never had a Dean moment, even though I gave minimal help to the campaign in June). Over the summer I heard on NPR’s campaign coverage, a remarkably candid answer by Kerry regarding Wal-Mart. Thanks to Google I was able to find it months later:

Another questioner encouraged Kerry to make Wal-Mart buy American products “instead of being a communist dictatorship’s [China’s] eighth largest trading partner.” While Kerry said a president shouldn’t regulate what countries retailers buy from, he did say the company should provide health benefits to employees and be better controlled by local zoning and planning boards.

“There are a lot of issues with Wal-Mart,” he said. “I think there ought to be a tougher effort to try and restrict the growth [of Wal-Mart] in a way that, in many places, is undoing local economies, and Main Street America, as a result, is under great pressure.”
“At Fresh Air Forum, voters query Kerry”, The Winchester Star, August 13, 2003

I haven’t heard it repeated. I don’t see it on the website. I don’t even know how a President could really focus on getting back “Main Street America” from Wal-Mart and the Cheesecake Factory. But it’s nice to know that one’s Presidential candidate is capable of blunt honesty.

Another story. Over a year ago, I went to the new member Shabbat at my synagogue, and met a number of the new members. Upon leaving the building, a man approached us who seemed out of place. He began his story, that he was a Falasha (Ethopian) Jew, who was looking for work, or maybe some money, would we know where the Rabbi was at the moment? We were befuddled, as most people are, at these awkward times. Except for Joan, who calmly him that he could call her office on Monday and she could have someone help him out. He asked for a pen , but as is the law on the Sabbath we do not write, and not within distance of the synagogue. “Check the phone book,” she said. “and look for Senator Kerry’s local office.”

When I asked her later, I learned that the man never called. So it goes. But that’s what Kerry’s office does, and I don’t doubt that every other elected rep. does that too. So that’s why Kerry was the man from the start.

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    Our Values LeeCeHan Feb 15 ’04 12:06AM
    . buying into retail values Jon Garfunkel Feb 15 ’04 5:08PM
    . . Our Values LeeCeHan Feb 17 ’04 8:11PM