Just finished re-reading the speech and reading various commentary on the speech. To summarize, long on rhetoric, short on substance. Long on dreamy promises, short on actual plans. Did it convince millions of Americans that his pie-in-the-sky visions for universal health care, balanced budgets, gasoline-free automobiles, and the best funded, best equipped military in the world (all delivered simultaneously, of course, by a Democrat president who cares) is what they really want to buy into? We'll hear enough about that from pollsters next week.
So what do we really have to be afraid of from President Kerry?
Tax increases - difficult but not impossible with a Republican majority in Congress. I don't see the Dems winning both houses back this fall. If we got Kerry tax increases, they probably would be milder than the versions that he proposed. Ultimately they won't be a magic fix - everyone knows this, but punishing "the rich" seems to make lib Dems feel so much better. I can imagine John and Tuh-RAY-zah Kerry waking up every morning and banging their heads on a wall just so they won't feel left out. I also noticed that he is not advocating raising capital gains taxes or reinstating the death tax. But that doesn't mean he won't try.
Stem cell research - maybe not a bad thing. But we need to realize that a) it is wrong to create human embryos in the lab solely for the purpose of experimenting on them, and b) stem cells are probably not going to be a magic cure for every illness known to man. The promise of using stem cells to generate healthy human tissue and body fluids is inspiring, but science has never developed a perfect goose that lays perfect golden eggs every time. That's just not the way nature works.
Alternative energy - a huge government boondoggle that will expend billions of dollars and give us relatively nothing. Imagine if the government spend $100 billion (which is chump change for the government) and came up with the Segway. And then tried to force everyone to use it instead of driving a car to work. That's what a government "Alternative Energy" play would accomplish. No government in any nation has successfully anticipated and met the energy and transportation needs of its citizens in a completely fulfulling way. Don't expect our government to start doing it now.
Universal Health Care - now things are getting scary. The cost of health care in this country can be attributed mainly to three things. One, too much single-payer health care (insurance, Medicare, etc.) has created an unique economy and accounting system for health care that is completely foreign to the real-world economy that governs everything else. Two, technology like lasers and MRI's is expensive, and someone has to pay for it. Three, frivolous malpractice lawsuits. Who pays the cost? We do, in incresed medical fees. And I suppose I could also add the fact that we live longer and survive once-fatal diseases. If you are still alive, it costs money to take care of you. If you are dead, you are maintenance-free. So how is universal health care going to solve any of these problems? Your guess is as good as mine, but the only sure thing is that we will wast trillions of dollars trying to make it work.
Miscellaneous pork - Social Security, a "different" prescription drug benefit, more money for education and law enforcement, etc. The same pork programs just get fatter. We spend billions more every year on eduction and continually add program after program after program and the education system still "doesn't work." Ted Kennedy helps author the "No Child Left Behind" act, pushes it through Congress, and then immediately trashes the bill because it doesn't do "enough." It's hopeless - Republicans don't spend enough, Democrats waste too much. Take your pick. Bottom line- we'll spend billions more and kids still won't be able to read.
National Security and Defense - here's where we should be afraid - very afraid. What I heard John Heinz Kerry say last night translates something like this (sorry I don't speak French, so English will have to do):
I will not use military force preemtively against terrorists unless we have absolute proof of their guilt, the full backing of the UN and France and Germany, and a 100% assurance of success with no collateral damage or casualties. I will only guarantee the use of military force against terrorists if they attack us first.
Welcome to Carter/McGovern/Clinton foreign policy. Let me remind you that we have already tried this strategy. The Clinton administration passed over at least four chances to attack al Qaeda or capture Osama Bin Laden because they felt either that they couldn't make a case against him in international court, or that there might be additional casualties besides al Qaeda members. Waiting around during the 1990's gave us Sept. 11, 2001. Electing a president who believes that we should wait around until another U.S. city is turned into a smoking crater before striking at terrorists is possibly the dumbest and most dangerous thing that we could do right now.
I could live with another government boondoggle or two. I've lived with them all my life. But a return to foreign policy based on negotiation, appeasement, and retaliation only after we've been attacked is like committing suicide. And I value my life too much for that.