Friday, October 22, 2004

On Pulling the Trigger

Tom Friedman of the Times says he has a nightmare -- that John Kerry would not pull the trigger against the next target for pre-emptive war. The editorial page worries that he wouldn’t pull the trigger against Social Security. It clings to the line of Peter Peterson and his Concord Coalition that Social Security and the welfare state are on their way to bankrupting the nation.

Well, let’s compare the two major candidates on these issues. Actually, neither one has a plan to get out of Iraq, and both of them both fudge about showdowns with Iran and North Korea. As for Social Security and Medicare, Bush is committed to begin privatizing them in January, coaxing workers to invest in the stock market instead. Kerry did not follow my advice and call for single-payer, universal health care. But he did come out for some decent measures: a patients’ bill of rights, coverage for more children, the right to negotiate prices with the drug industry, and so on. Trouble is, he’d have to get his program through Congress.

I cling to the point that Kerry is a man who can be pushed around. He shows that every day. Up to now, the push has come from the wrong side. Representatives of the public interest have given him a blank check. Now, we have to fight just to get our votes counted. Then, however that turns out, we must fight to keep them from pulling those triggers.