Kerry’s Offers Nothing

I tried to be fair to Nader voters in this post on Barbara Ehrenreich, treating them as serious, if wrongheaded people rather than high-handedly dismissing them, but after reading through the comments I’m just not sure. One consistent theme running through the Naderite remarks was that John Kerry has “nothing” to offer the Left, and that he won’t take the Left’s views into consideration. Boo fucking hoo.

To steal a point from Eric Alterman, the truly astounding thing about the Nader program is that it proposes to build a progressive movement in America by taking steps condemned by every labor union, ever civil rights group, and feminist group, every gay and lesbian group, and every environmental group of any note in America. It would seem that working people, racial minorities, gays and lesbians, and environmentalists all feel that a Democratic administration would offer them a thing or two. And I’m not just talking about ABB stuff here, actual things Democrats favor doing and will do if they are given the White House and sufficient votes in the congress.

We’re talking about a health care plan here that will give insurance to millions of people. I have health insurance and I’m damn happy about it. Others don’t have it, but might get it if John Kerry wins. I think he has something to offer them. I do pay premiums for my health insurance and Kerry would make those lower, I like that. I don’t make an hourly wage, but many people do, and Kerry will raise the minimum wage. If I made the minimum wage, or anything close to it, I’d be pretty excited about that. Readers know I’m not a big environmentalist, but I prefer that my air not be toxic. Kerry wants “an aggressive program to meet ozone and air quality standards, stop acid rain, and reduce mercury emissions.” Sounds good to me — I breath. Kerry supports civil unions for gay and lesbian Americans, something that sure would be nice were I in a committed gay relationship.

I could go on. Suffice it to say that unless the Left for some reason doesn’t care about the interests of poor people and unpopular minority groups, John Kerry is offering them quite a bit more than nothing. Is he offering them everything? No. Is he offering me everything? No. I want an assault rifle in every garage, developers running roughshod over local zoning ordinances, and draconian measure to limit CEO pay. And it looks to me like it’s not going to happen. But I’ll take lower premiums, health care for millions of additional citizens, cleaner air, fairer treatment of the sexually unorthodox, and a higher minimum wage. If that stuff is “nothing” to you, then I don’t know what your problem is. I also like this idea:

John Kerry has also proposed a “Service for College” plan, which will provide the cost of four years at a public college to young people in exchange for serving their communities and country in national service for two years. His plan says to all students, if you work hard and give to your country, your country will make sure you can afford a college education no matter who you are.

That sounds to me like a plan that will make it easier for people to go to college, while also providing help to various other people. Is that not the sort of thing the Left is interested in? Or must all salvation wait until the hated WTO can be destroyed?