Progressive Advice for Kerry

Robert Kuttner offers three bits of advice to John Kerry:

1. Economics:

Rather than trimming, Kerry should be leading — educating the public on why social outlays are sound economics. Plus, as Walter Mondale painfully learned in 1984, you don’t defeat Republicans by being a better deficit-hawk.

Clinton governed by cutting deficits but won election by “putting people first.” Kerry needs to run the way Clinton ran, not the way Clinton governed. Few ordinary voters care about deficits, and the message they hear is: “He’ll raise your taxes.”

I’m not sure exactly what this means. But flip-flopping on the central core of his campaign is an excellent suggestion. I’m all for this.

2. Iraq:

[M]ass opinion is rapidly diverging from elite opinion on Iraq. Many in the foreign policy elite believe that, however unwise the invasion in the first place, we owe it to the Iraqi people to “stay the course.” But ordinary voters increasingly want to cut our losses. Kerry should listen to them.

Excellent advice. Kerry should call for immediate surrender.

3. Veep:

Supporters of a Kerry-McCain ticket argue that the important thing is to get Kerry elected. McCain’s views would have little influence. But one American president in seven has died in office. And McCain could dampen the enthusiasm of the Democratic faithful far more than he attracted independents.

This is an interesting theory. It’s rather academic; McCain isn’t going to run with Kerry. I’m personally hoping for Howard Dean. Or Carol Mosely-Braun.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Ed says:

    C’mon. The REAL dream ticket is Kerry-Byrd.

  2. mark says:

    They still can’t shut about about McCain as veep? Fine. We all know it will not happen, and when Kerry does choose his VP nominee, I will be among the first to say “Well, he/she is no McCain!” And I’ll gladly repeat it over and over again.

    If that is how they want it, fine.

  3. Zygote says:

    You just want Dean because you hope he shrieks like a woman again.

  4. McGehee says:

    If it’s Kerry-DEan, I think Mad Howie should grow a little pencil mustache and wear dark, pinstriped suits. And every so often yell, “That’s French!” and start kissing Teresa’s hand clear up to her elbow.

  5. Stop being modest and shoot for the stars: I’m for Kerry-Sharpton.