[Marxism] Kerry versus Kerry-lite

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Mar 23 17:29:35 MST 2004

March 23, 2004

Kerry vs. Kerry-lite

By Stephen Gowans

Some advice to politically Left Americans. Most of you will cast a vote for 
John Kerry in November. There's not much doubt about it. And the reason 
you'll be backing Kerry is (a) you assume nothing could be worse than Bush, 
(b) the Democrats must be marginally better, because
well, because they're 
Democrats, (c) pressuring elites doesn't seem to be working and you can't 
think of anything else to do to stop "Bush's" drive to war, and (d) all 
those people who keep warning you about lesser evilism, can't seem to come 
up with anything better. So Kerry's your man. Oh sure, some of you admire 
Kucinich. Others even think well of Nader. But you know Kerry's going to be 
your go-to-guy come November.

Okay, fine. Leave it at that. When the time comes, head down to the polling 
station, and cast your vote. But in the meantime, shut up about it, 
because, just between you and me, you're starting to look a little silly, 
twisting yourself into knots to explain why it is that all the things you 
used to say about the Democrats being the same as the Republicans, no 
longer apply.

Of course, you're not going to give up talking the talk, even if you'll be 
miles away walking smack dab in the middle of your comfort zone. There will 
be no going cold turkey on all the leftist shibboleths you've been spouting 
for decades. Like Noam Chomsky, you'll still point to the Democrats as 
nothing more than the second business party [1], kind of like Thing Two to 
the Republican's Thing One. And you'll dismiss your go-to-guy as nothing 
more than Bush-lite, but hey, a lite beer's still better than the real 
thing when you're trying to get rid of those love handles, right?

Except I'm trying to figure out why everyone keeps saying Kerry is 
Bush-lite [2], rather than Bush in a different suit, or that Bush is 
Kerry-lite. Look at Kerry's record.

For one thing, as much as Bush, Kerry's part of the ruling class – that 
privileged, hyper-rich stratum of the population that organizes the 
domestic and foreign policy of the United States in its own interests. Not 
only have corporations showered more contributions on Kerry than on any 
other member of the millionaires' club that doubles as the Senate, he's 
also the richest millionaire in the club. He and his wife Teresa Heinz 
Kerry, boast a net worth of between $200 and $840 million [3].

But Kerry's wealth and his fitting into corporate circles like a CEO into 
an oversize corner office, isn't all that makes him, at best, a dead ringer 
for Bush. His policies do, too. Kerry proposes "a bold vision of 
progressive internationalism," a "tough-minded strategy of international 
engagement and leadership" in the tradition of such renowned peaceniks as 
Woodrow Wilson (WWI), Harry Truman (Hiroshima) and John F. Kennedy (Vietnam 
and the Bay of Pigs) [4].

Which may be why "Bush's" drive to war, which we're told, must be stopped 
by voting for Kerry, seems to be Kerry's drive to war, too [5]. After all, 
he voted for the war on Afghanistan, and supports the occupation [6]. He 
voted for the war on Iraq, and says "we now have a solemn obligation to 
complete the mission" [7]. He promises to add 40,000 troops to the Army and 
to spend more on defense than the Republicans, and more on homeland 
security [8]. Yeah, he sure sounds different from Bush, though not in any 
better way.

What's more, not only is he prepared to use military force unilaterally, 
("People will know I'm tough and I'm prepared to do what is necessary to 
defend the United States of America, and that includes the unilateral 
deployment of troops if necessary," [9] he's prepared "to target and 
capture terrorists even before they act" and says he "will not hesitate to 
order direct military action when needed to capture and destroy terrorist 
groups and their leaders" [10] -- his own doctrine of preventive war.

Plus he says he will spend more on the National Endowment for Democracy 
[11], an organization that does openly what the CIA used to do covertly -- 
meddle in the affairs of countries like Haiti, Venezuela, Serbia and Cuba, 
that put the interests of the domestic population ahead of those of 
corporate America and investors who can boast net worths of hundreds of 
millions of dollars, like, let's see...well, like Kerry.

And in case you thought Kerry draws his advisors from a different stratum 
of the population than Bush does, you should know that his national finance 
chair, Louis Susman, is vice-chairperson of investment banking for 
Citigroup [12], and that his foreign policy adviser, Rand Beers, worked for 
Bush's National Security Council until about a year ago [13].

So explain to me how there's anything lite about Kerry?

full: http://www3.sympatico.ca/sr.gowans/kerry.html

Louis Proyect
Marxism list: www.marxmail.org 

More information about the Marxism mailing list