Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Tepid Kerry

James Harding of Financial Times has an anecdote that sums up why John Kerry's campaign is floundering despite a high level of anti-incumbent sentiments and all the objective disadvantages for Bush like stagnant wages (Jared Bernstein, "wage growth has been flat, and has even fallen slightly behind inflation in the past few months," December 24, 2003), high gas prices (Art Pine and Joe Carroll, "A 21 percent rise in gasoline prices this year to a record high is siphoning cash consumers have used for the discretionary spending that has helped spur the expansion. Gasoline prices at current levels would take $15 billion from consumers' pockets through June, offsetting as much as 77 percent of the increase in refunds that Merrill Lynch & Co. estimates taxpayers will receive, said Kathleen Bostjancic, a Merrill senior economist," Bloomberg.com, April 19, 2004), and the costly and deadly occupation of Iraq:
John Kerry was standing in front of stacks of stainless steel cookware, telling factory workers about his plans for America. The crowd was 50 or so strong, employees who had volunteered to come and listen to the Democratic presidential candidate.

When it came to healthcare, Mr Kerry called a worker up on stage. He would make the federal government responsible for catastrophic illnesses, he said, cap the liabilities of company health plans, thereby reducing employer premiums and cutting the amount employees pay for healthcare by Dollars 1,000 (Euros 838, Pounds 558).

"Would you take that deal?" Mr Kerry said expectantly. The man said he didn't negotiate the healthcare plan: it was up to a woman in the audience called Barb.

Mr Kerry turned to her. "Would you like that, Barb?"

She paused. "It sounds interesting," she said. ("Tepid Kerry Strives for Elusive 'Voter Rapport'," Financial Times, April 29, 2004)

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