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Posted at 11:09 AM ET, 01/11/2011

If you read only one John Kerry speech today ...

By Ezra Klein

Sen. John Kerry appeared at the Center for American Progress today to give a speech on "gridlock and globalization." The address should've been a snooze, but it's not. It's an ambitious and plausible diagnosis of our country's economic problems as partly political in nature, and it's a sensible and complete vision for how we could move forward. Frankly, it's the speech President Obama should be giving.

I'm not going to summarize it here, because I think it's actually worth taking five minutes to read it in full. But the whole thing is below the fold:

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Someone might ask why, with our country in mourning, we are here this morning continuing to talk about the business of the country. But the truth is that is what Gabrielle Giffords was doing – talking about the business of the country. And the truth is, talking about the business of our country is more urgent than ever.

John and I considered postponing this speech, which had been planned for some time. But serious times call for serious discussions. And after some reflection, both of us felt that not only should this speech not be postponed, but that, in fact, it was imperative to give it.

So obviously, as we gather here this morning, last weekend’s unspeakable tragedy is at the forefront of all of our minds. Our thoughts are with Congresswoman Giffords and the families of all the victims. We pray for her full recovery, even as a nation mourns the loss of innocent life in such a senseless act.

All of us struggle to understand this horrific event. There is much we still don’t know about what happened and why. But here’s what we do know without any question: on Saturday, a public servant went to meet with her constituents in the best tradition of our democracy, and while out, just doing her job, Congresswoman Giffords was shot down. Today she's fighting for her life, and six people lost their lives in this senseless assault not just on them, but, in its calculated planning for assassination, an assault on our democracy itself.

Eerily, I heard this weekend’s news while in Sudan, representing our country in our collective effort to help a people who have endured unspeakable violence and who are trying to make a fresh start through their democracy. Yet as I stood beside those Africans who have lost loved ones in pursuit of the democratic values we Americans so proudly export to the world, there was an unavoidable clash with the events unfolding in Tucson – a dramatic underscoring of the work that must be done to revitalize our own democracy here at home.

Many observers have already reduced this tragedy to simple questions of whether overheated rhetoric is to blame, or one partisan group or another. And surely today many pundits and politicians are measuring their words a little more carefully and thinking a little more about what they’re saying. But in the weeks and months ahead, the real issue we need to confront isn’t just what role divisive political rhetoric may have played on Saturday – but it’s the violence divisive, overly simplistic dialogue does to our democracy every day.

In the wake of this weekend’s tragedy, Speaker Boehner was right to suspend the House’s usual business; the question now is whether we’re all going to suspend and then end business as usual in the United States Capitol. Because even before this event shook us out of our partisan routine, it should have been clear that on bedrock questions of civility and consensus– discourse and democracy – the whole endeavor of building a politics of national purpose – the big question wasn’t whose rhetoric was right or wrong, but whether our political conversation was worthy of the confidence and trust of the American people.

Millions of Americans know we can do better than we’ve done these last bitter years – because our history has proven it time and again.

When the Soviets sent the first satellite in history into orbit half a century ago, leaders from both parties rose with a sense of common purpose and resolved that never again would the United States fall behind anyone, anywhere. President Kennedy summoned our nation to reach the great and audacious goal "before (the) decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth."

There were no partisan divisions that blocked the way. With daring and unflagging determination we moved immediately to unprecedented levels of investment in science and technology, engineering and R&D – and only twelve years after Sputnik, two Americans humbly took mankind's first steps on the moon.

Back then – just as today - our leaders, Democrat and Republican, had deep disagreements on many issues, but back then, they shared an even deeper commitment to stand together for the strength and success of our country. For them, at that turning point, politics stopped not just at the ocean’s edge, but at the edge of the atmosphere. For them, American Exceptionalism wasn’t just a slogan; they knew that America is exceptional not because we say we are, but because we do exceptional things.

As I first said last month, we as a people face another Sputnik moment today. And the great question is whether we will meet this moment as Americans did so boldly five decades ago. The decisions we make – or fail to make – in this decade on new energy sources, on education, infrastructure, technology, and research , all of which are going to produce the jobs of the future, and our decisions on deficits and entitlements will without doubt determine whether the United States will continue to lead the world – or be left to follow in the wake of others, on the way to decline, less prosperous in our own land and less secure in the world.

Some will question how in the world this could be possible – America less prosperous? America on the decline? They forget that exceptionalism for America has never been an automatic fact – a birthright on autopilot – but an inheritance of opportunity to be renewed and revitalized by each generation.

So, let me share some facts with you. Right now, other developed and developing countries are making far-reaching choices to reshape their economies and move forward in a new and very different global era. But instead of us responding as Americans have in the past, the frustrating reality is that our American political system is increasingly paralyzed and Balkanized into a patchwork of narrow interests that have driven the larger “national good” far from the national dialogue altogether. Increasingly, overheated ideology and partisan infighting leave us less able to address or even comprehend the decisive nature and scale of the challenges that will decide our whole future.

The fact is – our strength at home determines our strength in the world. And other countries are constantly taking our measure, sizing us up, watching our politics, measuring our gridlock.

On issue after issue, enduring consensus has been frayed or shredded by lust for power cloaked in partisan games. Health care’s individual mandate? Guess what -- it started as a Republican idea-- a pro-business idea-- because rising insurance costs leave big holes in profits. Cap and trade? Guess again -- another Republican idea based on market principles and, with bipartisanship, successfully implemented by President George Herbert Walker Bush, now denounced as ideological heresy. And energy independence? For forty years, every President since Richard Nixon has recognized that foreign oil imports are America’s Achilles heel. But whenever we’ve had a chance to act, we’ve been blocked by entrenched influence and the siren call of short-term interest instead of achieving long-term success.

Even as we were clawing our way to the ratification of START Treaty last month, I noted that far more ambitious treaties had previously been ratified by votes of 90 or 95 to zero. I joked that in this Senate, in this hyper-partisan Washington, 67 might be the new 95. I’m proud that in the end we sent a signal to the world that in American foreign policy, however uphill the slog and improbable the victory, partisan politics can still stop at the water’s edge. But the fact remains that it was closer than it ever should have been.

All of this underscores the current danger to our country in ways that go far beyond that single debate and highlight a host of other issues that demand and deserve common resolve, not constant suspicion and division. If treaties ratified almost unanimously yesterday get just 71 votes today, what’s the forecast for other decisive endeavors that once would have commanded 79 votes in the Senate? We can’t afford for the old 79 to become the new 49, dooming our national will to unbreakable gridlock. Because in the 21st century where choices and consequences come at us so much faster than ever before, the price of Senate inaction isn’t just that we will stand still; it isn't just that America will fall behind; it's that we will stay behind as we cede the best possibilities of this young century to others who are more disciplined.

Just think about an issue as simple and fundamental as building and investing in America – an issue that was once so clearly bi-partisan. The Republican Mayor of New York City Fiorello LaGuardia famously said: “There’s no Republican or Democratic way to clean the streets.” Well, for decades there was no Democratic or Republican way to build roads and bridges and airports. The building of America was every American’s job. This wasn’t narrow pork; it was a national priority. But today, we’re still living off and wearing out the infrastructure put in place by Republicans and Democrats together, starting with President Eisenhower’s interstate highway system. We didn’t build it; our parents and grandparents did. Now partisan paralysis has kept us from renewing that inheritance even as it decays from neglect. And the question is – what are we building for our children and our future generations?

Reliable, modern infrastructure isn’t a luxury. It’s the lifeblood of our economy-- the key to connecting our markets, moving products and people, generating and sustaining millions of jobs for American workers, to not wasting hundreds of thousands of hours and millions of gallons of gas on clogged highways.

In the face of global competition, our growth and exports are directly tied to the modernity of our infrastructure. As we invest too little and our competitors invest more and more, the harder and harder it will be to catch up – and the more and more attractive those countries will be for future investments.

In 2009 China spent an estimated $350 billion on infrastructure-- 9 percent of its GDP. Europe’s infrastructure bank financed $350 billion in projects across the continent from 2005 to 2009, modernizing seaports, expanding airports and high-speed rail lines, and reconfiguring city centers. Brazil invested over $240 billion in infrastructure in the past three years alone, with an additional $340 billion planned over the next three years.

And what about us? Well, we know that Americans have always been builders. We built a transcontinental railroad. We built an interstate highway system. We built the rockets that let us explore the farthest edge of the solar system and beyond. But as a result of our political gridlock and attention to the short-term, that’s not what we’re doing today.

For too long we’ve underbuilt and underinvested, and too much of what we have done has been uninformed by any long-term strategic plan. In 2008, it was estimated that we had to make an annual investment of $250 billion for the next 50 years to legitimately meet our transportation needs. Right now, we aren’t even close to that. Right now, we are as many miles away from it as we ought to be building to get there.

Other countries are doing what we ought to do. They’re racing ahead because they created infrastructure banks to build a new future ; but we’ve yet to build a new consensus for our own national infrastructure bank to make Americans the world’s builders again-- and to keep our country the leader in the new world economy.

Imagine the possibilities that would come from this endeavor - financing projects from high-speed rail to air and sea ports, all with the expectation of being repaid, lending directly to economically viable initiatives of both national and regional significance, without political influence, run in an open and transparent manner by experienced professionals with meaningful Congressional oversight. That is an indispensable strategy for prosperity and a legitimate vision that Americans could embrace. And if we offer America the leadership it deserves, it ought to be an undoubted opportunity and necessity for bi-partisanship.

It’s not just infrastructure where we must rebuild our sense of great national purpose: virtually every measure shows that we’re falling behind. Today the United States is ranked 10th in global competitiveness among the G20 countries. America is now 12th worldwide in the percentage of 25-to-34-year-olds with a college degree, trailing, among others, Russia, New Zealand, South Korea, and Israel. This year investors have pulled $74 billion out of domestic stock funds and put $42 billion into foreign stock funds. High-profile multinational companies including Applied Materials and IBM are already opening major R&D centers in China. And as we look to the Googles of the future, it is increasingly possible that they will be founded by students from Tianjin University, rather than MIT or Stanford.

We need to face up these new challenges-- not just as individuals or separate interests, but as a nation with a national purpose. The world of the next generation will change too rapidly for political parties to focus too narrowly on the next election. And the 21st Century can be another American century-- but only if we restore a larger sense of responsibility and replace the clattering cacophony of the perpetual campaign with a wider discussion of what is best for our country.

For the last months we’ve watched the news and read the campaign literature and heard a lot the soundbites. We've heard politicians say they won't become a part of Washington. That say they're for small government, lower taxes, and more freedom. But what do they really mean?

Do they want a government too limited to have invented the Internet, now a vital part of our commerce and communications? A government too small to give America’s auto industry and all its workers a second chance to fight for their survival? Taxes too low to invest in the research that creates jobs and industries and fills the Treasury with the revenue that educates our children, cures disease, and defends our country? We have to get past slogans and soundbites, reason together, and talk in real terms about how America can do its best.

If we are going to balance the budget and create jobs, we can’t pretend that we can do it by just eliminating earmarks and government waste. We have to look at the plain facts of how we did it before, and by the way, you don't have to look far. In the early 1990's, our economy was faltering because deficits and debt were freezing capital. We had to send a signal to the market that we were capable of being fiscally responsible. We did just that and as result we saw the longest economic expansion in history, created over 22 million jobs, and generated unprecedented wealth in America, with every income bracket rising. But we did it by making tough choices. The Clinton economic plan committed the country to a path of discipline that helped unleash the productive potential of the American people. We invested in the workforce, in research, in development. We helped new industries. Then, working with Republicans, we came up with a budget framework that put our nation on track to be debt free by 2012 for the first time since Andrew Jackson's administration.

How we got off track is a story that doesn’t require retelling. But the truth of how we generated the 1990’s economic boom does need to be told. We didn’t just cut our way to a balanced budget; we grew our way there.

And nothing played a more important role than the fact that we developed a one trillion dollar technology market with one billion users. Today we’re staring another economic opportunity of extraordinary proportions right in the face – and so far we’re doing precious little about it. The current energy economy is a $6 trillion market with 4 billion users (and the possibility of growing to 9 billion in the next 30 years) – and the fastest growing segment of that is green energy – projected at $2.3 trillion in 2020. Yet, as of today, without different policy decisions by us, most of this investment will be in Asia, and not the United States. Two years ago, China accounted for just 5 percent of the world’s solar panel production. Now it boasts the world’s largest solar panel manufacturing industry, exporting about 95 percent of its production to countries including the United States. We invented the technology but China is reaping the rewards.

China's government is poised to outspend the U.S. 3 to 1 on public clean-energy projects over the next several years. They have installed 36 percent of the global market share in wind energy in 2009 and surpassed the United States as the fastest growing market. Deutsche Bank's Kevin Parker, who manages $7 billion in climate change-related investments, calls the US “asleep at the wheel on climate change...[and] on the industrial revolution taking place in the energy industry." Because of political uncertainty and inaction in this country, he’s now focusing Deutsche Bank’s “green” investment dollars more and more on opportunities in China and Western Europe, where governments provide a more positive environment. Today only $45 million of the $7 billion green investments fund that Deutsche Bank manages is from the United States. Simply put, because we are asleep, the investments are going elsewhere.

Now is the moment for America to reach for the brass energy ring – to go for the moon here on earth by building our new energy future-- and, in doing so, create millions of steady, higher paying jobs at every level of the economy. Make no mistake - jobs that produce energy in America are jobs that stay in America. The amount of work to be done here is just stunning. It is the work of many lifetimes. And it must begin now. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue; but instead of coming together to meet the defining test of a new energy economy and our future, we’re now leaving a political season in which too many candidates promised not to work with the other party. And this in the wake of a Senate session that started for Republicans with a power point presentation pronouncing - and I quote - "the purpose of the majority is to pass their agenda, the purpose of the minority is to become the majority."

It’s no secret that I’m a convinced Democrat. And I know it’s better to be in the majority than in the minority. And I don't want anyone to come to the Senate, check their beliefs at the door, and "go Washington." Neither did the Founding Fathers. And certainly no one's elected to the Senate promising to join an exclusive club-- or to forget where they came from. But the truth is some of the most fiercely independent, plain-talking, direct, and determined partisans I've ever known in the Senate have also been the ones who tackled the toughest issues, finding common ground with people they disagreed with on damn near everything else.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan was a New York liberal. Alan Simpson was a Wyoming conservative. But they could sit down and talk and debate and disagree about deficits, debts, and entitlements and somehow someway they could shape a way forward. And they did it in a way that enlisted liberals like Bill Bradley, moderates like Jack Heinz, and conservatives like John Danforth because they knew that certain issues were just too important to be lost in partisan squabbling.

And you couldn't find three more proudly partisan and ideologically distinct politicians than Ronald Reagan, Tip O’Neill, and Bob Dole. But they found a way to put politics aside and save Social Security for a generation rather than saving it for misuse as a cudgel in the next campaign. They didn't capitulate - they compromised. And, speaking of backroom deals, they agreed NOT to let either party demagogue the issue against the incumbents who cast the tough votes to pass the bill. Now, if you’ve got to have a backroom deal, that’s the kind to have.

Folks, you won't find a Republican today who would dare criticize Ronald Reagan. Last week, when the candidates for chairman of the Republican National Committee had their debate, Grover Norquist asked each of them to name their favorite Republican other than Ronald Reagan. He said he had to add that caveat so everyone didn't give the same answer. But we'd all be better off if some of these Republicans remembered that Ronald Reagan worked across the aisle to solve big problems. And we'd all be better off if Grover Norquist thought of THAT Ronald Reagan before he announced that "bipartisanship is just another word for date rape."

That's the difference today. Ideology isn't new to the American political arena and ideology isn't unhealthy. The biggest breakthroughs in American politics have been brokered not by a mushy middle or by splitting the difference but by people who had a pretty healthy sense of ideology. Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch were a powerful team precisely because they didn't agree on that much and they spent a lot of time fighting each other --and so the Senate leaned in and listened on those occasions when somehow this ultimate odd couple found things they were willing to fight for together.

Sometimes, as John Kennedy once said, “party asks too much.” Sometimes, party leaders also ask too much, especially if they exploit the rules of the United States Senate for the sole purpose of denying a President a second term. But that is what we have witnessed the last two years; Republicans nearly unanimous in opposition to almost every proposal by the President and almost every proposal by Democratic colleagues. The extraordinary measure of a filibuster has become an ordinary expedient. Today it’s possible for 41 Senators representing only about one tenth of the American population to bring the Senate to a standstill.

Certainly, I believe the filibuster has its rightful place. I used it to stop drilling for oil in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge because I believed that was in our national interest --and 60 or more Senators should be required to speak up on such an irrevocable decision. But we have reached the point where the filibuster is being invoked by the minority not necessarily because of a difference over policy, but as a political tool to undermine the Presidency.

Consider this: in the entire 19th century, including the struggle against slavery, fewer than two dozen filibusters were mounted. Between 1933 and the coming of World War II, it was attempted only twice. During the Eisenhower administration, twice. During John Kennedy’s presidency, four times-- and then eight during Lyndon Johnson’s push for civil rights and voting rights bills. By the time Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan occupied the White House, there were about 20 filibusters a year.

But in the 110th Congress of 2007-2008, there were a record 112 cloture votes. And in the 111th Congress, there were 136, one of which even delayed a vote to authorize funding for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps during a time of war. That’s not how the Founders intended the Senate to work-- and that's not how our country can afford the Senate not to work.

Chris Dodd said it best in his farewell address just a few weeks ago – a speech the Republican Leader called one of the most important in the history of the chamber. Chris sounded a warning: “What will determine whether this institution works or not, what has always determined whether we will fulfill the Framers’ highest hopes or justify the cynics’ worst fears, is not the Senate rules, the calendar, or the media. It is whether each of the one hundred Senators can work together.”

That was a speech that needed to be heard. But the question now isn’t whether it was heard; it’s whether we really listened to it. Because when it comes to the economy, our country really does need 100 Senators who face the facts and find a way to work not just on their side, but side by side.

No one runs for the Senate arguing that the United States should have one fifth of its foreign debt held by China. No winning candidate has ever suggested that the United States should trail Poland in education. Or that Germany should invent the next Google or develop the cutting edge new clean energy industries. No one has ever gone into a debate pledging that Indian workers should hold the jobs of the future not American workers.

There’s a bi-partisan consensus just waiting to lift our country and our future if Senators are willing to sit down and forge it and make it real. If we're willing to stop talking past each other, to stop substituting soundbites for substance. If we're willing finally to pull ourselves out of an ideological cement of our own mixing.

We will no doubt continue to be frustrated and angry from time to time, but I believe that more often than not, we can rise to the common ground of great national purpose. Surely we can agree and act to realize the goal set by the President who called his fellow citizens to meet that earlier Sputnik moment -- an America " that is not first if, not first but, but first period."

So, in this time of crisis and mourning, in this time of challenge and opportunity, we need to commit to reaching across the aisle, as colleagues did before us, to unite to do the exceptional things that will keep America exceptional for generations to come.

By Ezra Klein  | January 11, 2011; 11:09 AM ET
 
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Comments

5 minutes? WTF? If you can read that in 5 minutes you must be the fastest speed reader in the world!

Posted by: rjewett | January 11, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

thank you for sharing this speech with us.
have always had an appreciation for john kerry, and was glad to read this.

Posted by: jkaren | January 11, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

We have such a wrong mentality in this country that the moment name John Kerry is uttered, Right comes with such a disdain as if they have seen horse sh*t on their dinner plate whereas on Left we have Gail Collins plainly refusing her disappointment to let go even after 6 years and calling Kerry as the worst Presidential candidate. So is the fate of one reasonably successful Senator of this country - because our political discourse is completely whacked and we go by knee jerk reactions.

Posted by: umesh409 | January 11, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: michaljn007 | January 11, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

A truly inspiring speech,and one ,as the journalist stated,should have been made by our so called leader.However I do not hold out much hope that the party of "NO" will listen to nor agree to.They are too far gone.Thanks to Senator Kerry,and others like him.

Posted by: nannieturner | January 11, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

" So is the fate of one reasonably successful Senator of this country"

yes, i agree with what umesh409, has written.
the campaign that was mounted against john kerry was so lamentable, and i think he would have been an effective and wonderful president.
he deserves more appreciation and recognition for his service in congress, than he receives, in my opinion.
congresspeople who work, conscientiously, and with intellectual ability and fairness and talent, we dont hear enough about, and then the squeaky, broken wheels get the attention.

Posted by: jkaren | January 11, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

"Frankly, it's the speech President Obama should be giving. "

Watching this on CSPAN2, my thought midway through was what an inspiring President Senator Kerry would have made. My second thought was that I hope President Obama would listen to him.

Rebuilding the infrastructure and becoming leaders rather than behind on green energy are what we need to do - and it should be bipartisan.

Posted by: kpc1 | January 11, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

"when it comes to the economy, our country really does need 100 Senators who face the facts and find a way to work not just on their side, but side by side."

Now, let's see if John Kerry and his fellow obstructionists in the Senate's "Gang of No" respond to the call of the people and their elected representatives in the House. Let's see if the PPACA is fully repealed -- if not, let's see if there's at least enough compromise to repeal the 1099 provisions, the individual mandate declared unconstitutional last year by a majority (but not the necessary super-majority) of Senators, the IPAB, and the other dubious provisions of the Act.

The words are inspiring: everyone can agree that Kerry and his fellow Senate obstructionists need to listen to the will of the people. But will Kerry and his fellows be men of action or will they simply utter the very soundbites Kerry himself decries? Will Kerry and his fellows follow the lead of the House and take steps to reduce the size of the federal government? Will Kerry and his fellows truly listen to voting taxpayers and reduce the federal debt? Or will Kerry and his fellows simply be mouthpieces for lobbyists such as Podesta and his self-ordained Center for American Progress?

Posted by: rmgregory | January 11, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

It is only time for compromise and 'working together' when Republicans are in charge, and rich people are taking more of this country's resources.

Anything else needs to be turned into a circus.

That's the rules, Ezra. It's difficult for 1% to control the politicians in a democracy, so you need special rules.

Posted by: rat-raceparent | January 11, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

"Neither did the Founding Fathers." How know that, Ezra? They lived more than a hundred years ago.

Posted by: kbarker302 | January 11, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

It's in reading remarks such as these that make me proud to say I voted for that man. To this day, I think he would have made an excellent President.

Posted by: shantyhag | January 11, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Amen, Sen. Kerry. I wish I was calling you President Kerry and it was your 2nd term right now.

Posted by: jillcohen | January 11, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

It's a shame this isn't getting more press - it's a great speech.

Posted by: FormerSwingVoter | January 11, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

That's a great speech. I'm glad I voted for the guy, too. Thanks for sharing it, Ezra.

Posted by: crosspalms | January 11, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

If I remember correctly, Kerry was caught calling republican bastards when speaking with a bunch of union guys in 2004.

Kerry has been a longtime user of political rhetoric and insulting his opponent. It is shameful that liberals are scrubbing their memories.

In the last 2 months, the democrat talking points have consisted of words like "hijacking" "hostages" and "killing". The rhetoric is you.

Posted by: Cornell1984 | January 11, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

It seems rmgregory read a totally different speech than I did, and possibly lives in a very different reality from me (though we both seem to agree that the speech had inspiring words).

remgregory, why do you keep referring to "John Kerry and his fellow obstructionists" and who is the "Gang of No" you're referring to? Was a there a blocked vote I missed? What has he obstructed (besides as he himself stated, his filibuster of drilling in the Arctic)? Even if the "will of the people" can be described as different since the 2010 elections, keep in mind that the 111th Congress reflected the will of the people in 2008, which was pro-health care reform and pro-Democratic. In that respect, the 111th Congress fulfilled what was its electoral mandate. I don't disagree that the 2010 elections sent a different message from the previous election, but let's not presume that the "will of the people" is static and that no one ever ever ever wanted health care reform. They did, or at least thought they did, at one time. Now they don't, or some would say they don't, for the time being.

And, when exactly was the "individual mandate declared unconstitutional last year by a majority"? Who is the majority you're referring to? A governmental body? Voters? Health care reform passed two Houses of Congress and was signed into law by the President. Only one federal judge of nearly two dozen lawsuits filed ruled that the individual manadate was unconsitutional. That ruling is on appeal. The law remains on the books.

On a completely different note, I think it's such an interesting phenomenon that candidates Al Gore and John Kerry seemed to find their voice only after their losing campaigns. Whenever Gore or Kerry gives a speech these days, I catch myself thinking, "Now why couldn't they be so clear and compelling as candidates?" We'll never know, but I'm glad they continue to do good work.

Posted by: pbasso_khan | January 11, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Ezra misrepresented the length of this speech, so I will summarize what John Kerry said so that others do not have to waste their time reading it:

"Because of the events in Arizona the country is sad. I am sad also but I still felt that it was important today to read off some of the standard, decades old liberal talking points.

Some say that the government is too big, but we have to be big. In fact we need to be as big as Al Gore to invent things like the internet. We certainly don't want other countries like China inventing the Google.

The Republicans have abused the filibuster, but I showed them how it can be properly used by filibustering drilling for oil in the arctic. And by the way, we need to all work together to make America more energy independent.

We need more old school bipartisanship in the Senate; like when the Republican Jack Heinz let me have his wife after he died.

So just like in the 60's when the Russians launched Sputnik and it caused us to spend a lot of money putting a man on the moon, today, because a Congresswoman got shot in Arizona, we need to earmark a lot of money for windmills and bridges to nowhere.

The End."

Posted by: cummije5 | January 11, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

What's wrong with conservatism is right in this thread. The ones in this thread are not arguing about--or even engaging--the ideas in the speech. They are rehashing old grievances and name calling. The truth is conservatives bring nothing to the game, except having a government that collects few taxes, and protects the assets of the elite. They want the US to be like Latin America of the early 20th century, where a tiny elite sit on their wealth, and everybody else struggles to survive, rather than seeing everybody grow and thrive.

Posted by: ciocia1 | January 11, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Cornell1984, I don't believe any politician --- of either political party --- is innocent of calling their opponents bad names. If innocence were the requirement, there'd be no politician qualified to make this speech. I think his point was not a simplistic "return to civility." His point is that politicians need to think bigger than their day-to-day disagreements --- that there WILL be disagreements and time for raised tempers (and possible name calling), but that there needs to be some work in service of common goals.

I don't see where in the speech Kerry was singling out either party for their name calling or "scrubbing" anyone's memeory. You'll note that in the speech he lauded the ability of tough-talking Republicans from times past (Reagan, Dole, Danforth) to work across the aisle. There's plenty of blame to go around for the present state of affairs: Surely, rhetoric about "hostages" and "hijacking" is no more inflammatory than "pull the plug on grandma" and "death panels."

Posted by: pbasso_khan | January 11, 2011 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm happy to have voted for him, and I think he would have been a fine president, but he was a pretty boring candidate. He got totally scr*wed by the Swift Boaters and their ilk, but he could have helped by being a bit less stiff.

Cornell1984, I think it's safe to say that both sides have been less than fully cordial in their rhetoric, but I do think that in the last couple years the Right has been the worse offender than the Left. I would like to know where you got the "killing" reference, though. I recognize the "hostage" and "hijacking" references, but I can't place the "killing" one.

kbarker302, you are an idiot.

rmgreggory, when was the individual mandate declared unconstitutional by a majority of senators last year?

Posted by: MosBen | January 11, 2011 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Hi MosBen: Ditto on all counts. I had the same question for rmgreggory (see above).

Posted by: pbasso_khan | January 11, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I think it is very possible that the progressives are thinking of how to work together with the other guy and make the country better, while the conservatives think the other side is the enemy and needs to be destroyed. what will happen after watching the speech is that the progressive will listen and think we are on the same boat and should all work together but conservatives will think it is just more government takeover. the result is that progressive will compromise more and conservative will win more.

Posted by: amicus_mass | January 11, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

This man should have been president, and I apologize to all of you for the fact that chicanery in my state deprived him of it. It's clear Ohio intended its votes to go to Sen. Kerry, but we'll never know how many weren't able to get to the voting booth because of long lines that we never saw before and haven't seen since, manufactured by off-balance allocations of voting machines. Sorry about that. I tried (I did election protection for the Kerry campaign that bitter day).

Posted by: anastasjoy | January 11, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

It's a great speech (I voted for Bush and not for Kerry) so my question is: democrats have had a majority since 2004 in the Senate and had the House until recently. Why wasn't renewal of our infrastructure part of the democratic platform? Why haven't we made it easy for alternative energy? Why has manufacturing fled the US for a globalized workforce?

The issue is that everyone, Republican and Democrat alike, have enjoyed earmarks and self-interest. Polls still say that 60 percent of Americans dislike the new health care law...for different reasons but still a majority dislike it. Yet, Congress had a tin ear and continued to think they knew best...this is what the public is dissatisfied with and why Congress has a 19 percent approval rating.

Tell me where any administration (including Clinton's) discussed "renewing" the US...it was all about globalizing and moving to a service economy. Well, we have globalized and have a service economy...now we think that it was a mistake, along with having everyone a home owner (whether they could afford it or not).

As citizens we need to stop voting for the quick fix and think long term. Parties need to offer candidates that actually can perform public service (not self-gratification) and this Administration needs to realize that the American people need leadership, not professorial lectureship in the office of the President.

Good luck to all of us on achieving a renewed American Renaissance. We'll need people with vision, leadership and the ability to talk with and to each other....haven't seen any of that yet.

Posted by: mil1 | January 11, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

And to think we could have had this man as our president, and didn't do enough to make it happen..... and got someone unspeakable

Posted by: pwpw63 | January 11, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I am happy to have voted for him and I think he would have been a fine President. Tell me where any administration (including Clinton's) discussed "renewing" the US...it was all about globalizing and moving to a service economy. Well, we have globalized and have a service economy...now we think that it was a mistake, along with having everyone a home owner .

By ALVARO SEQUERA DUARTE
Coordinator Postgrade Adm Aeronautical

Posted by: alvaro_sequera | January 11, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I am happy to have voted for him and I think he would have been a fine President. Tell me where any administration (including Clinton's) discussed "renewing" the US...it was all about globalizing and moving to a service economy. Well, we have globalized and have a service economy...now we think that it was a mistake, along with having everyone a home owner .

By ALVARO SEQUERA DUARTE
Coordinator Postgrade Adm Aeronautical

Posted by: alvaro_sequera | January 11, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

To cummije5 who mutters that Kerry's speech cannot be read in 5 minutes: Don't move your lips while reading.

Posted by: jgisler | January 11, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

i have often wondered where the articulate John Kerry was during his presidential campaign, the one who can speak to the issues so well was not there when we needed him.

Posted by: kategcom | January 11, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

"In 2009 China spent an estimated $350 billion on infrastructure-- 9 percent of its GDP. Europe’s infrastructure bank financed $350 billion in projects across the continent from 2005 to 2009, modernizing seaports, expanding airports and high-speed rail lines, and reconfiguring city centers. Brazil invested over $240 billion in infrastructure in the past three years alone, with an additional $340 billion planned over the next three years."

Please post the same figures for China, Brazil, and the United States when it comes to health care spending by government.

Posted by: krazen1211 | January 11, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

"It's a great speech (I voted for Bush and not for Kerry) so my question is: democrats have had a majority since 2004 in the Senate and had the House until recently. Why wasn't renewal of our infrastructure part of the democratic platform? Why haven't we made it easy for alternative energy? Why has manufacturing fled the US for a globalized workforce?"

Democratic totem pole:


1. Handouts for the poor
2. Increasing the size of government employee unions
3. Healthcare for the poor
4. Handouts to minorities
5. Handouts towards 'green' tech industries
.
.
.
.
.
.
47. Infrastructure.

Posted by: krazen1211 | January 11, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

And who the heck would call John Kerry a successful Senator? He's always been a backbenching lapdog, while Teddy Kennedy got to write all the big legislation.

Heck, even John Edwards cosponsored some critical legislation such as the Authorization to Use Force In Iraq in 2002.

Posted by: krazen1211 | January 11, 2011 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Another note from Massachusetts- Scott Brown trumps John Kerry as the state's most popular Senator. Brown narrowly edges Kerry on the straight up approval number- 53% vs. 50%- and blows him out on the approval spread front. Brown's is +24 (53/29) while Kerry's is +7 (50/43).


Hahahahahahahah!

Posted by: krazen1211 | January 11, 2011 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Note to Senator Kerry: WE LIVE IN A REPUBLIC, NOT A DEMOCRACY.

Posted by: keziahisaacs | January 11, 2011 4:19 PM | Report abuse

This was an excellent speech. If true, and I hope it is, it represents a huge attitude change on the Senator's part. For decades, he has been one of the top 3 most liberal and partisan Senators in the country; voting the Democratic Party line in the 90th percentile every year. He touts job creation but when he was the chairman of the Small Business Committee of the senate, he voted-for decades- AGAINST small business over 80% of the time. I'll wait and see this time!

Posted by: cbanalyst | January 11, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

mil1 said: It's a great speech (I voted for Bush and not for Kerry) so my question is: democrats have had a majority since 2004 in the Senate ...

Actually, it looks like this:
108th Congress (2003-2005)

Majority Party: Republican (51 seats)
Minority Party: Democrat (48 seats)
Other Parties: Independent (1 seat)
Total Seats: 100

-------------------------------------------

109th Congress (2005-2007)

Majority Party: Republican (55 seats)
Minority Party: Democrat (44 seats)
Other Parties: Independent (1 seat)
Total Seats: 100

Posted by: noisycrow | January 11, 2011 4:37 PM | Report abuse

This is a great speech and identifies the problems and the opportunities that we face in the world. Alas, the world looks at us as a primitive bunch of savages with no concept of how to decently conduct ourselves as a modern society. And the key word is "decency". Decency means listenening and understanding and compromise. Instead we have the right-wing radio nut jobs and irresponsible members of the Party of "No" in Congress fanning the flames of hatred, undermining the rule of law and dismissing anyone who has a modicum of intelligence to dare disagree with their perverted view of humankind.

In a sense these folks think it's more important to read the US Constitution than it is to work to invest in jobs, health care, infrastructure and the like. Ask them what they propose and and they have no plan just destroy what is there.

It's time the sensible majority of people denounce and silence the nut jobs. Free speech is wonderful but comes with responsibility.

We need to get this country moving and I hope that President Obama takes this opportunity to parent this country and remind people what their responsibilities are toward each other. It's time we quit playing "Grand Theft Auto", "Call of Duty, "World of Warcraft" or "Doom". If we don't ...

Arab proverb: "May you get what you ask for and pay for what you get."

Posted by: jeanletaurneau | January 11, 2011 4:37 PM | Report abuse

"We need to get this country moving and I hope that President Obama takes this opportunity to parent this country and remind people what their responsibilities are toward each other. It's time we quit playing "Grand Theft Auto", "Call of Duty, "World of Warcraft" or "Doom". If we don't ...

"

Incidentally most of the 18-30 year old crowd which spends most of its time doing these things voted for Obama. Not surprising, really.

Posted by: krazen1211 | January 11, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

John Kerry just demonstrated that he is a leader, a public servant and would have been a excellent president. The Party of NO made their position known when Obama was elected President. It was their response to "how dare the voters put a black man in the white house". I think what is so difficult to understand, is that one can believe and understand the need to stand together on issues, but I cannot understand how a group of elected officials,in a fragile democracy, would take actions to make a president fail for political reasons and have no conscience about the people who are suffering the consequences of such irresponsible behavior.
There is nothing the republicans have done in the last two years that qalifies for honorable or loyal to the country. HCR was their idea, supported by business big and small, to make american products competitive with country's that have "government run" health care systems. Bush passed tax cuts to "use up" the clinton surplus, but then did nothing to restore economic sense when he took this country to WAR and then expanded that war into Iraq. Republican privatization of government services have proved wasteful and dangerous. We are supporting the building of a mercenary armies that "if paid" the right price would think nothing of inflicting terrorism on the US. Reminds me of Specter in the James Bond movies.

Our nation is on a dangerous path. Corporate interests have become paramount to the common good. It is really time for US to take a good look at ourselves. American workers are not the enemy, unions are not the enemy, CORPORATE self interest is out of control because our government failed to stem the tide of business wrong doing in and on our economy. Kerry is right, we cannot continue in this direction of short term thinking and expect to surpass China, India and others in research and development. In addition, we're not only letting ourselves down, we are hurting freedom seeking people's worldwide.

Posted by: CarmanK | January 11, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

John Kerry just demonstrated that he is a leader, a public servant and would have been a excellent president. The Party of NO made their position known when Obama was elected President. It was their response to "how dare the voters put a black man in the white house". I think what is so difficult to understand, is that one can believe and understand the need to stand together on issues, but I cannot understand how a group of elected officials,in a fragile democracy, would take actions to make a president fail for political reasons and have no conscience about the people who are suffering the consequences of such irresponsible behavior.
There is nothing the republicans have done in the last two years that qalifies for honorable or loyal to the country. HCR was their idea, supported by business big and small, to make american products competitive with country's that have "government run" health care systems. Bush passed tax cuts to "use up" the clinton surplus, but then did nothing to restore economic sense when he took this country to WAR and then expanded that war into Iraq. Republican privatization of government services have proved wasteful and dangerous. We are supporting the building of a mercenary armies that "if paid" the right price would think nothing of inflicting terrorism on the US. Reminds me of Specter in the James Bond movies.

Our nation is on a dangerous path. Corporate interests have become paramount to the common good. It is really time for US to take a good look at ourselves. American workers are not the enemy, unions are not the enemy, CORPORATE self interest is out of control because our government failed to stem the tide of business wrong doing in and on our economy. Kerry is right, we cannot continue in this direction of short term thinking and expect to surpass China, India and others in research and development. In addition, we're not only letting ourselves down, we are hurting freedom seeking people's worldwide.

Posted by: CarmanK | January 11, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

John Kerry is a loyal, brave american who chooses to serve in the US Senate honorably. He would have made an excellent president. He loves his country and he likes people.

Posted by: CarmanK | January 11, 2011 4:49 PM | Report abuse

SUCH BREVITY IS COMMENDABLE!

OBAMA'S CAMPAIGN PROMISES : STIMULUS MONEY FOR SHOVEL READY JOBS, INVESTING IN OUR INFRASTRUCTURE AND PUTTING AMERICANS TO WORK..........CHANGE WE COULD BELIEVE IN(?)

SO J.K., THE DEMS HAVE HAD COMPLETE CONTROL OF THE EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE BRANCHES OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FOR TWO YEARS. YOU DIDN'T EVEN HAVE TO CRACK A "BI-PARTISAN SMILE" AT A SINGLE REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE TO GET YOUR AGENDA PASSED.

SO HOWS THE JOB MARKET? HOW FAR HAVE WE COME AT IMPROVING THE COUNTRY'S INFRASTRUCTURE?

WITH HIGHER UNEMPLOYMENT, A SPIRALING DEBT,
AND THE NATION ON "LIFE SUPPORT", JUST WHAT EXACTLY HAS YOUR PARTY DONE OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS TO KEEP THE PROMISES OF 2008, MUCH LESS, "STABILIZE THE PATIENT"?

LIES, DECEPTION, POOR LEADERSHIP? WHAT HAPPENED?

Posted by: EXECUTIVE2 | January 11, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Because I also was courisous what US spent as a percentage of GDP I found this by the Progressive Progress Institute....

"America spends only about 2 percent of GDP per year on infrastructure investment (this includes federal, state, local, and private-sector spending). By contrast, that number is about 5 percent in Europe and between 9 percent and 12 percent in China. In developed economies, the average is about 3 percent of GDP, and for developing economies it is around 6 percent. While the United States is trying to make a dent in its massive repair bill, other countries are lapping us in new investment -- further shrinking the competitiveness gap between America and the rest of the world. "

And...

"In order to understand the problem, we need to understand how the United States currently pays for what we have. In 2004, $400 billion was spent on infrastructure, of which the federal government provided $60 billion, or 15 percent of the total. State and local governments funded 42 percent, and the private sector covered the remainder.

What is important to know here is that these three different funding sources tend to spend their money on very different things. For example, federal spending is dominated by transportation -- nearly 50 percent of Uncle Sam's infrastructure spending goes toward highways. State and local government spending is dominated by highways, schools, and water, which together account for nearly 80 percent of the state-and-local sector's $175 billion public-works bill. Private-sector infrastructure spending is dominated by energy and telecommunications; these two spending categories alone account for nearly 80 percent of private infrastructure spending.

Despite this de facto specialization, there is no clear mandate on how to set goals and allocate spending on infrastructure. Federal funding is subject to annual budgeting and therefore highly susceptible to congressional pork. Annual budgeting also means it can be difficult to design and fund projects that require a longer time horizon or serve a greater national interest.

State and local projects that depend on local taxes for support -- like schools -- can be severely affected by adverse local economic conditions that make it difficult to raise funds. Even the private sector, despite the benefit of market efficiency, can be slow to explore new opportunities, such as renewable energy resources, when the current ones are still making considerable profits."

And finally---since this is PPI (i.e. a progressive think tank) a pitch for an American investment bank...see my next post.

Posted by: mil1 | January 11, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

This was a good speech, well worth all of our attention. This refers to our businesses, individuals, and legislators. The ideas put forth could well be a significant and beneficial change in attitude and direction for our economy and the country.

Posted by: sober1 | January 11, 2011 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Frankly most commentary by Mr. Kerry is so overflowing with hubris I can hardly stand to listen to him.

But so far (halfway through the speech) I find this speech thoughtful and inspiring.

I'd find him completely believable if he could only avoid mischaractizing what conservatives honestly believe to be the best economic and health-related policies for our country... if he could only have avoided the same political pandering that he's decrying I would be fully convinced.

Nevertheless, I think his points are right on, and all sides of political discourse need to stop the hyperbole and character assassination and accusations, and focus on making an intelligent case for their positions.

It has not served conservatives well to learn the "lesson" of using the extreme rhetoric employed by the rabid extreme left during the Bush presidency.

That brought the whole country down, weakening our image of ourselves. And lowering our esteem in the world... because if a country will slander its own leaders why should others respect it?

Until Americal political discourse becomes thoughtful and honest again, with a minimal serving of rhetoric, we cannot be a strong republic.

Posted by: daveg70 | January 11, 2011 5:15 PM | Report abuse

From the Wall Street Journal on an Infrastructure Bank:

"A national infrastructure bank could begin to reverse federal policies that treat infrastructure as a way to give states and localities resources for projects that meet local political objectives rather than national economic ones. The bank would evaluate prospective infrastructure projects on consistent terms. It would be able to negotiate with state or local sponsors of a project what their cost shares should be. The bank also could help groups of states come together for regional projects such as high-speed rail and better freight management. Such consolidation would improve project selection.

The bank also could ensure that states and localities consider all other options—from wetlands preservation to implementing tolls—before structural options are funded. It would create an avenue for private investors to put risk capital into new projects and bless their involvement with the bank’s own participation. In short, it would treat infrastructure like a long-term investment, not an expense."

And from Atlantic (believe it or not) the major objections:

"So a national infrastructure bank could potentially act as a way for taxpayers to get more for their money and make projects more efficient. Sounds great, right? But, of course, there are some obstacles.

The first, and most obvious, is that smaller and less populous states would almost certainly fight it. If a project isn't likely to benefit as many people, then it will be very hard to get the federal government to pick up the tab. But at some point you have to ask: if we agree to allow the federal government to spend money on projects, shouldn't it do so from a national perspective that seeks to do what's best for the country on a whole?

Second, while it seems plausible that the national infrastructure bankers would be less susceptible to political influence than Congress, it's doubtful they would remain completely untainted. Presumably, you would need to have its management appointed by each incoming administration. As a result, whatever party is in power might have the ear of those bankers, and continue to influence spending."

Dodd, Hagel and Obama all thought this was a great idea...but has the President actually considered action to do anything about this?

Problem is that the Dodd,Hagel Obama supported idea isn't really a bank but rather a govt hand out...this will not help. see next post.

Posted by: mil1 | January 11, 2011 5:24 PM | Report abuse

We'll never know what our country could have been under a President John Kerry - we do know what we had after 8 years of President George W. Bush - sad.

Posted by: hmqub | January 11, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

From the blog Transportpolitic:

"In his fiscal year 2011 budget, President Obama suggested appropriating $4 billion to establish the new infrastructure bank, with the assumption that the new agency would distribute grants to qualified projects and have its coffers refilled every year or so depending on need. Of course, what’s envisioned there is no bank at all, since it wouldn’t be generating revenue in return for its investments: it would be draining Washington’s coffers even more, with no clear explanation for why it is necessary. What’s the point of establishing another federal agency to dole out grants for infrastructure, when the Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Energy already do that all the time?

This non-bank idea, in other words, is a non-starter.

But what about an infrastructure bank that distributed loans at low interest rates and then expected to get its money back over time? What Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro has been proposing for years is something modeled on the European Investment Bank (EIB). The EIB was founded in 1958 and provides low-interest loans at up to 50% of cost to qualified projects in a variety of sectors in Europe and North Africa. Recent projects funded by the EIB’s transport division include an extension of the Bilbao Metro in Spain, a tramway network in Lodz, Poland, and the high-speed rail line between Istanbul and Ankara in Turkey.

Despite its vast size and lending obligations — it is larger than the World Bank — the EIB is independent, does not rely on infusions of funds from any European governments, and has a stellar credit rating.

The principal of encouraging states and local governments to take out low-interest loans was championed by the stimulus act of early 2009, which included a provision for Build America Bonds. Governments have now issued $78 billion in these bonds, now representing 20% of the municipal debt market, mostly because the BAB program is such a good deal for public authorities that want to take out debt for new construction projects. Unlike the proposed infrastructure bank, however, the BAB program does not distribute funds based on merit, nor does it rely on a government bank — the federal government artificially produces low interest rates by subsidizing private loans."

And finally:

"But the EIB and BAB models, as interesting as they are, do not actually increase the amount of money being spent on transportation in the long-term — they simply transfer more of the current spending load into debt." And on to the next generation which is what we want to get away from.

However, there are other versions of this kind of bank and ones which conservatives, small-government activists and progressives can all get behind....but they would need to start talking TO not AT each other.

Posted by: mil1 | January 11, 2011 5:40 PM | Report abuse

What happened to the wars, or the cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq do not matter? First stop the wars, end the killings and save the last budget of $160 billion voted late last year. Then let us talk how to invest these and the $1.2 trillion spent on these war so far in the economy to catch with the Chinese. We should expect to spend another $4 trillion to take care of the veterans. John Kerry voted for both wars. If we are going to compete with China we need peace making leaders, that can say "no" to wars and the Pentagon.

Posted by: Orzot777 | January 11, 2011 5:49 PM | Report abuse

I strongly believe that fast rail is the answer to jobs and to helping family who cannot live on their salary an live within a city.

Someone in Seattle for example can live outside the city for 1/2 of what they pay in the city. This would allow rural ares to grow with housing sales and allow people to work in a city where there is more work,better paying jobs but travel home 300 miles away to affordable living. Other country are pouring there money into this kind of transportation and we should. Seattle is a mess for transit and parking is non existent and the parking fines, towing people cars and if they don't have extra money the lose there car in 14 days.

People being city just make for more crime. Plus those living in the city don't'get ahead.

However until our government has term limits where we actual have leaders going to work for 4-8 years and not spending all there time thinking re election..I don't see much change.

Posted by: Aword | January 11, 2011 5:51 PM | Report abuse

I strongly believe that fast rail transit is the answer to jobs and to helping family who cannot live on their salary an live within a city.

Someone in Seattle for example can live outside the city for 1/2 of what they pay to in the city.

This would allow rural areas to grow with housing sales and allow people to work in the city where there is more work and better paying jobs but travel home 300 miles away to affordable living in a 1/2 hour.
Other country are pouring their money into this kind of transportation and we should.
Seattle is a crowded mess for transit and parking is non existent and the parking fines, car towing cost and for those who don't have the fines to pay they will lose their car if not paid in 14 days. This has been a real problem in Wa.
People being pushed into living in cities for work, do endure more crime. Plus those living in the city on normal job live hand mouth. at least with the fast rail they can go home to affordable areas and own instead of paying 1800 for apt to rent.

Very import talk shocking how as USA we prefer to fight rag heads on camels instead of putting our money into our country future.

However until our government has term limits where we actual have leaders going to work for 4-8 years and not spending all there time thinking re election..I don't see much change.

Posted by: Aword | January 11, 2011 5:59 PM | Report abuse

I strongly believe that fast rail transit is the answer to jobs and to helping family who cannot live on their salary an live within a city.

Someone in Seattle for example can live outside the city for 1/2 of what they pay to in the city.

This would allow rural areas to grow with housing sales and allow people to work in the city where there is more work and better paying jobs but travel home 300 miles away to affordable living in a 1/2 hour.
Other country are pouring their money into this kind of transportation and we should.
Seattle is a crowded mess for transit and parking is non existent and the parking fines, car towing cost and for those who don't have the fines to pay they will lose their car if not paid in 14 days. This has been a real problem in Wa.
People being pushed into living in cities for work, do endure more crime. Plus those living in the city on normal job live hand mouth. at least with the fast rail they can go home to affordable areas and own instead of paying 1800 for apt to rent.

Very important talk shocking how as USA we prefer to fight rag heads on camels instead of putting our money into our country future.

However until our government has term limits where we actual have leaders going to work for 4-8 years and not spending all there time thinking re election..I don't see much change.

Posted by: Aword | January 11, 2011 5:59 PM | Report abuse

It would be great to "end the wars" but the fact is that "we" (past administrations and not just Bush's but mostly) have made it impossible to leave the area as it will create a power vacuum in one area---the mid-east, which would be filled by Iran and allow Afghanistan (and Pakistan) to ...be even worst off then they are now (and yes, that is possible).

We can't back out or away from a globalized economy and hope that by being isolationist and focused on our economy all will go well...it will not.

And sometimes (this is some future time) you can't say no to wars as they are thrust upon you.

Yes, let's walk back from spending $1.2 trillion on war but not shirk from our responsibilities on what these wars produced. Also, guess what, as a volunteer and a disabled vet, I don't think you "owe" me anything. (I don't even use disabled vet plates on my car because I don't view my disability as needing a recognized "space").

So let's spend $4 trillion on either infrastructure or education---if you pick education then I would insist that we reform how we fund education just like you would like to reform how we fund defense. Our education dollar is currently ranks us, according to USA TODAY "....Out of 34 countries, the U.S. ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math."

Posted by: mil1 | January 11, 2011 6:06 PM | Report abuse

rmgregory,

very clever of you to do best what you and yours does - obfuscate the issues and project the behaviour on to someone else. I doubt the GOP - the party of NO and obstructionist extraordinaire - will even attempt to work across the aisle to work with a Congress and a President who was democratically voted into office. YOU only spoke for a small minority of people. Libertarians=Anarchy=Chaos=Violence is NOT the government of choice of the majority. I would make a sizeable bet on that.

Posted by: skolniks | January 11, 2011 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Here's the nub of it:

"Right now, other developed and developing countries are making far-reaching choices to reshape their economies and move forward in a new and very different global era. But instead of us responding as Americans have in the past, the frustrating reality is that our American political system is increasingly paralyzed and Balkanized into a patchwork of narrow interests that have driven the larger “national good” far from the national dialogue altogether. Increasingly, overheated ideology and partisan infighting leave us less able to address or even comprehend the decisive nature and scale of the challenges that will decide our whole future."

The other guys are putting their money on R & D and looking ahead while we fight tooth and nail here in the US to hang onto the past.

Well, if those other nations fulfill their promise with what they've started, we'll get to hang on to the past alright because we, as a great nation, will be history.

Posted by: MT_Guy | January 11, 2011 6:13 PM | Report abuse

John Kerry didn't address the effects of corporate campaign donations to senators and how much they influence not only the make-up of the Senate (and House), especially since Citizens United, but also on the way senators vote. When the emphasis is on getting elected and staying in power, there is an obvious need to do corporate bidding when they're footing the bill, and not to worry about bipartisanship or what is best for the country.

Posted by: jakaranter | January 11, 2011 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Senator Kerry for your great and unselfish speech. you are one of our great senators and you sure would have been a far better president than whats his name for 8 years. Today the Republican party has lost their way. Im depending on you hold the line against the evil machinations of the like of Karl Rove and right wing broadcasting. Thank you !

Posted by: Jaimzee | January 11, 2011 6:32 PM | Report abuse

I agree whole heartedly with the economic priorities and sense of urgency as outlined in this speech, but I have one question --yours " How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" If our priorities were not to beef up the military-industrial complex and police the planet, we would be able to afford to concentrate on education for our children, healthcare, transportation, clean energy, housing and infrastructure. I don't have access to the real figures, but I am guessing we are at about 768 disclosed billion on the wars, probably far more in reality. That money could have been invested wisely in domestic and shared international projects of constructive, humane and not destructive nature.

Posted by: donatelife | January 11, 2011 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Oligarchy is, as Oligarchy does. .... "Send in the Clowns", (song) Judy Collins.

p. s. , "Well, ...... maybe, next year"....

Posted by: deepthroat21 | January 11, 2011 7:22 PM | Report abuse

After a few minutes and following the Washington Post's process to recall/update my password, i returned to the Washington Post website to post my comment.
Strange that I then was unable to locate this Ezra Klein story on John Kerry's speech in the January 11, 2011 edition.
I had to return to the e-mail from John Kerry that originally alerted me to the story and the speech.
I wonder if I'm just a bit unsophisticated in navigating the site, or if in fact the story did not run in today's paper/on-line.
My real concern though, I also supported John Kerry for president. But I can't imagine the attitude that calls Pres. Obama for failing to make this speech. He has spoken well and fared well in his advocacy for the same approach as Sen. Kerry. I applaud the Sen. for a wonderful speech of support for the current (outstanding) president and suggest we don't start echoeing the GOP in downgrading the current administration. This is a message of support, not further division. PLEASE GET ON BOARD.
Kinlink, Stoughton, MA

Posted by: kinlink | January 11, 2011 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately for this country, our politicians do not have the guts to call for new taxes to even pay our way in the world, never mind to pay for new investments such as John Kerry suggests. A politician's cry for more taxes would ring a death knell to his future tenure in office.
Many politicians see reduced taxation as a way to aid investment by allowing companies more cash to invest and employ more folks. The reality is that the opposite is true. Cash back in people's paychecks results in our buying more Chinese trash putting more Americans out of work and raising our national debt. If we had not given people tax relief we could have used this money far more wisely by pouring it into the infrastructure. It would be far more beneficial to us than feeding China's thirst.

Consider the level of taxation the average American pays compared to our European cousins. We pay a much lower percentage of our gross salaries to the government than do they. No wonder Europeans can invest in the future. We are only interested in investing in fattening our bodies and watching TV.

Nothing will change until Politicians, including our President, have the courage to raise taxes.

Posted by: kscott71 | January 11, 2011 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Mr. Kerry. History is an excellent educator--if only we would listen. That is why I have kept a small poster from the early '70s which states: "The Norwegian Academy of Science found that there have been since the 5th Century B.C. 1,656 major arms races. All but 16 of these ended in war. The other 16 ended in economic collapse." Not to be pessimistic but a recent quote I found by William James says: "The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind." It is up to us!

Posted by: allegri_wine_shop | January 11, 2011 7:34 PM | Report abuse

"....That money [money for the wars] could have been invested wisely in domestic and shared international projects of constructive, humane and not destructive nature."

to be invested wisely would mean we had legislative leadership that was wise and did invest...which wasn't even true before 9/11.

We have no one--not the legislative branch and not the executive--looking at long term infrastructure needs. The Stimulus was supposed to do something for infrastructure--in my town of 100,000 it bought a 10 mile stretch of bike trail--very nice bike trail with 10 foot wide concrete path and benches and water fountains but this did nothing for gas lines (which the gas company together with the city put in and will of course charge the users for)that needed to be updated; they were 50 years old. And it did nothing for the water drainage problems the city has (it doesn't rain here much so drainage is only a problem when it does (LOL) and only for those not smart enough to know where this flooding takes place, like newcomers to town.)

But bike paths--they are REALLY nice.

Posted by: mil1 | January 11, 2011 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Sen Kerry says that divisive, overly simplistic dialogue does violence to our system of democracy and I agree. When I'm in Germany I am always ready to discuss politics and expect to be asked to share my opinions on both sides of just about any issue. The ability to engage in civil, well informed discourse on all subjects political is an important social skill in Germany. It never seemed that important here before and these days seems to be completely lost.

Posted by: martyarthur57 | January 11, 2011 8:13 PM | Report abuse

I am exhausted by the continuous two-party competition in this country and the people who so easily jump in to snipe at each other. I feel like our system of government and "we the people" for whom it was supposedly designed have been reduced to a ridiculous sporting event where each side roots for their team and hates the other side. We desperately need more talk and civil debate about what constitutes the national good, the greater and common good. We need this talk without name-calling, blaming others, re-hashing old wounds, etc. This is all counter-productive. Neither party is perfect, nor is any politician or leader, but if we could all stop, and reflect, and listen, we might actully agree with something that someone on the "other side" said or proposed. We won't agree on every issue, but we are in serious trouble if we can't come together on at least some key issues and actions in a neutral and bipartisan way. Please don't discount an idea or message solely based on who, or which side is saying it. We need leaders who help us rise above immature bickering and finger-pointing by framing a message that we all can support and encourages high-fives across the aisle.

Posted by: optimistic11 | January 11, 2011 9:48 PM | Report abuse

This is a great speech by Kerry, and he should have been president, not Bush. But to follow that comment by saying it's a speech Obama should have given is a real slap in the face to a President who has made many great speeches. In fact, there are many whiners in the populace who say that making great speeches is the only thing Obama can do. If Democrats can't stop sniping at Obama, the Repugs (misspelling intended) will laugh all the way to the White House in 2012,

Posted by: CRinVegas | January 11, 2011 11:04 PM | Report abuse

What happened to the wars, or the cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq do not matter? First stop the wars, end the killings and save the last budget of $160 billion voted late last year. Then let us talk how to invest these and the $1.2 trillion spent on these war so far in the economy to catch with the Chinese. We should expect to spend another $4 trillion to take care of the veterans. John Kerry voted for both wars. If we are going to compete with China we need peace making leaders, that can say "no" to wars and the Pentagon.

Posted by: Orzot777 | January 11, 2011 11:12 PM | Report abuse

I am glad that Kerry emphasized how far behind we are in creating a national energy policy and funding new technology to meet that challenge. However, in future years what will be the one of the greatest drains on our economy and that of many other nations will be responding to the crises (and wars) caused by climate change, including water shortages. The fact that there are so many in congress and elsewhere who deny human contribution to climate change means that we will continue to rise to the challenge it poses. And so a great deal money will be spent by FEMA and state agencies dealing with floods, droughts, death of flora and fauna, spread of disease, etc. I am really appalled that our leader, possibly including Kerry, will not stand up and say: yes, the sky IS falling in! It's Gore I wish had won (well he did, but I mean being installed as president, so that now 8 years later we might be well on our way to leadership instead of being an obstacle to world cooperation in coping with/mitigating what is to come.

But it was a good speech. There are many good speeches and many good blogs, and many thoughtful and thought provoking letters to the editor. Yet here we are. Perhaps it's not that the USA's leadership may be a thing of the past, it's that government's leadership and example may be passe.

Posted by: tallulah97219 | January 11, 2011 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, optimistic11. We need a little less knee-jerk dismissiveness. I, for one, am not particularly a Kerry fan, but when he's right, he's right.

krazen1211, your comments are just mean-spirited. The "Democratic totem pole" you provided really doesn't solve anything. Would you like it if I made a "Republican totem pole" full of insults to the GOP? It might be funny to me too, but it wouldn't get us anywhere.

EXECUTIVE2: I'd argue that the reason the Obama "agenda" hasn't worked wonders is because he spent too much time "cracking bi-partisan" smiles across the aisle thus watering-down the potential effectiveness of his policies. I don't think it's "lies" and "deception," just lamer-than-necessary policymaking (and not great politics either).

Posted by: pbasso_khan | January 11, 2011 11:55 PM | Report abuse

mil1, just wanted to thank you for your comments today. I think we disagree on some of the politics and policy options, but share a lot of the same goals. Without more research, I couldn't say whether the infrastructure "bank" is a good idea per se. I just wanted to say that I appreciate your being civil and thoughtful in your position, even if we disagree. Unlike some ...

To your earlier points, "Why wasn't renewal of our infrastructure part of the democratic platform? Why haven't we made it easy for alternative energy? Why has manufacturing fled the US for a globalized workforce?" Ask any Democrat (and I'd venture most Republicans), and they'd be for infrastructure renewal, alternative energy, and promoting manufacturing. Politics and money always seem to get in the way of doing big things. Even the infrastructure bank as iterated by Obama -- a paltry $50 billion? Given the size of the need our country faces? Obama's first budget and the stimulus were steps in the right direction, just not enough given the size of the size of the problem.

I agree re: "As citizens we need to stop voting for the quick fix and think long term." I'd add that politicians need to think beyond their own re-election, but I'm not holding my breath.

This isn't supposed to be thread on health care reform, but since you mention it I think my only real quibble is when you say, "Polls still say that 60 percent of Americans dislike the new health care law...for different reasons but still a majority dislike it. Yet, Congress had a tin ear and continued to think they knew best..."

Three things here: (1) I've seen several different poll data and it *does* depend on what the poll question is; (2) Like health care reform or hate it, the last Congress fulfilled its mandate and that was to get health care reform passed. Despite it's many imperfections, they did what they were voted in to do so I'm not so sure its fair to say "Congress had a tin ear." ; and (3) Given how really uncontroversial health care reform is as a matter of policy (I'm not talking politics), I honestly think the problem was salesmanship. There's a reason Obama only talks about eliminating the ban on pre-existing conditions: It's the easiest part of the law to explain. The vast majority of the law is about regulating the insurance market and people's eyes glaze over is you try to explain it.

I guess in some ways I agree with you that the people need more than "professorial lectureship" from the President. He's got some messaging serious messaging issues. I think he genuinely wants what's best, but he has a hard time selling it.

Posted by: pbasso_khan | January 12, 2011 12:16 AM | Report abuse

He's right. From Kennedy's pronouncement it was less than a decade to launch and recovery of the very first moon landing mission.

We couldn't do that today. The Constellation project was slated to finish this mission 15 years after 4 years of work. In other words 20 years. So, Obama, like Nixon in the seventies, cancelled the moon landings. Nixon cancelled them because, although they were successful, he felt them too expensive (and they weren't his idea either ... ~smiles~)) he replaced it with the Space Shuttle which may be deemed a partial failure by future historians. Obama cancelled them because they were too expensive and he felt that private companies could do the job much faster and cheaper. SAY, ISN'T THAT REPUBLICAN demagoguery???

Kerry is right in most of what he says. Its time to get things done not to squabble over bipartisan issues and schmooze with lobbyists (as the tea party elected have been doing). Get things that are in the National interest done. This millennium's Panama canal, this generation's moon landing. Get 'er done.


Posted by: periculum | January 12, 2011 1:00 AM | Report abuse

Fair is fair ... dude.

Republican totem pole:


1. Handouts for oil companies (subsidies totaling over 31 billion per year)
2. Allowing oil companies to deduct everything including spill clean ups.
3. Pays billions for an ineffective and already obsolete bomber before it even flies (the B-1).
4. Buck McKeon Porks a second engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. One that secretary Gates has said is unnecessary.
5. Republican president and congress led the way to bail out minority poor: major financial institutions. Why should they get a handout? They use it to buy super yachts?
6. Needless to say idiot I could go on and on and on and on?
.
.
.
.
.
.
47. Buying a super yacht for all republicans courtesy of lobbyists.

Posted by: krazen1211

Posted by: periculum | January 12, 2011 1:10 AM | Report abuse

Thanks,pbasso_khan for listening. I would love commenting on these pages to be more like this thread...so that new ideas and reworked old ones could be discussed and debated without name calling et al. Yes, on some things we probably disagree wildly but on others not so much.

I think you are much too kind to Congress; I believe the election cycle and the need to spend money in advertising drives congress to be short-sighted and earmark driven. Though it could be that they are made so by this cycle of home, Washington, home with focus on home less on what people at home think and more on re-election.

In any case thanks for giving me something to think about; and I will even go so far as to thank Mr. Klein, who I usually totally disagree with and Senator Kerry, who in this instance, has real vision.

Posted by: mil1 | January 12, 2011 2:04 AM | Report abuse

I agree, all due respect and sympathy for Rep. Giffords and the other victims of this mentally ill person.

But life goes on and if John Podesta is involved count me out. The Podestas are money hungry scum.

Kerry's speech is "do what I and the 20% of Liberals want in this country". This White House and this Senate and House in the past two years did not have a Liberal mandate. But they were intent on forcing one upon us.

Nancy Pelosi is delusional-- beyond positivity, beyond over-confidence and beyond denial-- she is down right pathologically (and I do mean diagnosable by a qualified physician) delusional.

The Liberals more than anyone refuse to make their arguments based on facts and being genuine and outlining all of the "end game" motives. They have pushed people like EZRA KLEIN to perpetuate the "Party of NO" and the "Party of No Ideas" (I had to laugh after reading Paul Ryan's Roadmap for America.)

THE HEALTH CARE PUBLIC OPTION WAS FLAT OUT SOCIALIZED MEDICINE AS THE END GAME. The Liberals and particularly Obama LIED THROUGH THEIR TEETH.

So Senator Kerry- when you Liberals decide to speak to the public honestly, as the enlightened and engaged people we are, and stop with the top down, one size fits all, and your "I'm rich are your not and never will be" attitude, I'll listen.

Until then, you and the Podestas can have your little love fests.
.

Posted by: hz9604 | January 12, 2011 4:56 AM | Report abuse

"Today it’s possible for 41 Senators representing only about one tenth of the American population to bring the Senate to a standstill."

If this is true, then why is Obama's approval rating in the 40s?

One wonders if Scott Brown was given credit for half of Massachusetts population. One wonders how Brown's historic and decisive victory figures into this statement.

This speech is so full of lies and self righteous sermonizing, it's a laugh.

People - Americans are the most individualistic AND the most voluntarily charitable people on earth. Politicians like Obama and Kerry who work against this grain, have a short shelf life.
.

Posted by: hz9604 | January 12, 2011 5:23 AM | Report abuse

Ooops! Correction.

"So Senator Kerry- when you Liberals decide to speak to the public honestly, as the enlightened and engaged people we are, and stop with the top down, one size fits all, and your "I'm rich and you are not and never will be" attitude, I'll listen."

Posted by: hz9604 | January 12, 2011 6:05 AM | Report abuse

Sad none of them get it. Democrat or Republican. In earlier times we were not at each others throat, maybe we disagreed, but Obama brought an atmosphere of seperation in his words, actions, and attitude. Congress refuses to listen and acts as royalty, driving the ordinary people to desperation to be heard or lose what America has always been to him. They are responsible partially for the violence and what happened. When you tell people that is what elections are for if you don't like it and call the ordinary citizen every name under the sun, while allowing the Black Panthers to beat on them and threaten to kill white people, What did they expect? SOme sicko will always try to bring about an election as soon as possible. This should be a wake up call for them to represent the people not their power hunger, and self serving wills. Sadly it just ends up being another power grab and excuse to take our freedoms away.

Posted by: LSDsr | January 12, 2011 8:25 AM | Report abuse

How sad to read these posts, most just taking sides and so few willing to tackle the reality that America is in big trouble. As a Canadian that used to admire the American Spirit it saddens me to see and (I now live in a Nation) that has lost hope and is for the most part is in denial and playing the blame game". I work with young people and even the next generation of Americans seems dispirited about the future. Thanks Sen.Kerry Great words hope not falling on deaf ears

Posted by: way2gohomes | January 12, 2011 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Barack Obama came into office and said "Elections have consequences and I won" as if 52.9% of the vote means winner take all. Well, 47.1% of Americans voted against Obama and THAT had consequences regarding discussion and compromise.

That said, Obama achieved an approval rating of 68% or so.

That IMO was the "come together" period for this administration that Kerry refers to. I ask: What happened from there that has caused Obama's approval rating to slip into the 40s?

Had Obama chosen the path of getting America back to work (Warren Buffet said "the economy is off the cliff, why are they cramming all this other stuff down our throats?" and THEN started with other issues, I believe we would have seen more compromise on issues because the AMERICAN PEOPLE would have been on Obama's side.

Instead, Obama decided to give the economy short shrift and proceed with many controversial issues without input from the other party. IT WAS HERE THAT THE LIBERALS, ANXIOUS TO USE THEIR SUPER MAJORITIES BEGAN LOSING THE SUPPORT OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE BY THEIR (Liberal politicians) OWN DOING. Scott Brown's improbable victory, which seems not yet to have registered with Kerry, clearly supports my contention.

Obama lost his support by his own hand-- nobody else.

So this speech is just another Narcissist (Sen. John Kerry who might be the poster child for Narcissism) trying to subtley reprimand the American public for not letting the Liberals "Hugo Chavez" us all into Socialism.

Posted by: hz9604 | January 12, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Ezra. (And thank you, Sen. Kerry).

Posted by: Tom_W | January 12, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

If we are ever going to embark upon a program to repair, improve or build new infrastructure we are going to have to return to a pre-Reagan progressive tax structure. Good luck with that.

I am a very strong proponent of this and well understand that ever since 1980 with the election of Reagan it has been a race to the bottom with most all of us the losers and very few winners at the top.

Posted by: will22 | January 12, 2011 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Kerry's speech and the trite duplicitous liberal comments that followed it, made me gag. In my opinion he is a self-promoting demagogue who, when he came back from Vietnam, shamelessly denigrated the American military before a Congressional comittee. [His fellow Swift Boat commanders had it right about him]. If he cares about economic growth why does he bad-mouth business and oppose lower taxes on business? If he cares about energy independence, why did he filibuster proposals for drilling in Alaska? And why does he promote cap and trade and phony claims about the employment and income benefits of clean/green energy?

Posted by: mckill | January 12, 2011 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Kerry's speech and the trite duplicitous liberal comments that followed it, made me gag. In my opinion he is a self-promoting demagogue who, when he came back from Vietnam, shamelessly denigrated the American military before a Congressional comittee. [His fellow Swift Boat commanders had it right about him]. If he cares about economic growth why does he bad-mouth business and oppose lower taxes on business? If he cares about energy independence, why did he filibuster proposals for drilling in Alaska? And why does he promote cap and trade and phony claims about the employment and income benefits of clean/green energy?

Posted by: mckill | January 12, 2011 6:08 PM | Report abuse

So when the Republicans get a majority of the Senate which could be as soon as 2012 and control of the White House which could be in the same year, John Kerry is fine with no filibuster rule. Is that correct Senator Kerry? I just want to get you on record.

Posted by: hz9604 | January 13, 2011 6:03 AM | Report abuse

It no longer is a matter of liberal vs conservative, it is the big banks against the rest of us. They want our resources going toward quick return projects that will maximize their return so they can move on and have a new group of plunderers take over the reins. Obama has inadvertently or knowingly promoted an agenda which restored the banks to health at our expense. Those who attack John Kerry because he is a political adversary are trying to keep the discussion uncivil and off target. The banks here and abroad are the problem and the economy needs to change where the economic beneficiaries of an improving economy are the people and not those at the helm of the financial industry.

Posted by: Gator-ron | January 13, 2011 6:32 PM | Report abuse

It no longer is a matter of liberal vs conservative, it is the big banks against the rest of us. They want our resources going toward quick return projects that will maximize their return so they can move on and have a new group of plunderers take over the reins. Obama has inadvertently or knowingly promoted an agenda which restored the banks to health at our expense. Those who attack John Kerry because he is a political adversary are trying to keep the discussion uncivil and off target. The banks here and abroad are the problem and the economy needs to change where the economic beneficiaries of an improving economy are the people and not those at the helm of the financial industry.

Posted by: Gator-ron | January 13, 2011 6:33 PM | Report abuse

My concern is how did this country become so divided by ridiculous rhetoric that any of us would deny a fellow American health care. Additionally, I am sick and tired of the one year whiz kid politicians, who suddenly have all the answers, get elected and do nothing. The elected officials are put into office to make a difference. Stop and think about exactly what has YOUR Congressman or woman done to improve your life while in office. If your answer is nothing then they have been there too long! Sarah Palin should be ashamed, humiliated, and disgraced for her rhetoric over the last 2 years. Placing target signs over her political enemies, while some of her supporters encourage an atmosphere of violent behavior. If she is ever elected President, then, you will see just how bad things can get. We already suffered through 8 years of making Billionaires, multi-billionaires! Also, why are we average Americans so willing to support businesses that make athletes multi-millionaires, while we all suffer along at minimum wages?

Posted by: heymansan69 | January 14, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Kerry starts out about Congresswoman Giffords only to go into “himself,” midway knock Bush and Nixon, coddle his buddy Chris Dodd and to conclude with some dribble about China, Poland and Germany. It was such a heartfelt speech it gave me goose bumps! It sounded like a campaign speech people!

Posted by: caltexla | January 15, 2011 12:33 AM | Report abuse

What a bunch of bunk! There are so many falsehoods in this speech that no one would have the time it would take to refute them.

Only five minutes to read this!? That claim was as disingenuous as Kerry. Geez!

Posted by: orcon | January 15, 2011 9:07 PM | Report abuse

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