16 (or so) Questions for John Kerry
I have left this page online, intact, because I know what a pain it is to get those "page not found" messages
when looking for something that was just there yesterday. This is just a brief update to note that the questions
that were selected and included in a letter to Kerry can be found here. This page you are viewing now contains
the unedited, uncensored questions I received from Dean supporters (and at least one Kucinich supporter).
Some of the questions here are rather harshly worded, but I have left them "as is" because I believe it does
more harm than good to try to tell people what not to say or feel. We are all coming to terms with the idea of
Kerry as the nominee in our own time and in our own ways. For inclusion in the final letter, I tried to choose
questions that were worded in a reasonably noncombative way, and questions that seemed like they should be
answerable at this point in time. For example, I understand that there may be practical reasons why Kerry
cannot make any promises to Dean about what position he would be offered in a Kerry administration.At this point, in spite of whatever the Democratic party and the media try to tell us, Kerry is not yet the nominee--he is only the presumptive nominee. As Dean supporters, we are a diverse group, comprised of Democrats, Republicans, Greens, and Independents. Some of us have decided that we will vote for Kerry in November (assuming he becomes the official nominee in July) and some will not. Some will donate money and support him in other ways, and others will not. Many of us are not sure what we will do. Many of us have the sense that we have much "unfinished business" with Senator John Forbes Kerry. We have issues with his votes in the Senate, with some statements he has made, and with his conduct during the primaries. Our votes and our support are likely to be determined by the satisfactory resolution of these issues.
On July 18, 2003, Howard Dean posed 16 questions to George W. Bush. Dean supporters, whose energy, enthusiasm, and money will be a valuable commodity to the Democratic nominee, would like to pose some questions to Kerry. We may or may not end up with the magic number of 16 questions, but we will submit some thoughtfully worded questions to Kerry, as a group, and make it clear that we expect him to be in dialog with us. Our support cannot be taken for granted, but he can work to earn it if he so desires.
Of course, Dean supporters are not the only ones who need some answers from Kerry. Voters who have supported other candidates during the primaries, and those who were still undecided at the point Kerry was coronated by the media, are invited to submit questions as well.
Thank you to Beth in PA for getting us started:
1)How will you protect the taxpayer's hard earned tax money when your special interest financiers commit fraud (as in Worldcom, Enron, Tyco)?
2) How will you tell your big money special interests to clean up the mess they make before letting them move their jobs and assets off shore?
3) When George Bush's "big money" pushes up against your "big money", where will that leave us taxpayers after the clash: still paying the bills for all of your excesses?
4) When will you investigate the ~$4 billion in taxpayer's hard earned money that goes missing each year from the Pentagon budget? (See Chuck Spinney)
5) When will your stump speech quit plagerizing Dr Dean? [Didn't you Skull&Bones boys learn anything other than mimicry at Yale?]
6) How did you explain your wife's financial relationship with WalMart to the union folks who support you?
7) What are you going to do about the media industry megalopoly?
8) And when Fleet finances lent you, what was it, $430,000? for a townhouse in DC worth half that value, what happened to the rest of the money? (Ctr for Public Integrity) Did you give it back like the time you accepted money from Mr Chung?
9) Do you know the difference between plutocracy and democracy?
10) Do you know how to weight imperfect information that comes from questionable intel?
11) Do you know the difference between possibility and probability when estimating "imminence"?
12) Do you know the basics of critical thinking when presented with decisions under uncertainty?
13) Should you become the President, will your VP actually run the show?
14) What kind of decision process do you go through when filling job openings: do you look to the people you owe the biggest favors to or do you look for people who can augment any weaknesses you might have in probabilistic thinking?
15) How do you explain to the people of Mass that, under your watch as senator of that state, the growth rate in future jobs for MA went to MINUS 2.6 while over the border in that state of the Green Mtns, the growth in future jobs went up to what, 12.4% (BestPlaces.com statistics)?
16) How do you explain to the people of Mass that, under your watch as senator, the watershed quality is 1.0 (with 100 = best) whereas in Vt, it went up to 70 (and that's WITH the acid rains out of the OH valley)?
Here's another question for Mr. Kerry...
What role will you offer Howard Dean in your new administration?
My husband says Kerry's answer to nearly every question on your list will begin:
"Yes, back when I was in Vietnam..."
My view is that any response Kerry gives to any question will only be flip flopped on later. He talks a good game, but he never delivers. No matter how much dialogue he does with us, he doesn't get a vote from me. I would have to see real results from him...measurable stuff.
One of the questions I would like Kerry to answer is whether he supported the ad against Dean with the picture of Osama bin Laden -- you remember the one from the Iowa primary. I told myself at the time that I could never vote for whomever had been behind that shameless ad, and apparently one of Kerry's backers was involved.
I suppose this is not the most sophisticated of election questions, but it has been bothering me. I would rather not give away a vote to Bush, but it will be hard to stomach a vote for Kerry given his suspect affiliations.
What I want to know, Mr. Kerry, is how when other able-bodied Senators (including your colleague Sen. Kennedy and others such as Feingold and Murray) were capable of winnowing through George W. Bushs lies about Iraq intelligence, you could vote for an illegitimate war. Just as an aside, what was that intelligence that you were privvy to that others couldnt see???
What I want to know is how you DARE to champion education when you promoted ending tenure for teachers and voted for No Child Left Behind?
What I want to know is how you can possibly claim to hold American domestic security as a priority when you have voted to cut defense spending, have voted to cut (SIGNIFICANTLY cut) intelligence spending, and have laid out NO PLANS WHATSOEVER for defending our country from terrorists?
What I want to know is how you dare to run a campaign based on your Vietnam service when nary a decade ago, you lambasted current politicians for opening those precarious wounds?
What I want to know is why you havent come up with one original thought since you started this campaign for president, opting instead to steal (sometimes VERBATIM) Howard Deans lines what will you do when its just you and Bush with no ones ideas to co-opt?????
What I want to know is why I should vote for you (or give you money) when you push-polled Iowa voters (sometimes with Anti-Semitic undertones regarding Judy Dean) and ran heinous ads comparing a good Democrat to Osama bin Laden with fraudulent money from an exiled crook?
From John in Cincinnati:
How come if you're so committed to funding of NCLB you (and John Edwards) were absent from the vote last March ('03) to vote NO on tabling the debate for full funding?
How come if your're so committed to the plight of workers you (and John Edwards) were absent last week from the vote to extend unemployment benefits? (Sheesh, even our two Ohio Republican seneators were present and voted for it.)
How about asking Mr. Kerry if he will be willing to break up the media conglomerates, and do some re-regulation of that industry, as Dean said he would do. This has got to change. The media has tremendous influence, because it shapes the public's opinions on Everything. As he knows all too well. It destroyed one candidate and built up another.
Then I might consider giving him my vote. I would begin to respect him, but not until he states what he will do concerning this. Let's see if this War Hero has as much backbone as he claims.
Here are a few questions for Kerry...
1. During the debate prior to the vote in Wisconsin, you refused to take responsibility for your YES vote that handed George Bush war power that allowed him to invade Iraq. Over 500 young Americans and thousands of Iraqis have been killed in the war in Iraq and many thousands more have suffered horrible injuries.
Please answer these questions in less than 5 minutes:
Why didn't you know what George Bush was planning when millions of people from around the world knew? Why didn't you speak out, as you said you would, when you finally realized Bush was lying to you and the American people? When will you take full responsibility for the consequences of your poor judgement?
2. Please tell us in 50 words or less:
What is your most important legislative accomplishment as Senator?
3. Please tell us in less than 3 minutes:
When did you first learn of the ads that smeared Governor Dean in Iowa? And, why is your campaign still associated with the people who funded those ads?
Just a start.....
From Thomas K in Newport, RI
On December 13, you said that if Howard Dean were President, Saddam Hussein would still be in power.
Would Saddam still be in power if you were President?
From Steviemo in MN
Senator, it appears Democrats didn't learn ANYTHING from the role Ralph Nader played in handing the White House to the Republicans in 2000. Here we are, four years later and no senator has introduced a bill to calling for Instant Runoff Voting which would allow Americans to vote FOR a candidate instead of AGAINST one.
Will you reach out to Greens and independents and mitigate the Nader factor by putting Instant Runoff Voting before the Senate PRIOR to this years election?
From Kate in Montclair
What I want to know, Senator Kerry, is:
Are you aware there is a racial divide in this country, and are you, too, tired of being divided by race?
Are you, too, eager to talk about race with white people, rather than just in communities of nonwhites, and just on the third weekend of January, some part of February, and when you're running for office?
And, do you agree that proper leadership could actually unite America around our shared challenges for quality schools, job opportunities, a clean environment, affordable healthcare, secure finances upon retirement, rather than divide us around our fears, our prejudices, and our race?
From Richard Hoefer
Deborah - your questions are genius
Yes... the time and word constraints. Beautiful. Not that he would ever oblige you... but I particularly liked Question #2... It might be even better if you could add: "Without using the words 'I lead the fight against', What is your most important legislative accomplishment as Senator?
From Mary (emmas4dean)
It has been stated in the press that you opted out of federal matching funds to fund your campaign, so to garner funds you borrowed on your house and from your art collection. If you win the Presidency and the loan needs to be paid, are the tax payers going to have to fit the bill?
What, exactly, is your association with Skull and Bones? What pact have you sworn to that is also shared with George W. Bush and George H. Bush? Explain your intentions to uphold the apparent dominion your members have all declared over the masses by just a privileged few?
From Brad--Kucinich supporter
Thank you for allowing me to post aquestion to Kerry. As a Kucinich supporter I would like him to answer this...
Mr. Kerry, while debating (p)resident Bush in front of millions of tv viewers, how will you respond to the question of being so easily duped into believing the need to go to war on flimsy evidence as well as your senatorial support for repressive attacks upon our inalienable rights as citizens by supporting the Patriot Act?
Thank you and peace,
A tireless Kucinich supporter
1. You didnt bother to show up for the Medicare bill. I was raised to believe that if you dont vote, you dont have the right to complain. How will you be able to discuss Medicare with Bush during the debates?
2. According to Deal W. Hudson in Did John Kerry Lie About Abortion? you say you are pro-choice politically but pro-life personally. This is very interesting. Is this why you voted once against the partial-birth abortion bill in March but didnt show up for the decisive vote in November? Is this so you can tell liberals one thing and Hispanics and Catholics another? This doesnt sound very politically pro-choice to me!
3. Senator Torricelli, one of your top financial contributors, funded the smear ads in Iowa associating Howard Dean with Osama bin Laden. Will you publicly apologize to Dr. Dean for your indirect but obvious involvement in this filth? My vote for you in November HINGES on your response to this question.
4. When you voted to let Bush do whatever he wanted in Iraq, were you being stupid or chicken?
5. Rumor has it you fought in Vietnam. Is this true?
6. Rumor has it the intern you slept with made a taped interview with a major network admitting the affair. When the Republicans blow this one out of the water after the convention, when it will be too late for Democrats to reconsider, how will you live with yourself for ruining democracys last shot in the United States?
7. While you where divorcing your first wife, you knew she was going through a serious depression to the point she was suicidal. Senator Kerry, do you have a soul?
8. Do Botox shots hurt?
9. Why should I believe a word you say? Please dont prevaricate in your response.
What I want to know is why can't you give a straight answer about your alleged affair.
Your response to the DNC when asked about it: "We can handle it."
Your response on Imus: "There's no story there."
How about, "IT ISN'T TRUE"? Why can't you bring yourself to say that? Why do you feel the need to give non-denial denials?
Will you reinstate Public Television taxpayer funding and ban corporations from financially supporting the public airwaves? Our taxes have built the infrastructure and the American people own the airwaves. PBS should NOT be a venue for government or corporate influence. A society is only as free as we demand it to be, and the American people have the right to a free and honest media.
When "Reporters Without Borders"
conducted their 2003 World Press Freedom ranking last October, the United States was given a #31 in freedom of the press. Hardly a good showing for the world's supposed "leader" in freedom and democracy. In Iraq, the US does even worse, coming in at #135 for improper behavior beyond US borders.
Special situation of the United States and Israel
"The ranking distinguishes behaviour at home and abroad in the cases of the United States and Israel. They are ranked in 31st and 44th positions respectively as regards respect for freedom of expression on their own territory, but they fall to the 135th and 146th positions as regards behaviour beyond their borders."
"The Israeli army's repeated abuses against journalists in the occupied territories and the US army's responsibility in the death of several reporters during the war in Iraq constitute unacceptable behaviour by two nations that never stop stressing their commitment to freedom of expression."
The American people should be told that Israel is NOT a democracy, and in its 50 years of existence, has NEVER had a Constitution. It is a country ruled by religious law, and, in fact, Israel's religious rules list more than 20 laws specifically meant to target Israeli/Arab citizens as sub-citizens, depriving them of rights afforded to Jewish citizens in the same domicile.
Yet, the US government INSISTS that Iraq and other "rogue nations" MUST have a Constitution that the US "approves".
This is just one example of the dark shroud that exists over our so-called Democratic free press. What will you do to cast light on the truth and restore integrity to to the words, "Freedom and justice for all"?
I have the following questions for Kerry:
1. For someone who has been in the senate this long, you have a dismal 40% voting record. Do you vote only when it is convenient?
2. You and Edwards abstained from voting on a bill that would have extended unemployment benefits to millions of Americans. Then how can you feign this concern for jobs going overseas?
3. You did not vote on the Medicare Prescription bill saying that the other side already had the votes. You still say youre a fighter, friend?
4. You and Edwards did not vote on a bill that would have taken out the ban on overtime benefits for working Americans. So where is your heart and where is your mouth? How far apart are they?
5. Where did you learn to steal other peoples ideas so well and without acknowledging them? Are you competing with a well known software giant for the motto We steal for a better tomorrow?
From Pam B:
1. Will you pay reparations to the 1000s of Iraqi families whose family members were killed by the US military?
2. What will you do to stop the raping of American and foreign men and women by US service personnel?
3. What will you do in the first 6 months to stop power plant waste from killing 40,000 Americans each year, most of them children and most in Eastern states?
4. Do you agree that if a jury can decide the death penalty they should be able to decide a malpractice case?
5. Will you oppose renewing the draft?
From Joni in OK:
Do you support the roping off of dissenters during the Democratic Convention?
If not, what will you do to change what is obviously being arranged at this time?
If so, where does our freedom of speech begin and end in your estimation?
1. How will you support education?
2. Will you propose fully-funding special education?
3. Will you adopt Howard Dean's plan for healthcare
4. Will you repeal all of the tax cuts??? I got a lousy $100 back. I also lost my job in education because of the cuts!
5. Will you convince America that you are "The REAL DEAL" by courting Dr. Dean for the VP slot?
6. Will you address the concerns of DEAN supporters PUBLICLY?
Will you take on the full implications of being a uniter of the Democratic party by carrying the newly formed platform of principles from the ground up...a platform that is pro-community, that establishes equality that is non-negotiable in terms of basic rights (civil, health care, minimum wage) that works off of an appropriate timeline for each concern (20 years for education, 100 years for environment, etc.)? Will this platform serve as your compass point that you are beholden to even as pundits and politics suggest that you adjust to a platform that is more "central?"
From Karen in Alaska:
What I want to know!
1) Who are you going to support when it comes to opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve for oil drilling in Alaska? You sold your soul to the Teamsters when Hoffa ( hardball) said " Kerry said
we would drill everywhere...".
I dont want a waffling answer; you either support preservation of ANWR or you dont. Which is it?
Since 2003 you have missed more than 450 votes on US Senate floor. And according to 2 USC Sec. 39, that reads: The Secretary of the Senate and the Chief Administrative Officer of the House shall deduct from the monthly payments (or other periodic payment authorized by law) of each Member or Delegate the amount of his salary for each day that he has been absent from the Senate or House, respectively, unless such Member or Delegate assigns as the reason for such absence the sickness of
himself or of some member of his family. Do you have an explanation for all these missed votes and are you planning to give part of your salary back to the American people for your lack of commitment and effort in your job as Senator?
Do you care enough about the concerns of Dean supporters to answer the above questions, or are we considered "collateral damage" to you, of some peripheral concern but ultimately expendable.
Do you care that our concern is that you have a pattern of being unable to discern the truth in a crisis?
Did you really expect George Bush would not use the power you gave him in October of 2002? If I had been reading his intentions since before the 2000 election, how could you have missed this? Please explain this to me.
Are you counting on our support simply because you know we want Bush out of office?
Do you not realize, once again, that the problems in our country are bigger than that and that if you miss this, even with our support and our votes and a majority, you may still lose in November?
1. Why did you fail to look at all the evidence available (like Scott Ritter's) on the question of whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction? In the lead up to war, many bioterrorism experts, including my husband, felt the Bush administration was exaggerating, if not outright lying, about the threat of WMD's. How can we trust you to make sound foreign policy when you do not weigh all the available evidence?
2. How can you in good conscience accept funds from Torricelli? Also, do you think the 527 group was wrong to air the Osama Bin Laden ads in Iowa? Generating groundless fear over Bin Laden seems like a Republican strategy to me. What will you do to ensure that Democrats no longer look like Republicans?
Here's a two-part question for John Kerry:
Now that you are the presumptive Democratic nominee, will you update and release your list of bundlers and pledge to do so regularly throughout the campaign? As a March 13 editorial in the Washington Post correctly notes, "Knowing the identities of the campaign's bundlers would be critical to assessing the policies and personnel of a Kerry administration. Mr. Kerry needs to make clear that releasing a list of his financiers was not a one-time event but part of a regular system of providing meaningful disclosure."
Also, when do you plan to make good on your promise to release the records of your meetings with lobbyists over the years? In January, you said that you'd happily release any lobbyist meeting you've ever had. Now would be a good time to do that.
--What was your campaign's role in the robo calls made to NH voters at 4 AM and claiming to be from the Dean campaign?
--What agreement did you strike with Gephardt for his suicide mission to take Dean out?
--When will you get some spine?
From Kathy in Blacksburg
From Susan in Ohio
The drug companies are out of control. Their prices are a joke. Every other commercial on T.V. is for a drug. Some of the drugs are rushed into market so fast they're not thoroughly tested and cause deaths (ex: Ephedra). What would you do to rein in the drug companies?
2. Credit card companies are now charging an average of around 24%, some higher. Isn't this usury? It's funny that when credit card interest was a tax deduction, interest averaged around 7.5%. What would you do to stop this consumer abuse?
3. Will you work seriously to develop alternate fuel/power sources (NOT NUCLEAR) to make us less reliant on oil?
4. Will you put security in place for incoming cargo vessels?
5. Will you do something to stem the influx of illegal aliens from Mexico?
6. Will you do something to halt the outflow of jobs? When companies outsource to make bigger profits they don't share. Prices don't go down for products, and remaining workers don't get raises. Only the CEO's and shareholders get rich.
7. Will you see that the media is broken up? Right now 5 companies control the media. American must have a free press.
8. Will you see that Robert Novak is charged for exposing a CIA agent?
9. Will you safeguard Social Security? I worked all my life, but I made lower pay as a woman and had to take time out to have and raise children. Consequently I have no pension savings. I'm quite sure I'm not alone.
10. Will you make a promise to regularly get out among the "real people"? Outside the Washington bubble, outside the Millionaire/Billionaire club, where most people live for a week on what you might spend on one dinner. America has millions more "regular folks" than rich ones. You'd be well advised to keep in touch. Will you?
11. Will you a) repeal NCLB or b) fully fund it?
12. Will you, please, stop sticking your tongue out?
13. Will you preserve the abortion laws? Will you stand for Women's Rights?
14. Will you leave the Constitution alone?
15. Will you do SOMETHING to improve inner-city neighborhoods?
16. Will you get over your overexaggerated sense of entitlement? You are just a human being, like the rest of us. The fact that you have more money does not make you a better person. Get over yourself. Please?