Saturday, November 20, 2004

The Honourable John F. Kerry, Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition 

Go, John, Go! Protect Every Child is a winner.
In a way that no "losing" American candidate has ever done before, John Kerry is asserting himself as the Leader of the Official Opposition.
Usually, the losing presidential candidate just disappears off the public stage in America -- while in a parliamentary system, the Leader of the Opposition remains in the public eye and keeps pushing his party's agenda.
John Kerry received the second-highest number of votes anyone has ever received for president -- 55 million people voted for him. And he mobilized a campaign organization like no democrat has ever done before. So why shouldn't he take advantage of that, and begin using his Senate seat as a focus for vigorously opposing Bush and promoting the kind of progressive ideas that could help democrats win the midterms?
And he has picked a great issue -- one I thought could have been the focus of his whole campaign -- health insurance for children.
Who can be opposed to this? The republicans are caught flat-footed by this initiative. If they oppose it, as will be their natural inclination, they look like cheapskate, ignorant, uncaring fat-cats. Who could deny a baby a life-saving operation? How could anyone say no to wheezing child needing treatment for asthma? When the parents of these children see their kids being helped, they will know who did this for them. And when these children reach adulthood, they will NOT stand for being denied health care again.
And I wouldn't be surprised if his "catastrophic coverage" idea gets revived again, too -- the big HMOs and health insurers would love it if the government would take these expensive and controversial cases off their hands.
Now, Kerry's assertiveness won't be popular with some Senate democrats -- and no, I'm not talking about Hillary. I'm talking about some of the high-profile senators like Durbin and Rockefeller -- the ones who, in talk show appearances during the campaign, never lifted a finger to defend Kerry against the swift boat smears and the 87 billion twist. The "public as co-sponsor" gambit in Kerry's health care initiative prevents his fellow Senators from ignoring him or watering his initiative down before the public even sees it.
Keep your $15 million, John -- maybe you can use it better than the other dems can.

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