John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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Kerrey’s Warning

Posted on October 30, 2008



  I once told Bob Kerrey in an airport that I would vote for him should he decide to run for President.



  I always admired Kerrey because he was willing to take on big challenges, like the looming budget disaster caused by out of control spending on entitlements, and he was willing to do it in a non-partisan way.



  I never got the chance to vote for Kerrey, but I still think he is an impressive fellow.  That is why I read with interest his column in the New York Daily News today, “How Obama can walk post-partisan talk.”



  In it, he says this: “By my lights, the primary threat to the success of a President Obama will come from some Democrats who, emboldened by the size of their congressional majority, may try to kill trade agreements, raise taxes in ways that will destroy jobs, repeal the Patriot Act and spend and regulate to high heaven.”



  Kerrey goes on the say that he believes that Obama has what it takes to stop the Democrats from ruining the country. 



  And that is where I disagree with Mr. Kerrey.



  Senator Obama has an abysmal record when it comes to standing up to his own party leaders.  He has reliably voted with his leadership, and indeed, was rated the most liberal Senator by the non-partisan National Journal.



  Worse, on the issues cited by Kerrey, Obama will not just bend to the wishes of his Congressional leaders.  He will lead the way in killing trade agreements, raising taxes in ways that will kill jobs, repealing the Patriot Act and regulating to high heaven.



  As a matter of fact, all of those things are part of his legislative agenda.



  He said that he wants to unilaterally renegotiate NAFTA and kill the Columbian Free Trade Agreement.  That will send the message to the world community that America is closed to trade.



  He said he wants to raise taxes on small businesses that make more than $200,000, which means most businesses that actually employ people.  No matter how he tries to parse it, these tax increases will kill jobs.



  He has come out against the Patriot act, and has sent the signal that he will be more worried about the civil rights of terrorists than President Bush.



 And of course, he plans to sharply increase the breadth and power of the regulatory state.  He blames “that philosophy” of Republicans (better known as a belief in the free market) for the troubles with the mortgage industry.  But it wasn’t the free market that caused the housing bubble.  It was the government, through their instruments of mass inflation, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. 



  Bob Kerrey is a good guy.  He is a political centrist, and he understands that America can only prosper with a vibrant economy fueled by the free market and global trade.  But Kerrey is an anomaly when it comes to the leaders of the Democratic Party.  Democratic leaders don’t trust the free market, strongly dislike global trade, and are focused not on growing the pie, but on making everyone’s piece of the pie smaller. 



  And at the end of the day, with the hard left philosophy of Obama, Pelosi, Kennedy and company, it won’t be pie we will all be fighting over, it will be crumbs.