According to David Brooks,
John Kerry lacks follow through. Sounds like another Clinton, but with more circumspection.
Brooks is a terrific writer and a keen observer, as he demonstrates in his column on the Iowa Democrat caucus participants (link may disappear or be changed to pay only).
[I]f you had to pick a quintessential figure to represent the Iowa Democratic voters who have been showing up at rallies over the past few days, it would be a 55-year-old teacher. She is a moderate, optimistic, progressive educator who wants to believe in politics again. She wants to believe that big changes can still be made in this country, and that big challenges like poverty and the uninsured can still be addressed.He's kinder than I would be, I suppose. I attended grade school, fourth through sixth grade in Ames, Iowa, and none of my teachers were like this. I suppose they were working to put their husbands through college, but I can't imagine any of them being content with the grade inflation and politically correct curricula in fashion today.
She has some pet peeves. She is upset by the billions of dollars the drug companies spend on commercials, which drive up the cost of her prescriptions. She loathes the No Child Left Behind Act, which threatens to brand her school a failure, even though she and her colleagues are doing the best they can.
But it's the dream of big, history-shaking changes that really inspires her. She wants to talk about the issues that used to be so prominent but now seem never to get attention: urban blight, segregation and the misery caused by hunger and homelessness.
. . .
I'm struck by how oblivious this campaign has been to the consequences of 9/11. I'm struck by how the grand idealism of the crowds is out of proportion to the smallish policies on offer. Nonetheless, it's sort of inspiring in this cold Iowa winter to see at least some Americans who have preserved, despite decades of discouragement, a stubborn faith in politics, and the possibility of change.
I have very little patience with the people who respond warmly to speeches like the one I heard Edwards give on Monday night, full of sentimental gobbledygook about ending poverty and assuring everybody can afford healthcare. It's not that I don't care about the poor, just that this kind of rhetoric keeps alive impossible goals and immoral programs and ignores the nature of all governments. Whatever they enact as law creates rights, and poverty in and of itself doesn't entail rights to other peoples' property, nor should it.