Dems: How much must Kerry undo for you not to be disappointed in him?

This is in part inspired by recent news about the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and the mess the EU is in to get everything in place for bio-metric passports.

As you might know, citizens of 27 countries are exempt from having to use a visa to enter the US, for up to 90 days, be it business or vacation. I did a thread almost a year ago about the stupidity of this, since students have to have a visa, implying that a student from a “safe” country is more likely to be a terrorist than an average Joe (which the hamsters have eaten). Of course, were I a terrorist, I’d go as a tourist, no questions asked, and skip that whole student thing. I’m not. But in my small town of about 260k people, some 50-60k are Muslims. There are a lot of them in Europe, citizens and with EU passports.

So now, they had to push back the date for the bio-metric passports. It seems the EU can’t get the whole thing turned around fast enough and with 14 (of 25) countries part of the VWP, it’s quite a lot to coordinate. About 13 million visitors enter the US every year from VWP countries, and I imagine that if it’s a case of security vs. dollars earned from business and tourism, money talks.

Then again, one wonders about the success of it all. In a press release dated April 2, the State Department sums up the first three months of the year:

Not something to be sneered at, but not exactly big fish either.

My own thoughts about it is that it’s totally unnecessary. Some bad guy out to do harm can slip in quite easily. We can’t discuss the mechanics of illegal actions here, but I can come up with four or five ways which would require little effort. All this is going to do is end up costing us tax money, both in the US fir its citizens, and in the countries under the WVP. Mostly in the US. And mostly to give a perception of added security. Perception, not really actual security. It’s political grandstanding, where law enforcements agencies (DHS) and talking heads can give out sound bites which make it seem like they’re in control and taking action.

So what will Kerry do if elected? I’ve been to his homepage and found a lot of vague stuff and buzzwords, but nothing really substantial. This is to be expected. I think it would be political suicide to promise to abandon DHS, should he win. GWB has laid down the rules during three years since 9/11 and there are a lot of new buzzwords (WMD, DHS) which can’t be avoided. As a military man, Kerry must seem to be a tough Democrat, inspiring voters to think that with him in the oval office, it won’t be wishy-washy. He must be a hawk when it comes to terrorists/security/Iraq, at least as viewed from a liberal standpoint. If not, he’s gonna lose the election.

From the perspective of a foreigner and half-way frequent visitor to the US, I’ve been hoping that with Kerry as president, things will go back to what it was before November 2000, but of course it won’t. So my question is mostly to the Democrats:
How much must Kerry undo for you not to be disappointed in him? Not only in foreign relations of all sorts, but domestically as well.
And a serious question for the GOPers: How much can Kerry get away with before you start screaming treason?
Link to US State Dept. about WVP

There isn’t a monolithic block of Kerry voters, so assuming Kerry wins, there’s going to be differing expectations.

As a recent Onion article satirized, some people hate Bush and just want a candidate that will get him out of the White House. Kerry will have met these people’s expectations on day one.

Other people are looking for a more moderate President. Kerry will probably satisfy these people over the course of his administration.

There are also some genuine liberals left in this country. Many of these people are going to vote for Kerry as the preferred alternative, but they’re probably going to be disappointed by his administration which they will fell doesn’t go far enough.

Some people were calling for Clinton’s impeachment from the day he was elected. Presumedly they’re still out there.

But the more usual course is that the first partisan battles will be over a new adminstration’s cabinet appointments. It’s an early event and there’s plenty of room for at least one controversial name.

I find the phrasing of the question awkward. I’m already “not-disappointed” with Kerry, and think he’s the brain-dead choice in the November election – you’d have to be brain-dead to vote for George W. Bush over John Kerry.

On the other hand, if and when Kerry is elected, I fully expect to be disappointed by some of the things he does (or doesn’t do) once he’s in office. For instance, I don’t expect President Kerry to tell obstructionist Congressional Republicans to “shove it” before he gives them a much-deserved beatdown. :wink:

But to get me actually disappointed in Kerry, to the point where I wish I didn’t vote for him, he’d have to do some crazy-ass stuff, like invading another country without provocation, pissing off our allies, authorize spying and snooping on American citizens, sending our economy deep(er) into the crapper – in short, being George W. Bush redux.

Just a note: If I were I GOPer, I’d wonder about the seriousness of this question, with it’s “poisoned well” ending. Might you also want to know if they have stopped beating their wives? :slight_smile:

One thing that people seem constantly to forget on this board is that the US president is not a dictator. Bush has been able to put most of his agenda into practice because his party controls both houses of Congress. Assuming that the GOP retains control and Kerry becomes president, he might not be able to do very much at all in the way of affecting policy.

For exapmple: as commander in chief, he can make significant changes in the way the trops in Iraq are deployed, but he can’t increase or decrease the defense budget w/o Congressional approval. Even his pledge about funding stem cell research is subject to Congresional approval (this particular issue might very well pass thru Congress, but that’s not a given).

In short, unless the Democrats gain control of Congress, it will be difficult to measure how effective Kerry will be, if he wins. Right now the Senate might be up for grabs, but I think the GOP pretty much has a lock on the House.

I would be disappointed in John Kerry if he failed to name a replacement for John Ashcroft. Or if he failed to at least try to rollback Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy. Other than that, it would be nearly impossible for Kerry to be a disappointment.

It seems to me that the real problem pre-9/11 was the failure to share and act on information in the intelligence community, and I’m skeptical that the current practice of adding more and more layers of bureaucracy ON TOP is going to solve the problem. I really feel like all these high-tech security measures are just window-dressing to make the masses feel a little more comfortable, or to make it look like they’re doing something. I think we could turn the U.S. into a police-state, and terrorists would still be able to find a way through.

So I’d be ecstatic if Kerry were able to find a way to get the CIA and FBI to play nice with each other, but I’m really not expecting him to do any better than any previous presidents in that regard - I’m wondering if it’s even possible to change such monolithic organizations. So I guess it’d be hard for me to be dissapointed. As rjung suggested, Kerry’s already going to be an improvement just so long as he refrains from starting any new wars that we don’t need.

It felt like a different country to me when Clinton was president, even though for 6 of his 8 presidential years, the house and senate were Republican.

The president has a lot of control over the budget, for instance. He can also use his position to ‘sell’ things to the American public - legislation and appointments. And in foreign policy, it’s pretty much the president’s handbasket we’re all riding around in.

I think American history demonstrates that the president controls more of the zeitgeist of the country than the legislature. Maybe I’ve got the cause-effect reversed, but in my lifetime it has seemed to go in the direction I’ve put here.

I read the OP a few times and still can’t figure out if “it” refers to the VWP itself, or the additional post-9/11 security measures (“US-VISIT”). Could you clarify?

Were BOTH houses controlled by the GOP after 1994? Can’t remember…

I don’t disagree with you. Yes, the president can control the agenda to a large degree, and he does have veto power (probably his most effective tool). But, in the end, much of what any presidential candidate promises to do in his campaign will be subject to approval by the Congress. If his party controls Congress, it shouldn’t be any problem. If not, then it’s an uphill battle. People often forget that.

I thought they controlled both houses after the 94 elections. If not, they certainly did by 1996:

Granted. But if you go to you’ll find that his program isn’t all that radical. A lot of empty rethoric and very little substance. Those GOPers who oppose him shouldn’t find to much to object to from what’s there. When I checked through it, it came across as ‘Republican light’. I think DHS will stay in place. He can hardly up and leave Iraq. He might go for s stronger force in Afghanistan, but that’s hardly something that will upset a GOPer. He wants more coöperation with Nato and other allies, meaning he’ll thread more softly in negotiations, but as far as I can see, there’s still a lot of talk about war on terror. I expect him to try to revise some tax policies implemented by Bush, but I doubt it’ll be very drastic. So the question stands. Of course, any Republican will be unhappy with a Democratic president, but what will make them blow their tops.

Bio-metric passports, tighter security for people who fall under the WVP.

I remember how easy it was to obtain an American SS-number, and with that a driver’s license. I’m not sure if Canadians and Americans use passports when crossing the border, but if an American license is all that’s used, then it’ll be easy to slip in from Canada. Or Mexico. And somehow I think that Mexican border patrols are less tight than those in the US.

Granted, but as Little Nemo pointed out, there were folks gunning for Clinton since day 1 of his presidency. Surely you don’t expect the Coulters and Limbaughs and O’Reillys and Melon-Scaifes to resist the temptation to play “The Hunting of the President, Part 2” if Kerry wins in November?

I doubt that there is much Kerry can do to ‘disappoint’ most Dem’s…not to the point they will regret voting for him over Bush. Some further to the left than most might be disappointed to the point they wished they voted for Nader instead, but even that I don’t see as being wide spread. Kerry will pretty much get a blank check as far as actions go in his first term from the Dems perspective at least. I can’t even guess what his second term might be like though.

No brainer…of course they will. Just like the far left attacked Bush from the get go…its politics as usual here in the states. I don’t think JM was making this assertion though.

I don’t think much of Kerry’s domestic policies (well, guessing what they MIGHT be I suppose) could be considered ‘Republican light’ by any reasonable measure. But then, Bush’s policies weren’t really very Republican either IMHO. There will certainly be things about a Kerry presidency that will rub Republicans the wrong way, and I’m not talking about simply the fact that he’s a Democrat and I think you are seriously downplaying the issues here. What I think many of them will be watching closely will be things like trade, healthcare and other domestic issues that impact the economy…and how he ends up paying for some of the programs he has proposed. He claims to be able to do many if not most of his programs in a revenew neutral way by simply rolling back the Bush tax cuts…we’ll see.

I expect Kerry to be ‘Republican light’ as you say on his FORIEGN policy for the most part, pretty much doing what Bush is already doing…with the exception that I expect Kerry to make a play for more European participation in Iraq (especially France and Germany). Whether or not he’s successful I don’t expect any radical changes to occur and I’m reasonably comfortable with Kerry at the helm (well, as comfortable as I am with Bush…ok, maybe a bit more comfortable with Kerry, but its a near thing :)).


Last I looked, none of those you mentioned are posters on the SDMB. I took the OP’s quesiton to be directed at SDMB GOPers, not the nut cases like Coulter.

The status of the House and Senate will affect my expectations for Kerry, so it’s hard to say now. He has said that upon entering office he will undo the Global Gag Rule (aka the Mexico City Policy) right away. That, and knowing he’s not going to try and challenge the legality of abortion, will be an awfully good start.

Personally, the thing that bothers me most about the idea of Kerry as president is that I suspect he will use his position to increase the invasive powers that the government has been granted/grabbed since 9/11. While John Ashcroft makes for a loverly poster-boy for these actions, I find it impossible to ignore that Kerry voted in favor of the Patriot Act, that his senior senator, Ted Kennedy (that bastion of liberalness and governmental restraint), pushed for years for the V-chip to be created, and a similar chip for federal ‘wiretapping’ to be required in all new build computers in the US, that his close supporter Senator Clinton is still pushing for a greatly expanded Department of Homeland Security with the goal of closing the Canadian border to all non-examined crossings (While still supporting the new Toronto Fast Ferry, and easy access to the new Casino Niagara - so that lovely tourist money stops going to that Evil Canadian casino. :rolleyes: ) by adding some 6000 new positions in the Department.

Please note, this is in no way an endorsement of Shrub. Just part of my general mistrust of John F. Kerry, and the Democrats in general.

What I would like for the Presidency is a candidate who is willing to state in public that there is no way for the government to make the country 100% safe from terrorist attack, and because of that he or she will oppose any attempt to barter liberties for a false appearance of improved security.

Alas, that’s not something ANY of the candidates I’ve seen is willing to say.

Goddam sheep.

On preview, I’m also with blowero about the wisdom of adding more bureaucracy to improve :eek: the efficiency of the existing security/intelligence agencies.

I’m curious about this. Afaik, Bush isn’t challenging (or hasn’t challenged) the legality of abortion either. So, what would be the practical difference between them?? From my perspective I could give a shit WHAT a president believes in personally…as long as they don’t act on it. So to me this issue is a wash between the two candidates as neither is likely to do shit.


Has GWB stopped beating his wife? :rolleyes:

Your assumptions border on trolling- but perhaps English is your second language and you just didn’t knwo how to word this?

Bush did sign the partial-birth abortion ban and has also consistently appointed only conservative, pro-life judges to federal courts.

When it comes to abortion, the strongest influence a POTUS has is the appointment of judges, especially in the Supreme Court. Bush is just dying to plant a couple of fundie religious conservatives to the SCOTUS but the geezers have all held on throughout his administration.

I think a couple of them would have to retire within the next few years and their replacements could make a big difference on the abortion issue.

But even all the other federal appointments could make a difference.

Which is why I think this is the best argument on why to vote for Kerry: As soon a Democratic president is elected, you will see the republican congress suddenly “discover” how bad is to give or to allow the executive to maintain such powers.