The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

JUNE  2004

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.







"A Call to Service"

by JC Bowman

I forgot last month's celebration of my personal favorite holiday: Mother's Day. Please forgive me mom.  I promise to do better next year. But this month it is Father's Day and it is time to get those wallets out and buy some gifts.  Unless your dad is a employee at the Bradley Weekly or moving to North Korea save the $25 and skip John Kerry's A Call to Service: My Vision for a Better America.

It is unlikely you have read a book review or article of Kerry's treatise "A Call to Service,"  so  you will not get a honest assessment or then again maybe you can depending on your political persuasion from the network nightly news, your hometown paper or your college professor.  Maybe that is the reason Fox news, talk radio, the People News, Chuck Muth, Matt Drudge and websites like are so popular.

Those of us who support limited government and individual responsibility recognize we have lost the battle for the political culture.  Yet with some of our limited success, a number of people on our side would think we have won the culture war. Remember we are the alternative media and more and more people understand, as Jonah Goldberg has stated that our views "were, and are, unwelcome at ABC, CBS, NBC, Time, The New York Times as well as Harvard, Yale and academia in general."

So if you are like me and you stumble through John Kerry's liberal discourse entitled, "A Call to Service" you can expect plenty of uncorroborated, overtly pessimistic comments, certainly not a massive amount of innovative ideas. He takes a number of predictable, gratuitous swipes at President Bush, trotting out the old Democratic mantra of "Republican tax cuts for the wealthy" and "Bush caters to oil interests." (I for one wish this were true, as I am already tired of the $2 a gallon gas, and one word to Democrats ANWR).  His thoughts on energy and gun control may well alienate members of his own party.  Ask Georgia Senator Zell Miller!

I do not think John Kerry is stupid, on the contrary it can be argued he has a multitude of ideas.  Because he has so many, it is inevitable that some are worthwhile and deserving of praise.  But most are regurgitated and unsubstantiated opinion.  However, forgetting for just one minute whether Kerry is a Democrat or Republican, just based on reading this book, it seems that most of his ideas are going to mean big, big increases in taxes.  Of course, Kerry does not reveal that aspect in the book and you will not hear that in the media.

J C Bowman

-J. C. Bowman, a native of Cleveland, is a well informed and outspoken conservative educator.  He is Director for the Center for Education Innovation at Florida State University. Prior to this, he served as the Director for the Florida Department of Education Choice Office and as the Chief Policy Analyst of the Education Policy Unit for Florida Governor Jeb Bush.


Kerry's qualifications for President are suspect at best, and he does not make a strong case why he should become the leader of the free world. If Kerry believes that complaints about the president translate into votes for him, he better mull that over again with Tsongas, Dukakis or Mondale after sipping a bottle of Haut Brion in search for the Appellation Controlee. Regardless of the admiration from l'Humanité, Kerry should also avoid Jacques Chirac as his running mate.  Kerry should take for granted that voters across America still barely know who he is. When voters discover, as did pollster Peter Hart, that Teresa Heinz Kerry conjures up comparisons to Hillary Clinton he might want to let her skip some campaign stops particularly in the south.

According To CQ Weekly, John Kerry Has A "Thin Record" On Education. "[O]n education and health care, two of the most important domestic battlegrounds between Democrats and Republicans, Kerry has a thin record." (David Nather, "Kerry's Complex Record And His Pursuit Of The Presidency," CQ Weekly, 4/24/03).  "A Call to Service" will only serve to reinforce that opinion.

In his book, Kerry talks about improving the education system, but his solution seems to be: "Let's toss more money at the problem" (more pay for teachers, better school buildings). He never utters a word about getting back to basics (i.e., teaching kids to read and spell correctly, although he does recognize that too many high school students get into college with below-standard reading skills). He is weak on accountability.  Kerry agreed with and voted for the federal education mandate "No Child Left Behind," which he now attacks with vigor. He just does not seem to address what his education plan is or what it is going to cost taxpayers.  His education plan seems to be "leave no teacher union behind."  It's not July, but I can just hear the teacher union zealots' optimism in the summer air.

John Kerry's health-care plans likewise do not really address how they are going to be funded - he says he would make health care more universal and affordable. But how he would accomplish this task and make health care more affordable is ignored.  He cannot accomplish his campaign rhetoric, unless he performs surgery on the American taxpayer's wallet and removes more of their hard earned cash.

The final chapter of "A Call to Service" goes on and on about creating all kinds of volunteer organizations - everything from policing neighborhoods, which seems to be some combination of civil defense, neighborhood watch, and informant system, suggestive of totalitarian regimes of the past with potential of increased government intrusion. Although labeled as volunteerism, Kerry suggests paying people for what they do, notably giving kids a free college education in return for a couple of years of service. I don't know, maybe I am in need of more leftist indoctrination, but paying people for volunteering sounds an awful lot like work to me.

The other aspect of this suggestion is that if it is pure volunteerism and is expected---and he seems to imply that it would be---then it would also be a tax in itself.  That is to say if you work for the government or community you will not get paid. This also ignores what would probably be an enormous bureaucracy needed to administer all of these volunteer organizations.

However, Mr. Kerry fails to mention how this program would be funded.  The obvious answer, of course, is additional taxes. I  recommend reading this chapter to understand completely what he is proposing. John Kerry is indeed a liberal. This book will confirm his place among the intolerant elite of the left.  But Kerry has some commendable ideas in theory, but the reality is most of the aspects of these ideas are not viable as sound public policy to those who want less government.

Anthony Schinella the editor of The Winchester Star, a definite left-leaning newspaper in Winchester, Mass wrote:  "As someone who has watched Kerry over the years, seen him in other races, and observed him lose all spine when the tough votes came along, his surge is a big surprise. For 18 years, Kerry has done very little he can point to by way of accomplishment."

This is a highly readable book for those who oppose the policies of President George W. Bush, suitable for those of the liberal persuasion. "Call to Service" represents the viewpoint of the narrow-minded left.  It sympathetically depicts to taxpayers a false story that will inevitably leave them saddened, as well as distrustful of future government leaders.

While John Kerry will try to portray himself as a moderate, unfortunately and to his own detriment, he has outlined his plan in ink, just as Adolph Hitler did with his political manifesto Mein Kampf , which means My Struggle in German.

While Kerry is certainly not an evil man like Adolph Hitler, just a big government liberal, readers will discover the content of the propaganda is still repugnant.  His book clearly distorts the truth and tries to influence people to vote for him.  Written in a stern fashion for his political advantage, this book balances raw ambition with an unrealistic desire for a position the author, Mr. Kerry is incapable of fulfilling. Nevertheless, I highly recommended "A Call to Service" for anyone who has trouble sleeping, as a modern fairy-tale reminiscent of the Emperor Has No Clothes.  Somewhere in that communist utopia of Pyongyang, North Korea Kim Jong-il is probably reading a copy and smiling, with visions of nuclear weapons dancing in his head.