Washington Post columnist William Raspberry had a good column yesterday titled “Nader’s Advice to Kerry.” Compare it with Sunday’s article by Jim VandeHei about the similarities of the views and proposed policies of President Bush and Sen. Kerry.

Kerry is turning out to be Howard Dean’s followers’ worst nightmare. He seems incapable of challenging Bush on some of the issues Raspberry outlines. Kerry seems afraid to be a Democrat, instead positioning himself as a neo-liberal, a centrist, a moderate. Whatever the term, it’s one that lacks a backbone. If Kerry is going carry out policies similar to Bush’s, what have we gained? And if you argue that he’s simply moderating his views for the stump and will act very differently once elected, how have we advanced the nature of the political dialogue in this country? No matter how bad I think Bush’s policies have been for this country, I’m not sure I’m willing to vote for one liar over another. Maybe a vote for Nader and his denying Kerry the election will be enough for the Democratic party to change its ways.

As we’ve seen in Virginia, a Democratic leader can achieve the improbable. Not that Gov. Warner has been a radical, but he achieved a clearly Democratic agenda in funding education and made no bones about raising taxes. Sure, he sold it as a tax cut for 65 percent of the populace, but if he can raise taxes in a state sure to go to Bush in November, can’t Kerry take a truly Democratic agenda a little further in Iowa, Ohio, Minnesota and other swing states?