Kerry’s struggle with fishery policy illustrates his strengths and weaknesses

The Seattle Times wraps up its excellent week-long series on the presidential candidates’ environmental stances with a story on John Kerry’s long struggle with fishery policy in the senator’s home state, Massachusetts. It’s a revealing case study of the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. On the positive side, Kerry has worked for years, often outside the spotlight, to balance the needs of the state’s struggling fisherfolk with the needs of the region’s cod, haddock, and other groundfish stocks, which scientific studies have shown to be devastated by overfishing. In the process, he has demonstrated his willingness to dig into the details and do the hard, unglamorous work of crafting good policy. He has also revealed what’s commonly perceived to be a weakness: An addiction to nuance and a seeming inability to craft concise, effective expressions of his positions, which leave him vulnerable to demagogues on every side of every issue. Read the whole series — there’s much food for thought for the politically engaged enviro.