Random thoughts and insights – always shaken, never stirred

Observations on an Election

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It has come down to flu shots.

In an election where late night TV comedians are running faux Kerry commercials where he uncovers a devastating environmental catastrophe for which Bush is (naturally) responsible – all over America leaves are turning brown and falling to the ground – it’s pretty clear that John Kerry has descended into parody.

Consider: His wife is a loon, but because she has a billion plus dollars she’s allowed to go out and say whatever she likes. This includes “shove it” to a reporter, calling voters who disagree with Kerry “idiots,” criticizing relief workers for sending blankets to hurricane victims sagely informing us that they can “go naked,” recommending that arthritis sufferers should consume daily nine white raisins soaked in gin, plus a litany of liberal shibboleths such as our troops are dying for oil, Bush has Osama on ice already, and all this while she refuses to reveal whether or not her vast wealth is clandestinely supporting her husband’s campaign. She was last seen insulting the First Lady for never having held a “real job” as if she ever has, and then after apologizing that being a teacher and librarian was good enough, she managed to dismiss all those women (and not a few men) who choose to stay home to raise their children. Kerry’s had two real jobs – the Navy and being a prosecutor. She’s had none, though she is living proof all the money in the world won’t buy an ounce of class.

In a Kerry administration, this woman who is not eligible for the presidency, who considers herself a citizen of the world, who hasn’t earned a dime of her money, will be calling the shots. Kerry has a no record of executive experience in anything, anywhere except for four months on a swift boat where he was hardly known as a model officer to judge by his contemporaries. This same man has an insignificant record as a legislator over the past twenty years, but does have a record of opposing every action which advanced victory in the Cold War from Vietnam to the Reagan defense buildup to actions against communist-backed governments in Central America.

Of course, that last one is part and parcel of Kerry’s theme of always opposing the United States if favor of the communists. Certainly, he is the only United States senator to have his picture hanging in a museum in Hanoi dedicated to his efforts to help them. Later, Kerry opposed the first Gulf War and whitewashed an investigation into POWs in Vietnam. For Kerry, there is no action that can be taken without the permission of the UN, a corrupt dictator’s club. Naturally, he attempted to inflate four months in Vietnam as the sole reason to crown him president, while doing everything in his power to ignore the intervening three decades.

Running mate John Edwards has an equally unimpressive legislative record. A one-term senator from NC who would not likely have won reelection, he has no significant legislation to his credit, and no relevant experience to bring to the second highest office in the land. He does bring the millstone of the trial lawyers, but to hear Edwards talk of it, he and Kerry have the King’s Touch and will be able to heal the blind and the lame, not to mention scrofula.

Add to this a campaign singular in its ineptitude. Hardly a day goes by without a significant blunder, gaffe, flip, flop, mistake, or calamity. Kerry spends most of his time accusing the President of being responsible for everything from the war in Iraq to athlete’s foot. (It is indeed a wonder that Kerry has not found a way to blame Bush for 9/11, although his surrogates have.) It beggars belief that Bush could be both a amiable dunce on the one hand and a Machiavellian schemer on the other. In repeating the canard that Bush lied about WMDs, Kerry forgets that if Bush truly intended to mislead, it would have been a very easy thing to plant WMDs in Iraq. Similarly, other attacks such as those on Halliburton presuppose an ignorance of fact on the part of voters which Kerry has come to take for granted in the electorate.

An example of such a patronizing attitude was on display in the second debate when he assumed that the only people in the debate audience earning over $200K a year were himself, the President, and the moderator Charlie Gibson. Such a tone-deafness is amazing when you consider I’m typing this in a modest café in Boston whose owner – far from rich – falls into that category on the basis of his small business. How many pizza shop owners were in the audience that night? The only thing we hear about Kerry himself is assurances he has a plan for everything though he can’t be bothered actually explaining them (and if asked, refers us to his website) or that he would do just what Bush is doing, only differently.

Then there’s the pandering. Kerry has spent his career straddling the fence, trying to be all things to all people. Out of his own mouth, “I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it.” But it has gotten absolutely disgusting this campaign season. Take, for example, hunting. Kerry represents people who hate guns, and would like to take them away from the rest of us. Yet he is constantly seen pandering to hunters in swing states (although those better qualified than I say that if one looks at his stance one would think he’d never handled a weapon in his life). So that we might think him a regular guy, he is constantly photographed throwing baseballs into the dirt, footballs between his legs, butting his head on soccer balls, and catching footballs like a he’s never seen one before. He repeats the baseless canard that a million black voters were disenfranchised in 2000, and panders to pro-lifers saying he believes life begins at conception and to pro-choicers saying he will impose a litmus test of judges. He accuses Bush of breaching the wall between church and state while he himself pontificates from pulpits and claims his faith will guide him in the White House. He calls Vietnam veterans his “band of brothers” unless they oppose him in which case they are “right-wing smear artists.” He repeats the lie that Bush will reinstate the draft when he knows it’s Democrats who have been pushing it and he himself revealed a compulsory volunteer program in his own acceptance speech. He scares senior citizens on Social Security when he himself will endanger it by avoiding any reform at all. He says that Bush has banned stem cell research when he is in fact the only President to allow it.

To believe Kerry, one must be able to envision Bush and Cheney in the Oval Office cackling with glee as the rub their hands together over all the people they will harm. He callously invoked the Vice President’s daughter in a crude attempt to influence religious conservatives against the President. The list goes on and on. On foreign policy, he has said at various times that he believes that US troops should only be committed to battle at the behest of the UN, that he would be better at diplomacy while simultaneously insulting the allies fighting at our side as “the coerced, the bribed, and the fraudulent.” However true it may have been, referring to Saddam’s army as so degraded that the Italian army could beat it is not diplomatic. Carping that Iraq was the wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time while simultaneously saying that he will kill the terrorists wherever they are. Well, they’re in Iraq and they were before we invaded. He says he would have focused on Afghanistan yet he and his supporters opposed action in that country, saying we would be in a quagmire in the “graveyard of empires.” He says he has always supported our troops, yet he voted against such support time and again and is the same man who never repudiated his public charge that US soldiers in Vietnam were war criminals. He has consistently ignored or downplayed what occurred on 9/11, save when it suited him electorally, pretending that we can go back to the 9/10 world and reduce terrorism to the level of a “nuisance.” He contends that he will somehow magically transport the nation back to the 90s, and that his new approach will somehow make us safer. That there has been no major terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11 is not somehow sufficient evidence that Bush has kept us safe.

He is damaging the electoral process by quietly endorsing the members of his party who want foreign election observers, perpetuating the myths of the stolen election and disenfranchised voters, and by pre-positioning lawyers to challenge the election on the slightest pretext, or even none at all if he can get away with it. By rights, Kerry should be doing better. Regardless of what I believe, the President has left himself vulnerable by failing to explain effectively his policies and the reasons behind them to the public. He has allowed his political enemies to define the debate time and again, and has not forcefully explained to the nation that we are at war. He has recognized the hostility of the mainstream media, but has not confronted their bias (q.v. CBS). Bush has presided over two wars which have gone splendidly by historical standards but which have been relentlessly attacked without adequate response. Yet his policy is a radical departure and controversial at home and abroad – he needs to do a better job of bringing those who disagree along. The President has simply failed to fathom the deep antipathy the MSM feel towards him and the extent to which they are willing to cash in their chips to see him go down. Further, Kerry started with nearly a third of the electorate that will do anything to see Bush defeated and can be taken completely for granted by whoever was the Democratic nominee.

Bush needed to fight for both his base and the broad middle – this advantage should have had Bush on the defensive and did in the beginning. Kerry has been a spectacularly bad candidate. He has never managed to poll outside of the margin of error in any reputable poll and has in fact trailed for much of the race. Yet, the in the final weeks of the campaign, we see the race at a so-called statistical dead heat in the polls. Personally, I find it unbelievable. It suggests to me that one of two things is occurring, perhaps both. One, the pollsters are all at sea and have no clue whatsoever what’s going on. Given the various methodologies, assumptions, and sampling procedures, this is quite plausible. I live in Boston which Kerry will carry handily, yet even here there are a lot more Bush voters than one might expect. How much more so in so-called “flyover country?”

Second, it may very well be that the electorate is so set, so polarized, that we could nominate a donkey and an elephant with similar results. Possibly. I’ll confess to knowing very few people who’ve changed political affiliation in adulthood, and even fewer since 2000. That might reflect my insularity, or the fact that conservatives in Massachusetts tend not to bring up politics with people we don’t know very well. Still, the fact remains that the Democrats have nominated the worst candidate since George McGovern against an arguably vulnerable incumbent but have basically been in the forties the whole time. Is there such a basic disconnect between red America and blue America (BTW, I prefer the other way around, before the MSM switched the colors so we wouldn’t associate the Dems with the color red) that we are stuck in this pattern? It has, if one discounts the Perot/Nader factors, repeated three times now, and threatens to do so again. Or, are the pollsters clueless, and the election not really in doubt as 2002 might suggest? We’ll find out on November 2nd, but for my money, the electorate is not that divided, not that clueless, and not that swayed by tired rhetoric. Kerry is not statesman enough to accept the will of the people as he is already proving, and so we must hope that the margin of victory is lawyer-proof. Either way, we must all hope that we don’t see a replay of 2000 for whatever reason – undermining the confidence in our democratic process and weakening the foundations of the Republic.

The preceding post is more in the vein of an editorial, and as such, is not intended to foster conversation. I recognize that readers will inhabit a spectrum of agreement with what I’ve written here, and that’s to be expected. However, for my own reasons I felt this needed to be more of an observation, and so I’m not entertaining comments on this post on this blog. If it provokes thought, or comment on other blogs, that is well and good. This is the first time I’ve done this, and I trust it will be continue to be a rare exception.


Written by martinipundit

October 21, 2004 at 3:37 pm

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