Sunday, November 02, 2003

John Kerry Implodes

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry should put himself out of his misery and end his campaign for president. In yesterday's New York Times we see Kerry manage to both contradict himself and look foolish in an ill advised photo-op, all in a losing effort to sink Howard Dean, the Democratic front runner.

It wasn't too long ago that Kerry was the front runner, at least the right wing thought he was. Rush Limbaugh took to making fun of his looks and calling him "Lurch." One Republican said that he looked, "French." Mon Dieu! But Kerry snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by voting in favor of the resolution allowing Bush to go to war against Iraq. He has tried to get out of it by saying he only wanted to threaten Saddam Hussein but it just doesn't wash. The resolution gave the President the authority to strike Iraq militarily and not tell Congress so much as the time of the day for an additional 48 hours. Kerry knows this of course, but he blew his chances for the nomination with that one vote.

Kerry is Exhibit A in demonstrating the political dangers of listening to the conventional wisdom. In the case of Iraq the conventional wisdom said that Bush was popular, so popular that anyone who confronted him was dead meat before he even got started. It said that we were going to beat Saddam Hussein and that any politician with common sense didn't want to explain a vote against the war after American troops marched triumphantly into Baghdad. The candidates who voted in support of the war, Kerry, Gephardt, Edwards, and Lieberman can only sit back and watch Howard Dean run away with the nomination because they voted to back the President on Iraq. Despite his supposed anti-war credentials Wesley Clark initially supported the Bush effort as well.

Actually the collective bad decision making goes back to November 2000. After Bush was selected the victor by the Supreme Court we were told by the press and punditry that most people didn't care and had in fact "gotten over it." I never got over the theft of democracy and I knew I was not alone. Millions of Americans are still angry about the selection of George W. Bush and more than anything else want a democratic candidate who is unafraid to take Bush on.

Unfortunately none of the remaining anti-war candidates, Kucinich, Sharpton, and Moseley-Braun has a serious chance of getting the nomination. Although I have to point out that Moseley-Braun has replaced her previous lame debate statement, "I come from a law enforcement background," with " We can't just cut and run," in discussing the ludicrous and grotesque request for $87 billion in tax payer money to bail out the Bush failure.

Kerry has now resorted to shooting pheasants in Iowa. His point, if indeed he has one, is to prove that he is not anti-gun owner. At the same time he chides for Dean for seeming to side with the NRA on the issue of regulation of hand guns. How important is the issue of gun control in determining the nominee and winner next November? It isn't important at all, so Kerry's emphasis only emphasizes his desperation.

John Kerry doesn't look quite as silly as Dukakis in a tank, but he comes close. The issue for Democrats desperate to defeat is Bush is very simple. The nominee has to be someone who was willing to speak out against the Iraq war, the act which most embodied all that is wrong with the Bush administration. It saddens me that Kerry and most of other democratic candidates were so craven, cynical or both that they missed an opportunity to lead the nation away from the lure of militarism.