Monday, November 08, 2004


Another letter The Nation passed on

This was back when I was much less enthusiastic about Kerry. I must admit my opinion of him changed dramatically after the first presidential debate, to the point that I now admire him. Also, I suppose I should eat my words about him being "unelectable", since I truly do believe he won the election. Even so, I think a candidate farther to the left would have needed less time to define differences. And could Bush even try to outbible Sharpton? The man's a reverend, for God's sake!

To put a time stamp on this, it was just after Kerry clinched the democratic nomination.


In lemming-like lockstep, the democrats have finally plummeted to their nadir (no, not Nader--that would actually be good news!). How else do you explain their "anybody but Bush" strategy resulting in the candidate simultaneously most like Bush (Joe Lieberman notwithstanding) and least likely to defeat him?

Is Kerry really that electable? If so, to whom other than the handful of democrats that vote in the primaries? To republicans? Only when Bush isn't on the same ballot. To independents? Clark and Edwards take this one. To southern voters? It's Clark and Edwards once again. To the tens of millions of democrats who didn't vote in 2000? No, their guys are Dean and Kucinich. How about Greens? Again, Kucinich. Put a different way, will anyone vote for Kerry that didn't vote for Michael Dukakis in 1988? If electable is all we’re looking for in a candidate, why wouldn’t we just vote for George Bush?

Nonetheless, if Kerry somehow beats the odds--maybe he unwittingly nabs bin Laden at Fenway or something--then what is it that democrats actually win? By and large, a wealthy and powerful individual whose post-September 11 rhetoric and voting record rendered him indistinguishable from any Bush republican until the day he launched his presidential campaign. For the Iraq War, for the Patriot Act, for “free” trade, for Bush’s tax scams, and the list goes on.

But like it or not, Kerry is who we must vote for. We know the mantra: a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush. That it sounds an awful lot like "You're either with us or against us" is only coincidence, I’m sure. Or is it really the case that the same national groupthink we thank for United We Stand bumper stickers on every minivan and dutiful assent to mindless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is now our one and only hope for defeating George Bush in November?

Well okay, democrats. I may just go along with the crowd, but only if your uber-candidate does three simple things:

1. Offers a plan to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq immediately.
2. Offers a plan to provide quality education and health care to all Americans.
3. Offers a plan to give gay Americans the same rights as everybody else.

Otherwise, I’ll just write in Dennis Kucinich, realizing full well that if the election comes down to a single vote in California, I could have made the difference. But then again, so could John Kerry. And he's the one running for president, not me.

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