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Posted by Bob · September 24th, 2004 · No Comments

Let me start out by saying that I really like the way Mark Morford of SFGate.com writes. I look forward to his weekly columns. His style of writing is different in so many ways but the main thing I notice is that you need a heart and a brain to write like that. There is a passion to his words and his words often describe my own feelings.

This week Morford has written with his usual intelligent passion but the topic saddens me.

But I suppose this is the saddest part of all. That is, how cheerless and heartbreaking is it when you are essentially forced to wish that your candidate would be more ruthless, more cutthroat, more ferocious. When deep down you long for a little dignity among your leaders, some humanitarian deftness, some way to salvage a shred of spirit and hope amongst the political carnage.

The candidate is Kerry. The Opponent is the Bush Election Machine. Truth and the Issues are the victims.

Yes folks, what we gots here is a murder scene…

He is not Bill Clinton.

Just gotta say it again, right off, because it is, quite possibly, still the most difficult fact for most moderates and Demos to accept, even now: Kerry is not Clinton. Kerry is not JFK. Kerry is not quite even Al Gore. We have to accept it. Let’s go from there.

John F. Kerry still struggles to find a spark, an issue that will launch him into the imaginations of the Americans. Kerry is experienced. Kerry is intelligent. Kerry is educated and has a long record of military and public service. So why can’t America find him?

…it has to be acknowledged: Kerry ain’t exactly a firestorm of magnetism and inspiration. He is, unfortunately, more than a little staid, pedestrian, beige. On Letterman, on “The Daily Show,” on Leno, he was finely honed and well groomed and grinning and likable enough, a true die-hard patrician politician almost completely devoid of modern-day TV-ready sparkle and zing. He’s just so … solid. And book learned. And experienced. And deeply intelligent. American translation: yawn.

Perhaps one reason is that Kerry wants to talk about issues. In the opinion of my friend Jeff, who has a knack for boiling down the world to a few sentences, what’s an issue to a Democrat just isn’t an issue to a Republican.

“Issues”. The Libs won’t discuss Con issues and the Cons won’t discuss Lib issues. Just because one side deems something an “issue” doesn’t make it an issue for someone else.

The election of Clinton proved that moral issues weren’t an issue with the voters. Liberal fear-mongering comes in the guise of the Neo-cons starving your children and leaving the elderly to die slow painful deaths because you wouldn’t be able to get your meds. ..

(Quoted with permission from Jeff from our plethora of emails solving all of the world’s ills)

So if an election is not about issues, then what is it that American voters are looking for?

Back to Morford:

Or is it the lack of a winking charm, of a flirtatious Clintonesque gleam in the eye that says he’s onto this whole bulls– game and knows how to play it better than anyone and can flaunt the well-known fact that any 8-year-old can outmaneuver George W. Bush in a contest of intellect and acumen and simple algebra? Yea, verily.

Is that what the Democrats lack, that Kennedy / Clinton youth and exuberance that fills voter’s hearts with hope for a warm and fuzzy future? Is that all it takes?

If that’s the case, how did W get in?

The GOP, they are dialed in like never before. They are on point. They know how to violently exploit the NASCAR dad’s fears of gays, of women, of “furriners.” They know how to terrify gullible soccer moms with images of swarthy fundamentalists who want to eat their precious babies.

Call it the Rove effect. It’s all in the spin, baby. It’s all in the presentation. It has little to do with your own atrocities and lies and contemptible actions, nothing to do with your inept military service or environmental records, nothing to do with letting Osama run free while bombing other nonthreatening countries at will. It has everything to do with image, with personal vendetta, with “character.”

Finally we have found our crime scene. Lying in pools of exploited emotions are the important issues of the day, literally our future dead on the floor. Instead of a vision, American voters are handed fear. Instead of debate we have vendettas.

Is this business as usual in American politics, or have we turned a nasty corner where winning is everything and leading is something you do between elections?

According to Jeff:

Both sides are equally adept at character assassination. Both sides will say what they believe will put them in the White House. Both sides will pander to the fears of the masses. It is what they will remember at the last.

Neither side can lay claim to the moral high ground. Politics in this country is a filthy business, and remember that it is now and will always be just that…a business.

Jeff’s words were written before Dan Rather’s forged document fiasco but after the Swift Boat people were connected to W’s campaign. Aw hell, does it even matter when these words were written?

According to Morford:

Same as it ever was? Maybe. But this time, there’s a decidedly malicious GOP-bred methodology at work, one that seems to be operating at a level normally reserved for dictatorships and military coups and brutal autocratic regimes.

I find myself agreeing with both opinions here. Never in my memory do I recall such an arrogance coming from an administration as comes from Washington today. Cheney, Ashcroft, Rumsfield…do you really feel like any of these men care about your opinion? These guys have literally started wars on our behalf, but do you recall having anything to say about it?

So, if you’re of like mind and want to see Bush gone, what has to happen?

Which is exactly why so many of us desperately want Kerry to be cutthroat and ferocious and deadly. We want him to be savage and quick witted and able to effortlessly tick off the shopping list of astounding BushCo atrocities on one hand while rabbit-punching Karl Rove’s big puffy face with the other, all while knocking out a clever pun related to Dubya sitting on Cheney’s lap and burping softly, like a stupefied baby.

Yeah! Some Democrats are screaming to take the gloves off and fight like the Republicans fight. Let’s give them a taste of what they dish out. Or as Harry Truman was quoted as saying…

I never give anyone Hell. I just tell the truth, and the Republicans THINK it’s Hell !

(Thanks for Mark King for bringing that quote to my attention)

But lest we forget, we are standing at the site of a murder. We already have seen truth twisted and exploited and murdered beyond recognition. We have already seen dignity and integrity abandoned and left for dead. We have already witnessed the volume raised to a level unheard of before, and the noise is deafening to the point that most Americans can’t listen (vote for Kerry and the terrorists will attack!).

Fighting like the opposition fights may win an election, but what about after that? In my opinion, if we keep lowering the bar, I am convinced that someone will still crawl under it.

The Democrats have to start looking long and hard at the JFK / Clinton model again. Youth, intelligence and charisma may be what it takes to paint the incumbents as old and tired. Americans used to be owners of a dream, Democrats need to help Joe Lunchpail realize that dream. And they need to assure Mr. Lunchpail that his children won’t be sent to foreign countries and put in harm’s way for someone else’s dream. That message trancends religion and region, two things that the Republicans are exploiting to their advantage.

Democrats need to talk at an “everyman” level about “everyman” problems and provide plausible solutions. In my opinion, if Kerry had placed more blame for the price of gas on Bush’s war he’d be better off in the polls than he is today. Don’t debate these guys on issues they created, go back to the basics.

Crime scenes leave evidence but we have seen this before. We know that democracy as we know it is being murdered by twisting fact into fear, truth into lies and religion into warfare. People watch a news media that agrees with their position instead of getting informed. The “for us or against us” mentality is a cancer to free speech and patriotism.

A new, youthful leader with an inclusive platform based on the needs of average American is the candidate the Democrats need to find.

All the evidence points to another four years of the current crime wave.

The Democrats have to search long and hard during that time to prevent these crimes from becoming “business as usual”.

(Mark Morford’s complete article can be found here: http://www.sfgate.com/columnists/morford/ )

Categories: 2004 Presidential Election


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