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THE WRATH OF JOHN
By David Podvin
It appears that John Kerry is planning to seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, and assuming that General Custer is still unavailable, some Democrats will doubtlessly support the senator. I will not be joining them because, despite what many consider irrefutable proof to the contrary, I am not crazy. At least not that crazy, which isn’t saying much. Even the lunatic who shot Reagan to impress Jodie Foster isn’t that crazy.
Kerry was unable to beat pitiful George W. Bush, whose record of incompetence is matched only by his record of graft. If Thomas Jefferson was the mind of the presidency, and Abraham Lincoln its heart, then surely Bush is the plumber’s cleavage. Nevertheless, the Purple Heart-laden Kerry was totally helpless against attacks on his patriotism by a deserter whose military career consisted of safeguarding Alabama taverns from Ho Chi Minh.
The die was cast shortly after Kerry clinched the nomination when, reacting to a Bush surrogate’s scurrilous allegations of adultery, the senator uttered perhaps the most delusional words ever spoken in the English language: “I am not worried about these smears, and will not respond in kind because the American people always repudiate gutter level politics.”
Game. Set. Match.
The attempts to rationalize Kerry’s feeble campaign have been as lame as the candidate himself. For example, his defenders have justified the loss by pointing out that presidents never fail to gain another term during wartime. This contention is technically true, providing you don’t count Lyndon Johnson and Harry Truman as having been presidents.
Kerry’s sycophants also blame his demise on the mendacious tongues and poison pens of the corporate media, the same corporate media for which Kerry has been a legislative concubine lo these many years. How fitting that the senator now feels betrayed by the very communications conglomerates for which he has so long betrayed his own supporters.
Another flaccid excuse involves the contention that Kerry was “caught off guard by the unrelenting ferocity of the Bush assault”. For years, I have known (and you have known) exactly what the 2004 Bush election strategy was going to be: demonize the Democratic nominee. The Democrats could have nominated God Almighty, and the GOP would have attacked Her moral values as being incompatible with traditional American family life. There are aborigines living in the jungles of Papua New Guinea who had a firm grasp on this concept, but not John Kerry or his advisors.
The most absurd rationale to date is that Kerry lost because, although Bush may not be eloquent, the man is deceptively shrewd, and combined with the power of incumbency this quality made him invincible. In fact, Bush is deceptively moronic, which is to say he is even more stupid than he appears to be, assuming that is possible.
Let’s review the bidding: Bush committed crimes at Harken Energy and got caught. He lied about driving under the influence and got caught. He lied about his complicity in the Enron scandal and got caught. He lied about weapons of mass destruction and got caught. He wore a radio receiver during the debates and got caught.
The Democrats always grant Bush a free pass, but that doesn’t change the fact his I.Q. could freeze water. He insists his parents are named George and Barbara, yet all available evidence points directly towards Jethro and Ellie Mae.
Improbably, our vaunted leader is as inarticulate as he is unintelligent. It is revealing that when he addressed the United Nations, the diplomats from English-speaking countries insisted on wearing translation earphones.
No, Bush was neither shrewd nor invincible. The Kerry people may self-servingly claim that they were up against Machiavelli, but they were being opposed by Gilligan, albeit a malicious version of the Skipper’s little buddy. Bush is just a really dumb guy with a really bad resume. Even so, he was too much for John Kerry.
It is not as though the senator made a fateful mistake or two that cost him the race - his entire campaign was a mistake, a burlesque of a political operation from start to finish. As the Iowa caucuses approached, Kerry was a distant also-ran until Howard Dean became possessed by an unfortunate compulsion to tell the truth and blurted out that American democracy requires the decentralization of mass media.
In a country where the press is monopolized by multinational corporate thugs, Dean’s declaration was the political equivalent of strutting into a cave full of cannibals and shouting, “Lunch time!” After Dean disappeared faster than a cheesecake at Rush Limbaugh’s house, Kerry gained the nomination by default, whereupon he went vacationing.
Windsurfing, to be exact. While Bush and his minions were busy stereotyping Kerry as an elitist Massachusetts pantywaist, the Senator sought to debunk that gross mischaracterization by windsurfing at Martha’s Vineyard. This populist attempt to align with blue collar workers somehow backfired; as Kerry political mastermind Homer Simpson was later heard to say, “D’oh!”
Things proceeded to head south like Ann Coulter around a wealthy industrialist’s open fly. At Kerry’s behest, speakers at the Democratic National Convention studiously avoided criticizing Bush because campaign consultant Robert Shrum feared doing so might suppress GOP turnout. In retrospect, the Shrum strategy was flawless as record numbers of Republicans stormed the polls on Election Day, thereby allowing Kerry to recommence windsurfing.
During the debates, when Kerry could have easily shattered the right wing portrayal of him as a weak and indecisive leader, he instead assured voters that his foreign policy would pass the “world test”. Spoken to a nation populated largely by chauvinistic yahoos, this statement confirmed widespread suspicions that Kerry had bet his entire fortune on Bush to win the election.
Despite the senator’s best efforts to be buried in a landslide, the hapless Bush achieved a winning margin that was perilously narrow, and there was mounting evidence that his lead in the pivotal state of Ohio had been fraudulently obtained. This was the moment when Kerry confirmed Republican charges that capitulation is always his first option. Rather than demanding an ethical vote count, he opted to surrender unconditionally.
Kerry has proven the conservatives were right – he is unfit to be president. The senator combines a lack of resolve with a lack of substance. He is devoid of the essential charisma that wins over non-ideological citizens (Chuck Norris has greater emotional range). And when it comes to leadership ability, he is without any powers of persuasion. John Kerry could not convince Jenna Bush to get drunk.
What remains unknown is why Kerry is so angry with Democrats that he seeks to impose himself on them again. Maybe he resents that they loyally supported him even as he was stabbing them in the back. Perhaps he is embittered that they gave him fifteen million dollars more than he felt like spending. It could be that seeing some voters stand in line all day just to cast a ballot on his behalf was greater provocation than the senator could bear. But irrespective of whatever is motivating Kerry to run in 2008, the decision displays a level of vindictiveness unseen in American society since Ted Nugent carried out his threat to start singing in public.
George W. Bush bankrupted this nation and shredded the Bill Of Rights. He has implemented policies of conquest and torture that have sullied our national reputation. He is not just another bad Republican president – he is a malignant presence in the White House. Had Bush been running in 2004 against someone who was willing to tell the bitter truth about the current administration, Smirk would have been routed and sent whimpering back to Crawford. Fortunately for the GOP, and unfortunately for the United States, the Republican presidential nominee was running against Kerry.
That must never happen again. While American politics may be nothing more than performance art designed to create the illusion of democracy, Kerry’s presidential candidacy was an excruciatingly unfunny comic farce. It was an electoral version of the epic Hollywood box office bomb Ishtar. The makers of that rancid turkey had the good sense not to attempt a sequel, and the senator should faithfully follow their lead.
In 2004, John Forbes Kerry betrayed his party with a performance that fell far short of mediocre. He had a golden opportunity to save America, and he blew it. The postmodern JFK should now resign himself to staying in the Senate for the duration of a political career that has been tediously long on profile and painfully short on courage.
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