president who “won” despite getting fewer votes than his opponent
should have to work very hard to be elected again. If he also
presided over the loss of 2 million jobs he ought to be in
even bigger trouble. If that president is also bogged down
militarily in a foreign country when he said the mission was
already accomplished his problems would seem to be insurmountable.
His political obituary should be written if 3,000 people died
after warnings of a terror attack were ignored or mishandled.
Fortunately for President George W. Bush his opponent is Senator
John Kerry, a man who can’t seem to profit from the President’s
failures and lies.
Democratic party is headed for defeat if the nominee can’t
articulate coherent policies in response to Bush administration
incompetence. On the same day that National Security Adviser
Condoleezza Rice was on the hot seat before the commission
investigating September 11th, Kerry had no comment about the
commission, or about Rice’s testimony. Instead he declared
in a speech on economic policy that he would eliminate portions
of his own domestic agenda in order to have a balanced budget.
As Bush’s Iraq policy unraveled before our eyes Kerry’s only
comment was to say that he didn’t have a comment. Because he
already gave two speeches to wonkish establishment audiences
he didn’t feel the
need to add very much on the subject of Iraq.
is just as well. When he does have the courage to say something
we get these gems of
Kerry keeps repeating what he has been saying for months when
the Iraq situation is constantly changing. At this juncture
it is useless to expect other nations to step into the mess
they predicted would take place. When European nations told
us not to hit the hornet nest we called them “old Europe,” refused
to use the word “French” with anything, including potatoes,
and demonized them as ungrateful appeasers. Old Europe is now
saying I told you so and laughing at America’s expense. They
are not going to follow John Kerry’s advice and jump in when
marines are fighting house to house in Fallujah.
Americans watched scenes of carnage administration officials
backtracked from previous comments that either made the case
for going to war or that made it all seem easy. Secretary
of State Colin Powell has confessed that
his performance at the United Nations last year, complete
with a prop vial of fake anthrax, was based on information
that “…it now appears wasn’t so solid.” Secretary of Defense
Donald Rumsfeld flip flopped from his insistence in 2003
that more troops aren’t needed in Iraq. He now says that
more may be on the way. If Kerry is at a loss for comments
on Iraq he should at least be able to point out when administration
officials have lied to the American people about going to
difficulty in engaging the President on Iraq stems in large
part from his 2002 vote in favor of the use of force resolution.
The resolution not only gave the President approval to attack
militarily but it also allowed him to keep Congress in the
dark for 48 hours after starting a war. John Kerry voted
to cut himself and his colleagues out of the loop.
has tried to have it both
ways ever since. When Howard Dean was the flavor of the
month in the fall of 2003 Kerry voted against $87 billion
to pay for the reconstruction of Iraq. Now he doesn’t want
to own up to cutting the Bush purse strings. “I actually
did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it.”
Kerry strategy seems to be based on hope. He hopes that the
economy will not improve before November and that Iraq will
be such a mess that he won’t have to say anything about it.
This passivity is fatal in a presidential election. Incumbents
are not unseated unless their challengers actually challenge
Democrats must also stop being passive with Kerry. When Kerry
came close to backing the Bush policy of ousting Hugo Chavez,
the elected President of Venezuela, Democrats were silent.
It was obvious that the linking of Chavez with Fidel Castro
was an attempt to get the votes of Florida’s Cuban community.
Florida Cubans are solidly Republican. Democratic saber rattling
at Castro never changes that fact. Kerry not only sold
his soul but he sold his soul in a losing effort.
in Florida raises other issues of course. Florida should
no longer be called the Sunshine State. Since November 2000
it has been the Amnesia State. Kerry and the rest of the
Democratic party establishment refuse to talk about how the
state was really lost. Thousands of eligible voters, most
of them black, were removed from the rolls months before
Election Day. Kerry has said nothing about the vote purge
and nothing about the new electronic voting machines that
will make fraud
easy and difficult to trace.
can be carried over the finish line if Democrats aren’t afraid
to embrace a good fight on policy issues and admit that the
nominee is in serious need of help. Unity is the mantra for
Democrats these days. Political unity usually comes about after
post-argument kissing and making up. Democrats must speak
up when Kerry tries to be Bush light or doesn’t know what to
do when opportunity knocks at his door. Kerry was given
a gift when Iraq and 9/11 both broke in his favor. If he can’t
capitalize when the tide turns in his favor and the party
doesn’t take him to task we can prepare to watch another Bush
inauguration in January.
Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly
in . Ms.
Kimberley is a freelance writer living in New York City. She
can be reached via e-Mail at [email protected]. You can read more
of Ms. Kimberley's writings at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com/