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MH1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 07:45 AM
Original message
Sometimes what you're looking for is already right in front of you.
I just posted the following to a thread in GD-p titled "Neil Young's "Looking for A Leader" Is Now My 2008 Theme Song." I had listened to that song last night and although I like the song, my immediate thought was that I'm not really looking (although it doesn't hurt to have more than one great leader, if they work together).

As I composed this I realized it was a good opportunity to tie together some key points about why I support John Kerry and what I took from the 2004 campaign, so I thought I would share it here, too.

The op I was responding to is here:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Here's my full response for those who don't want to foray into GD-P (but it's not a bad thread, so you may want to).

~~~~~~~~~~

7. Sometimes what you're looking for is already right in front of you.

I know the leader I'm looking for - it's John Kerry.

I just read the Scheer article (http://www.alternet.org/mediaculture/35568 ) and while he gets it a bit wrong about the Iraq quote - wrong about what was said and the reason for it (guess the truth still hasn't caught up with the lie), he is probably right about what Kerry should have said...but read what else Scheer says, where he nails it about the most fundamental requirement of leadership:

OR: Are Americans capable of recognizing a good president?

RS: I do. I think the problem here was the failure of the democrats. When Kerry was asked by Bush, "Knowing what you know now, would you have gone into Iraq?" he should have said, "No." He should have said, "You lied to Congress, you lied to the American people, it's unconscionable." He would have won the election, but Kerry was not comfortable in his own skin. Here's the boy-scout war hero who seemed to be faking it, and yet in real life, this guy performed every time. And there's George W., who has been faking it his whole life and somehow came across as more genuine.


The rest of Scheer's article is about how, in order to win, candidates tend to buckle under to the manipulative tactics they must pass through in the campaign, and then fail to live up to their former selves once they do win office.

Having studied him closely since the 2004 campaign, I strongly believe that Kerry will never buckle under like that. He will find a way to win within the framework that is forced upon him - but he will keep his integrity and bring it to the job of righting this country from its current disastrous course. And THAT quality - if you believe the general thesis of Scheer's interview - makes John Kerry a very rare and special commodity in our corrupt political world.

Where Kerry failed in 2004 - and he came damned close to not failing - was to understand and cope with the framework of manipulation in order to win. Between strong winds, damaged hearing from Vietnam, and thinking he knew what the question was, he effed up that day at the Grand Canyon - but it was the failure of follow-up by the campaign to effectively correct the misstatement that has us still having to correct people like Scheer even today. And the campaign probably failed there because they couldn't figure out how to handle it successfully in the manipulative media environment that Scheer describes.

Kerry is a very smart man who isn't afraid to confront his own mistakes, and analyze and learn from them. That bodes well for an effective adjustment to better handle the unusual challenges of a presidential campaign the second time around.

As for "not comfortable in his skin": anyone who knows Kerry knows that is not at all true generally - but given the physical stresses of a campaign and the manipulative atmosphere which I strongly suspect was way beyond what Kerry had experienced in his Massachusetts races, as nasty as some of them were - there were probably many moments during the campaign where he wasn't his usual relaxed and focused self. So Scheer's comment there is probably true to some extent within the context of the campaign, although it had nothing to do with Kerry answering the "go into Iraq" question wrong, because that was simply mis-hearing the question. Again, the "comfort" issue is a problem where he will be better prepared next time, because he's been through it once now and it won't be foreign to him anymore. I have difficulty imagining any "new" candidate stepping forward who would not have to go through the learning process that Kerry did in 2004. We just don't have that many Bill Clintons willing to run for president, and in any case I'll take Kerry's politics over the Clinton charm anyday.

I suspect I'll get a lot of responses nixing Kerry for one reason or another...but that's okay. I'm speaking for myself. I'm certainly open to other leaders too - but I'm not going to turn away from a great one we already have.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 08:14 AM
Response to Original message
1. Excellent post!
I accept everything you say, but I'm still one of the ones who believe Bush came out on top because of fraud. This statement by Scheer makes winning so elemental:

He should have said, "You lied to Congress, you lied to the American people, it's unconscionable." He would have won the election, but Kerry was not comfortable in his own skin.



Kerry:

"He misled every one of us," Kerry said. "That's one reason why I'm running to be president of the United States."


"I will not let him off the hook throughout this campaign with respect to America's credibility and credibility to me because if he lied he lied to me personally," he said.


As for the question about U.S. intelligence, Kerry said he has led the call for a congressional investigation and pledged, "We will get to the bottom of this."




So what happened?
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MH1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 08:29 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. I think Scheer's main point is about the media manipulation.
So sure, Kerry did say those things, and Scheer kind of missed the boat on the details, but it is true that the Kerry campaign wasn't quite effective enough in playing the media game - they came damned close, but in the end that didn't get it done. (Of course they didn't get much help from the Dem infrastructure - oh wait, what infrastructure? - but solving that was another part of the game).

Despite blowing it on some of the details regarding Kerry, I think Scheer's general point is correct about what a presidential campaign requires of a candidate and how it grinds up their integrity to learn to play the game. And I think this shows how Kerry is particularly qualified, because his integrity is more heavily armored than most - something that becomes evident to those who actually research his life story.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 08:53 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. You're right!
It is more nuanced than my post makes it out to be. It just goes to show that the details are important.

Excellent post! Very concise and to the point. Thanks MH1.
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ginnyinWI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 09:25 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. Democrats are handicapped because they're more honest.
Don't you think this is part of the problem? Bernie Sanders on Franken yesterday was pointing out that more and more this isn't just an honest debate between liberal and conservative points of view. The GOP has totally lost its moral compass and has a win-at-all-costs mentality.

His example: * could have come out speaking on Social Security by saying, "look, we need to make some changes on S.S. to make it work better and not run out of money" instead he came out and said, "Social Security is going to go broke! You won't be able to collect anything!" which is a proveable lie. There just isn't an honest debate when one side is willing to lie. I know that during the debates * came out with a lot of whoppers, too.

On the stump, Kerry would be careful to say "mislead" rather than "lie", trying to run an honorable campaign, while * would say and do anything either personally or through his surrogates.

The answer is not to get down in the mud with them. The answer is to find a better way to counter and expose the lying. Our broken media is part of the problem--they're lazy at minimum, complicit at their worst.
The lies do come out eventually, as they are now, but this is far to late for the 2004 election. Dems have to find better ways to deal with these smears and distortions, because the media isn't going to help.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 10:16 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. This is interesting and to your point
on a societal level:

Sorry, no common ground here
Posted 9:21 am
Guest Post by Morbo

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, the most liberal branch of Judaism in America, journeyed to Lynchburg, Va., recently to speak at the Rev. Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.

Snip...

But I must take issue with the underlying idea, which Yoffie seems to embrace, that we can reason with the religious right. As reported by Religion News Service and the Associated Press, Yoffie told the crowd:

"We need less anger and more thoughtful reflection, less shouting and more listening. Even when we disagree, let's do so without demonizing each other. I can discuss these issues and believe what I believe without calling you a homophobic bigot, and you can do the same without calling me an uncaring baby killer. Let's promote respect for each other's religious tradition, and let's work for civility in public debate."


Yes, it sounds nice in theory, but there's one big drawback: Our side is willing to do these things, but Falwell's is not. Falwell's side believes its interpretation of ancient holy books gives it the right to run our lives from the moment of conception until "natural death" with Falwell and his ilk determining when that will be. We have a duty and obligation to resist this form of spiritual fascism.

I simply do not share any common ground with some of these folks. Consider that the Rev. Rick Scarborough's latest book is called Liberalism Kills Kids. Kind of puts a damper on a friendly sit down over a cup of coffee, no?

Snip...

Nope. The only common ground the religious right is interested in is the ground we are willing to give them. I say, don't give them any. I don't want to dialogue with Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, D. James Kennedy, Rick Scarborough and so on. I want to engage them politically and defeat them utterly.

http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/7261.html

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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. But what about the people
I agree that those particular individuals need to be defeated -- utterly. Removing the politics, they need to be defeated because they're Biblically WRONG. That's a job for some liberal preachers and they're working at it.

But the people who believe that brand of Christianity, I think winning them over politically is important. They have a point of view that comes from their religious and family values and it can't be ignored, not with our electoral process. We don't need to compromise our values, we tried that in the 90's and it's been a complete disaster. We need to make them see that we really do stand for their values, the values that really matter. Health care, education, safe streets, clean water and air -- community values, at home and around the world. That's why I like Teresa's "complex webs of connection". Everything's connected, people, environment, family, economies. That's the way to reason with the actual religious people. They'll get that, if we stand up for the values that matter.
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ginnyinWI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 06:17 PM
Response to Reply #9
16. we could start if we could convince them that * does not
have Christian values--or rather that his actions aren't Christian. They already know from their own Bibles that you have to judge people by their actions, not their words. Disabuse them of the notion that the GOP stands for "God's Own Party". Even pulling some of them away would help a lot at election time. Hopefully the ones who are paying attention already get this.

They don't need to change their values--they just need to stop being taken in by these "snake oil salesmen" in the Repub party who know just what words to say to get them to go along.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 08:18 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. True
It's amazing they've lasted so long. You know, they've all had scandals too, and it makes no difference at all. Maybe that's why the Bushies know they can get away with so much stuff, they've watched all these tv preachers get away with everything under the sun and just pop back up to rake in the dough again. There has to be something to that, don't you think?
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 12:25 PM
Response to Reply #2
8. That's true too
Republicans are good at doing both, knowing how to create an image the media can fit into 10 second "news spots" and how to create a caricature of Democrats for those ten second spots as well.

Somebody gave an example of Democrats on gas prices. We keep saying we're going to have investigations, hearings... go to sleep now. You have to put a visual with that, greedy oil-men who are sucking the life out of working people. We don't do that so well and the media isn't going to do it for us, I'm not sure that it's their job to do that either.

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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 12:18 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. I think it's naive
Maybe the media really is so liberal that they live in their own bubble which leads them to think the entire US knows the facts the way they do and think the way they do. But why would America think Bush is a liar if the media hasn't told them that. Because John Kerry stands up and says so??? It's ridiculous on its face. He wouldn't have won the election if he'd point blank called Bush a liar, he'd have been seen as desperate and having to resort to unsubstantiated name-calling like a 2 year old in a sandbox. Using the word "liar", point blank, would have been an absolute disaster.

People thought he was unduly harsh about the "misleading" as it was, that it was unfair to say Bush should have known something nobody else knew. Remember Clinton on Larry King, we ought to give the President the benefit of the doubt or some such, well there you go. America heard that and didn't forget.

It's hard to put your entire mind into the mind of someone who has no loyalty to either party and tries to view both of them from a place of equality or just a passing interest. To literally know absolutely nothing about PNAC or Joe Wilson or anything else. That's the undecided, the supposed middle, people who just don't know a blessed thing. They're the ones who spend maybe an hour total paying attention to the campaign, and conclude Bush is fighting terrorists and will keep fighting them, and that's what America seems to want so that's how they vote.

If Katrina hadn't happened, I bet Bush's numbers would still be in the upper 40's. That was when the curtain was pulled back in a very visible way, totally non-political, and people could see for themselves. And it was so devastating that common decency required the media to report it.

If they'd been that vigilant during the campaign, maybe the truth about Bush would have been so obvious that the campaign wouldn't have looked like maniacs for saying "Bush lied".
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 02:51 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Vigilance would have been great, but
it still doesn't address the distortions by the media. The distortions always favor the right.

This is an excellent point:

People thought he was unduly harsh about the "misleading" as it was, that it was unfair to say Bush should have known something nobody else knew. Remember Clinton on Larry King, we ought to give the President the benefit of the doubt or some such, well there you go. America heard that and didn't forget.


The fact is that leveling a charge against someone without any evidence to support it is irresponsible, and a gut feeling is evidence.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 03:30 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Well what's the media supposed to do?
I'm just rambling here. But imagine yourself as one of the newsmodels who does little more than come in and read the wire in the morning. You know how much "news" we get from the AP. (not much)

Maybe you're a little savvier than that, know a bit about the different views on the yellowcake and other intelligence. Maybe you're even willing to run with it.

Then, Clinton says this:

"I thought the White House did the right thing in just saying 'we probably shouldn't have said that,' " Clinton told CNN's Larry King in a phone interview Tuesday evening.

"You know, everybody makes mistakes when they are president," Clinton said. "I mean, you can't make as many calls as you have to make without messing up once in awhile. The thing we ought to be focused on is what is the right thing to do now. That's what I think."

So what are you going to think? Well hell, if this is what the Democrats want to do, well then okay.

There was a lot of this mixed message stuff coming from Democrats as a whole and the party should take some responsibility for it. If the media were truly independent, it wouldn't matter what the parties say. I don't know how much pressure from the parties plays into what gets reported and how.

That's one of the reasons I've been trying to sort out which Democrats might be behind strange stuff that the media reports Democrats as saying. What if the media really is putting out what the party wants put out, just not the part of the party you and I relate to. Know what I mean?

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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 03:56 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Also most of these people now coming out of the woodwork
to say what tough stands Kerry should have taken, ignore that they were far far less out spoken then he was. Joe Klein is a prime example of this, while he wrote that 911 moved him to support Bush on security - Kerry was one of the first to speak out in 2002 - comared both to other Democrats and the news media. Klein's comment on Abu Ghraib is another point - were there strong articles by him on this? He also ignores that when you list all the things Kerry did say - there were few saying more -certainly not McCain, even if he sponsored the torture bill in 2005, he wasn't there in 2003.

They also ignore that there were lines Kerry could not cross if he wanted to win. He couldn't make his election a referendum on Bush committing war crimes - which highlighting Abu Ghraib more would have done. Do they forget who much support Durbin got when he spoke about Gitmo? Is that what Klein wanted the candidate to do in 2004?
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. But what if..
and a BIG what if...

they printed what they thought the Democratic elite wanted them to print. What if they didn't print particular stories because it would have made a firestorm for the Democrats. I know they shouldn't make journalistic decisions based on what a political party wants them to do, but what if that really is what happens.

:shrug:
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 04:04 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. I understand that point, but
then there are comments like Clift's and Goodman's, the repetition of comments such as "Kerry joins other Democrats..." or "Democrats need to decide what they stand for...," the mis-characterization of the IWR as a vote for war, and on and on. There are simply too many mis-characterizations, fabrications and intentional smears to excuse many of the top pundits and journalists who refuse to stick to facts.

The point you make about comments from some Democrats is accurate. As you pointed out in another post, they too mis-characterized the IWR vote.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 04:38 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. And why are they saying it?
To support Hillary?? I don't know. That's what I mean.

And when we see those other smears, are they printing what a particular cadre of Democrats are telling them for their own political advantage. Do some of these journalists believe they're printing smears, or do they think they're printing the prevailing Democratic view?

I just don't know.
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #14
17. I see it as
unprofessionalism. They're no better than the biased supporter who will stretch or ignore the truth to serve a personal agenda. The problem is expecting journalist to be objective. Go figure! There is no doubt that there is also some self-serving political motives behind some of the spin.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 08:02 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. That's for sure!!
Unprofessionalism. I guess I'm just thinking that if we knew what motivates these people to write such idiotic stuff...
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zann725 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 10:55 AM
Response to Original message
6. Great post! (with one flaw) JK DID win...according to most Statisticians
and Experts in the field by 5-7 Million votes. Say "Diebold," please.

But as to the phrase, "Sometimes what you're looking for is already in front of you." I totally agree about that "it" being JK.

We as Dems must work on that to make others CLEARLY see too....what is has been obvious to JK loyalists all along.

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ginnyinWI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-29-06 10:26 PM
Response to Reply #6
20. I guess in today's world
a presidential candidate has to win by at least 55% just to cancel out the fraud that goes on everywhere. Maybe even 60%. We don't even have exit polls to fall back on anymore.

I agree about JK--still the best candidate.
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zann725 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-30-06 11:29 AM
Response to Reply #20
21. And still the REAL Prez from '04...as was Gore the REAL Prez in '00.
Let's just see they FINALLY make the REAL Prez seats at Innaugural Ball in '08!!
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