Democratic Underground

Kerry in 2004
August 1, 2001
by Chicago Jeff

The temptation for us who are eagerly anticipating the end of four years of illegitimacy is to back President Gore. After all, he beat George W. Bush in 2000, and in all probability the criminals who installed Bush in the White House will not be able to get away with another coup like the last one. Ralph Nader's forces will probably come to their senses and disdain the protest vote for a slightly less palatable but much more rational one. It will be the same election, only this time conducted fairly. What could be more natural?

This thinking is short-sighted and could lead to disaster. The fact of the matter is that were Al Gore a better candidate, the 2000 election would in all likelyhood not have been close enough for Katherine Harris, Antonin Scalia, Tom Delay, et al to steal. We might also have a Democratic House and Senate, furthering the progress of the Clinton Administration, instead of wathing the rollback of healthcare, environmental protections, and budget surpluses in favor of handouts to Big Business.

It is clear that Gore is far superior to Mr. Bush in terms of intelligence, experience, honesty, integrity, and leadership ability. He is a more successful student, scholar, businessman, politician, and father. But in this day and age, this is not enough, and Gore, despite his overwhelming qualifications for the job, does not provide the inspiration to bring out the faithful and attract the independents. He refused during the campaign to call out Bush on gun control, the abysmal economic and environmental conditions in Texas, specifics of his plans for social security and Medicare, and other issues near and dear to the hearts of the faithful.

We are all aware of Gore's limitations - he favors dry policy details over the smarmy, warm-sounding non-answers proferred by Bush. He answers questions instead of winking and making friends with the questioners. It is tempting to think of these qualities as assets instead of liabilities, but remember that we are dealing with an electorate that gets its "news" from Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, and Don Imus. Besides having great ideas, the successful Democratic candidate must be able to make them heard over the roar of the GOP media machine.

That is why Democrats, Independents, and others wishing to remove the stupidest man ever to inhabit White House - as quickly as possible, to minimize the damage he might do - must immediately get behind the candidate most likely to unseat Mr. Bush - John Kerry. Senator Kerry seems to me to combine the best qualities of Gore and Big Dog - intelligence, experience, and policy positions that lie with a majority of Americans, together with the wit and charm to out-slobber Bush when the need arises. For example, Kerry could close the military gap, since he went to war and served his country, despite not believing in the reasons behind the conflict. This puts him in direct contrast with Bush, who used his family's influence to get into the National Guard, found even that too taxing, and so went AWOL, but now talks like a tough guy. Personally, I think that Kerry might pull as much as 55% head-to-head with Smirk.

So let's put the sentimentality aside, and start choosing a running mate for Senator Kerry. Probably a red state moderate like Daschle, Edwards, or Kerrey would be best, or maybe Shaheen if she beats Smith next fall. To me, this is the only hard decision.

What say you, oh faithful?

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