Democratic Underground

Ask Auntie Pinko

September 16, 2004

An election season twofer from Auntie to celebrate 150 columns on Democratic Underground!

Dear Auntie Pinko,

Is Bush going to win? Should I be planning to move to Canada or New Zealand?

Augusta, ME

Dear Worried,

Please do not take it personally if Auntie Pinko unloads on you a bit in response to your questions. I have heard a lot of this kind of talk lately from people who should know better, and I've become very impatient with it, and perhaps a bit short-tempered.

First: Bush will NOT win, if every Democrat not only turns out to vote for John Kerry, but gets one undecided friend to register and go to the polls on November 2nd.

That's all there is to it. The plain fact is, there are more of us than there are of them, and the only way we can blow this is if we allow negativity and discouragement and "oh, what does it matter, anyway" sentiments to keep us from doing our best to get everyone to the polls. Boy, would Mr. Rove ever love that!

Nor does Auntie want to hear that tired old stuff about moving to Canada (or wherever) if Mr. Bush wins. When the going gets tough, the tough scarper? There will be a lot to do here in the next four years, no matter who wins. America has been through some very difficult times - times when things looked very bleak indeed for the things we Democrats care about. We cannot halt the retrograde slide down to a more inequitable, less just society by giving up and moving elsewhere.

So knock it off, okay? Get out there and vote, and then be prepared to get out there and participate in the process of building hope for a better future. Hope is a far more powerful motivator for change than fear or anger. When people see a real chance for change, they'll take action.

Sorry if that was a bit cranky, Worried, and thank you for writing!

Dear Auntie Pinko,

Obviously George W. Bush and the rest of his inept failures must be removed from the White House this year. However, I look at John Kerry and - while he's 10,000 times better and more suited for the Presidency than Bush - I still don't actually like him.

I don't want to vote for either but I can't very well let Rove continue to destroy the country and Ashcroft to nullify the U. S. Constitution by throwing away my vote on some third party candidate who has no hope of winning. A vote not cast for Kerry is a vote cast for Bush and Americans can't face another four years of this massive failure.

So I need some advice. I need a mantra, an idea for a happy thought, some way to mentally hold my nose and pull that lever for Kerry along with all other traditional third-party voters who will also vote for Kerry this year because there's really no other choice.

Do you have any advice for usual third-party voters who will be setting aside their third-party ideals to vote Democratic to defeat Bush this year?


Dear Fredric,

Auntie is puzzled. You say you need a "mantra, an idea for a happy thought" to help you vote for John Kerry. But you've already told me that you think he's "10,000 times better and more suited to the Presidency," and you characterize Mr. Bush's Administration as "inept failures."

Auntie agrees with you on both counts. So, why isn't this enough to make you positively joyous (or at least deeply relieved) to be able to pull the lever for Mr. Kerry?

I'll certainly grant you that Mr. Kerry has thus far demonstrated the personal charisma of yesterday's cold oatmeal. And that his refusal to make promises or espouse positions that he would be unable to deliver has frustrated many. And that his persistent attempts to keep the complexity of the issues confronting America visible, is a problematic campaign tactic, at best.

All of these things combine to make Mr. Kerry (thus far) a less-than-ideal candidate. Mr. Bush, on the other hand, is a wonderful candidate. Always on message, always using very simple concepts, always trying to exude that likable good ol' boy charm.

But a good candidate does not necessarily a good President make, as Mr. Bush has so clearly shown these last four years. Mr. Kerry, on the other hand, is a thoughtful, conscientious man with an intimate knowledge of how the Federal government operates, who has clearly shown his commitment to America's well-being both by risking his life in military service, and by principled and firm dissent when required.

Mr. Kerry's experience of government, and his appreciation of the mess he'll have to deal with once elected, not to mention his keen awareness of the power of the frustrated opposition and the lengths they'll go to in order to frustrate his every initiative, make him very cautious about making promises for significant change. Smart man, says Auntie!

The kind of cleanup that will be needed before America can return to a progressive forward momentum and make real positive changes cannot be completed in four years in the presence of the kind of opposition a GOP-controlled Legislative Branch can muster. Mr. Kerry is intelligent enough to know this, and also to know what a string of unrealistic promises that would have to be set aside would do to his future re-election chances.

That doesn't mean that he won't be able to accomplish anything important in his first four years. Two words illustrate that:

Supreme Court

If you need a mantra, Fredric, try that one. And thanks for asking Auntie Pinko!

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