[Mb-civic] Dear John: Start Explaining and Fast

ean at sbcglobal.net ean at sbcglobal.net
Tue Sep 7 23:03:21 PDT 2004

Labor Day Weekend Edition
September 4-6, 2004

Dear John (Kerry)

Start Explaining and Fast

Several times recently on the Jim Lehrer News Hour, the Shields 
part of the long time "Shields and Brooks" political punditry 
(opposite's attract; "fair and balanced") team of Washington 
"insiders", punditized that, in response to the Brooks part saying 
that the New York GOP convention protesters were people "without 
a party," the reason, according to Shields, that Kerry wasn't 
getting traction in the polls was because of his asinine answer 
standing in front of the Grand Canyon several weeks ago that, IF 

Jon Stewart of the Daily Show put it well shortly after Kerry made 
this blunderous statement. He said, referring to Kerry, "Come on 
now, that was a softball. Hit it out of the park! All you have to do is 
say, NO." Of course Kerry didn't - he said yes. Oh sure, "it wasn't 
that simple." He did actually say he would vote to authorize the 
president and not for the war, but to the nation this is a distinction 
without a difference. And you don't have to be a Republican to feel 
that way. We all heard it. We know what was said. As Stewart 
went on to bemoan, "is he trying to lose?"

Oh what a clever trap Karl Rove set for Kerry, and how he took the 
bait. Bush taunted Kerry in front of the press, asking the press 
whether Kerry, knowing then what he knows now, would he still 
vote for the war. Of course, the press went to Kerry but at first 
Kerry was smart and wouldn't bite. But Kerry couldn't take the 
taunting. Pride cometh before the fall! He got baited into 
answering. At, of all places, the Grand Canyon, he turned and said 
yes. YES?? How could he say "yes?" That continues to boggle my 
mind and many others.

Let's see, if we knew then what we know now? That the main 
reason for going to war was false, that over 10,000 civilians would 
be killed, that a thousand U.S. troops would be killed, that we had 
too few soldiers deployed, that we didn't have our humvees 
properly armored, that the insurgency would be a lot worse than 
anticipated, that the world would generally be opposed to what we 
are doing and long term alliances would be damaged, that our 
national debt would be out of control and the war would cost us 
hundreds of billions with no end in sight, that Iraq and Al Quaeda 
weren't connected, that our President had mislead us about a 
variety of things related to Iraq, that the US would be torturing 
prisoners and violating the Geneva Accords, that we would be 
locking up people indefinitely with no civil rights at all, and on and 
on. If Kerry knew that all this was going to occur, he would still 
vote for the war????? Say what??????

All Kerry had to do was to say no. N. O. No. All he had to do was to 
say, well, if I knew that there weren't going to be weapons of mass 
destruction found, that a thousand soliders would die, that ten 
thousand civilians would die, that it would cost us hundreds of 
billions of dollars and no end in sight, that we would be violating 
the Geneva Accords and torturing prisoners, that we would be 
imprisoning people at Guantonamo Bay indefinitely with no civil 
rights at all, that Halliburton and Bechtel would be getting most of 
the big U.S. governmental contracts without bids, etc. etc., of 
course I wouldn't have voted for it. BBBBBBBBUUUUTTTTTTT 
NOOOOOOOOOO!!! He said yes.

Ok, so he said yes. Now what. There are a couple possibilities. One 
is that he could admit that he screwed up and made a big boo boo. 
We all do that sometimes. Especially with that kind of pressure. He 
could say that, but the press would jump on that and say he is flip 
flopping again, and that would hurt him. So scratch that. People 
like Brooks are just waiting for him to do it. That would give 
credibility to their flimsly argument that Kerry is somehow an 
extreme flip flopper. (Bush is worse in reality.) But he is going to 
have to explain it. This is such a fundamental question with the 
Democratic base that it threatens to erode what was rock solid 
support under him. This is what Shields has been referring to. 
Kerry has to explain in a way that doesn't seem like he is 
completely changing positions (again) that he didn't mean "yes" in 
the way that we all took it. If he can do that, he has a good chance 
to resolidify the base. If he can't, then he has a good chance to 
lose. He cannot continue to stick with his current answer, trying to 
distinguish between voting for "authorizing the president" and 
voting "for the war," and keep the base together. This isn't going 
to be easy, but Kerry is a smart guy. Maybe he can do it.

In spite of this, Kerry still has a chance to win, not because of his 
greatness but because of the ABB (anybody but bush) principle. 
But he has to provide an alternative vision. His unfortunate "yes" 
on the key question of the campaign has to be explained, and that 
explanation has to be credible. Otherwise we all might be doomed 
to the worst three words we could ever hear at this time: "4 more 


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