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The thoughts and theories of a guy who basically should have gone to bed hours ago.

I know, I know - what's the point? But look at it this way - I stayed up late writing it, but you're reading it...

Let's call ourselves even & move on, OK?


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Friday, October 13, 2006

John Kerry: Still Crazy After All These Years


I blogged recently about how intelligent Bill Clinton sounds today, now that we've spent the last six years listening to George W. Bush mangle the art of public speaking. So imagine my surprise when I watched Bill Maher interview John Kerry on his HBO show, Real Time, and began longing for the content-rich, issue-oriented nature of a good Bush speech? Seriously. Many things have happened since the 2004 election that made me uncomfortable with the fact that I voted for Bush, but listening to this interview removed any "buyer's remorse" (Maher's words) that I might have felt. Not that I'm suddenly pleased with Bush's performance, but I had forgotten just how vapid and digressive Kerry could be.

Let's walk through it, shall we? News Busters has posted the transcript.


Maher: You took the high road [in the 2004 campaign], and lost. If you took the low road, do you think you would have won?

Kerry: I thought Americans really wanted to hear more about health care, the environment, energy independence, the real war on terror. And, obviously, [Republican] attacks make a difference. The great lesson is, and it's a lesson for everybody in '06 is don't give 'em an instant. Don't give 'em a breath of daylight, and if I ever do anything again I never will.

Really? Kerry thought we wanted to hear more about health care and the environment? Could have fooled me. I guess he'd claim that the Republican attacks on his character/war record forced him to constantly debate Homeland Security and the War on Terror, and ignore issues like health care and the environment. Fine. Let's set aside the concept of "controlling the message" as a qualification for being President, and assume that's true. Then certainly, in an interview with the left-leaning Bill Maher, he'll take the opportunity to discuss these things, right? All he needs is for Bill to ask him an open ended question, so he can segue into one of these important issues...


Maher: So, what can you do differently when you run in 2008?

There it is! Here comes the platform speech...


Kerry: Look, um, we're in a very different place from where we were two years ago. We were one year away from the start of the war. Katrina has just torn away the curtain, and all of America is seeing that there clearly isn't any wizard behind the curtain. This is a failed policy beyond anybody's imagination. And I think everybody understands that now. We have a Katrina foreign policy. I mean how can these guys possibly protect the United States of America from terrorists when they can't even protect us from Congressman Mark Foley. These people are incompetent. I've never seen anything like it. You know, you have the Dubai ports, you have Katrina where CNN is broadcasting what's happening at the Superdome, and they're sitting there trying to pretend to America we didn't know people were there. Every step you go here, there's a disconnect to the real lives of Americans, and I think the American people know that now, so that we're going to have an easier time making a clearer, simpler message.

OK, you know that sound that cartoon characters make after they've been hit in the head with a piano, and they need to make all the stars that are circling their heads disappear? Please imagine that sound now, because I don't know how to spell it.

In one paragraph, Kerry has revitalized every flaw in his failed 2004 campaign. He was asked how he would differ from President Bush, and he spouted forth a laundry list of "bad for Bush" talking points. He never mentioned himself once, never mentioned a policy proposal, and never suggested a course of action. He also strayed away from the facts just enough to give even a below-average Republican spin-meister room to discredit what he's said (examples: two years ago, we were one year into the war, not one year away from it. Also, Katrina was one year ago, so two years ago, it hadn't torn anything away from anybody). For a guy who just finished telling us what he thinks we want to hear about, he is sure in no hurry to tell us. And this is what he calls a "clearer, simpler message." Moving on:


Maher: What's wrong with being like Western Europe in the ways they're better than us? For example, you mentioned Katrina, I think if we could build levees like they do in Holland...

Kerry: I'm with you. I think that Americans have really realized that they're not going to fall prey to the games these guys play anymore. I think the card has worn thin. You know, every time something happens in America, that begins to nibble away at the perception that these guys know what they're doing they trot out the fear card. And they play the fear card again and again, and every time we did something, you'd turn around and there was an orange alert, there was a red alert. I don't think there has been any fundamental alerts since the election. But, more importantly, I think what Americans really care about is what's happening here. They don't worry about Europe, they don't need to worry about Europe. They've seen an administration that's screwing up the marketplace, they're losing jobs, their health care is disappearing, their pensions are disappearing, they see executives walking away with unbelievable golden parachutes while the average worker is struggling to pay the tuition, pay the gas bill and make things work. So, I'm not worried about what's happening in Europe. I'm worried about what's happening right here. And I think that's what most Americans are concerned about today, Bill. And, I think there's going to be a profound shift in about five weeks when we have the elections.

More of the same. A question about Katrina provides a good opportunity to talk about investing more in levee construction, improving the Army Corps of Engineers, or even restructuring our emergency response to natural disasters. Instead, we get "the fear card," "screwed up marketplace," "losing jobs," "disappearing health care & pensions," "golden parachutes" and "struggles paying tuition and the gas bill." Vote for me because Bush is awful! At least he's consistent. And again, the facts are suspect: The threat level at airports just went to "Red" for the first time in history this past August (when the London bomb plot was foiled). The economy's added 1.7 million jobs in the last 12 months (and 6.6 million since August, 2003). And gas prices have fallen 74 cents since early August (source).

When is Kerry going to realize that the only votes he's winning with this stuff are the people who already believe in President Chimpy McBushitler? When the campaign comes around, the Republicans will have answers prepared for each of these charges. Right or wrong, true or false, Kerry and his Republican challenger will debate these arguments for weeks on end, keeping the debate squarely where the Republicans want it. And at the end of the day, no one will have any idea what Kerry plans to do as President, and they'll vote for the other guy (gal?). Then the moral outrage will begin, followed by claims of voter fraud, and we'll spend another four years talking about the "stolen election" and Karl Rove's dirty tricks. Yawn...

posted by Brian at 12:17 AM


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