Brace yourselves, it looks like four more years
Seen last week’s “CW Watch” in Time? “Economy sluggish. Swifties discredited. Iraq still in chaos. But Bush’s numbers are up. Go figure.” Let me state this up front: I don’t hate George Bush. I don’t respect him enough to hate him. This is an ex-baseball team owner who has inexplicably been thrust into the role of Leader of the Free World – an intellectually and experientially limited rich boy on a testosterone rush who’s just in way over his head. That said, I think there’s a couple of things that we of the Anybody But Bush (ABB) crowd may as well face up to. One, Bush seems at this point to have the election pretty well boxed up. Two, the Democrats have no one to blame but themselves. Democrats have a few chronic deficiencies. They seem obsessed with political correctness and refuse to distance themselves from the salacious excesses of characters like Al Sharpton and Whoopi Goldberg.They tend to pander to as broad a base as possible, going fuzzy and noncommittal on some touchy issues. They’re not above playing the class and race cards. They’re pretty much out of ideas and think they can keep staking everything on erratic playboys like Bill Clinton and dorky nondefinabilities like John Kerry. The other guys certainly have corresponding deficiencies. But I persist, in the face of every discouragement, to hold the Dems to a higher standard.Kerry seems to have a few things going for him, and would probably make a better president than he has a candidate.But he’s been an abysmal candidate. Two months before one of the most critical elections of the postwar period, I still have only the haziest idea of what he stands for, what he’s going to do.Did he vote to give Bush war powers because he was deceived about WMD’s, or because he really thinks that war was worth fighting? What is he going to do about Iraq that differs from, and is better than, what Bush is doing? How does he propose to rout terrorism, turn the economy around, finance universal health care, generate jobs, put “America’s best days ahead” of it? Does anyone know? It’s not unusual for candidates for high office to speak in ringing generalities, make reckless promises and withhold details about how they intend to fulfill them. But to stay ahead of the Bush juggernaut, which has a certain natural advantage in this bizarre yahoo-ocracy of a country, Kerry will have to work twice as hard as Bush to make himself credible. He shows little inclination to do so. I’m thinking the unthinkable here – what if he’s just another of those fervent but uninspired hacks that dot the American political landscape?We Yanks seldom have high-ground choices in presidential candidates, and this time around, the choice seems characteristically bleak. We ABBers will still vote for Kerry, of course. Some of us will vote for Nader. We’d vote for Peewee Herman before we’d vote for George Bush. But I have the sinking feeling we may as well do just that.The tragedy is, it’s not just the Democrats who will pay a price for their pathological inability to put up a class act. There’s a whole fractious world out there that needs better leadership than the U.S. seems able to provide.
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