[Marxism] Kerry on the campaign trail
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jul 22 07:17:40 MDT 2004
LA Weekly, July 23-29, 2004
15 Weeks and Counting
It’s Not Just the Stupid Economy
Can Kerry, soon to be anointed the anti-Bush, find a message to carry
the Democrats to victory?
by Howard Blume
But can this man give a straight
answer to a probing question?
So how are things in Ohio?
With any luck for John Kerry, not too good.
Nurse Pat Beane presents a near perfect crucible for the 2004 race for
president. It starts with her location, in Ohio’s Stark County, where
voters have correctly called the last nine elections, back to Richard
Nixon. She is watching, waiting, for the appearance of the Democratic
presidential hopeful in the trussed-out girls’ gym of Perry High School,
“Home of the Panthers,” where banners proclaim, “A Stronger Economy for
Beane voted for George Bush in 2000, tired of the moral turpitude she
perceived in the Clinton White House. Bush impressed her as a man of
decency and upright personal values. Four years later, she now says of
Bush: “It’s not his character; it’s his choices.”
Kerry has a shot at her vote because of her unexpectedly less rosy
world. She’s on strike with fellow nurses from Akron General Medical
Center. The rising cost of health benefits could more than cancel out
proposed raises. Pension-benefit reductions also are on the table.
“We’re taking care of people’s lives every day,” she says, “and we can’t
even get decent health care.” Also, two grandchildren, who have serious,
ongoing health problems, are about to lose government-subsidized health
coverage in a round of budget cuts.
“And why should we go to another country and fight their war when
there’s poor people in town?” adds the 56-year-old nurse. “My plan was
to retire at 60. Now, it looks like I’m going to be working till I’m 70.”
She blames Bush.
So far, so good for the Democratic nominee.
Kerry’s still on the hunt for themes to go along with his Economics
Simplified. His campaign-trail closer has been “Let America be America
again,” quoting from a Langston Hughes poem. So far, the tag hasn’t
gotten as much notice as the “Two Americas” trademark of running mate
In Phoenix, Kerry’s tailored message to Latinos focused on education and
immigration reform. Kerry said he wants immigrants raised in the U.S. to
qualify for lower “in-state” college-tuition rates. He also talked of
immigration reform that reunites families. And how he wants to prevent
the exploitation of immigrant workers who risk their lives to cross the
border. All of these points drew standing ovations from the audience of
about 5,000 at the National Council of La Raza.
La Raza is nonpartisan, but the event sure sounded like a Kerry rally.
Bush turned down an invitation to appear, but Arizona Senator John
McCain, the popular conservative Republican, addressed La Raza on a
different day, inevitably leading to buzz about the fantasy Kerry-McCain
ticket that could never be.
Kerry was in and out of Arizona’s 108-degree heat within six hours, but
still managed to exhibit his less-than-deft side. First, his speech,
originally billed as a Town Hall Q&A, went on so long that there was
hardly time for questions. Second, he managed to alienate some Latinos
in a brief post-speech interview, when he came out against driver’s
licenses for Latinos who’d entered the country illegally.
The remark “undercut the pro-immigrant statements he made in his
speech,” said La Raza spokeswoman Lisa Navarrete. “His campaign was
hedging later, but he himself said he thought it wasn’t a good idea for
security reasons. We argue that it is a good idea precisely for security
A Kerry spokesperson explained the full Kerry nuance later. “He believes
that this is an issue that should be left to the states,” said Fabiola
Rodriguez-Ciampoli. “He said that personally he does not support it, but
he won’t oppose a state’s decision. It’s a matter of jurisdiction.”
Which leads to a new trivia question. What do immigrant drivers and gay
lovers tying the knot have in common? Answer: John Kerry’s against you,
but won’t stop a state from being for you — or from being against you.
Or maybe what Kerry’s really implying is that he secretly supports
marrying-gays and driving-immigrants, but he can’t express that because
it might cost him votes, and he’s pretty sure most gays and Latinos will
have to vote for him, anyway.
Are we inspired yet?
Well, at least one inspired endorsement came from former Chrysler CEO
Lee Iacocca, who fairly gushed about Kerry’s Web site during their
backslapping joint appearance at San Jose State.
Iacocca emphasized his conversion by acknowledging that he’d once cut
commercials touting George W. Bush. In fact, he named so many
Republicans he’d voted for that one person in the audience called out:
“We forgive you.”
Kerry, the top-of-the-ticket Yalie who made good grades, had no
particular stumbles in Silicon Valley. At a San Jose fund-raiser,
scientist Bill Lee, 49, found Kerry likably “funny” and “comfortable
with his material.” Consultant Lynda Sanders, 52, originally from
England, thought “He touched on the key points,” that he was “human, not
a stuffed shirt at all.”
Clearly, the moneyed, liberal, cultural elite really are his kind of
people. They didn’t need a cue card to cheer when Kerry pledged to be “a
president who believes in science.” They ate up his proposed tax breaks
for businesses that hire U.S. workers and government funding for
high-risk, high-yield research. At one clubby San Jose shindig, Carole
King sang a ditty before dashing off to a grandchild’s graduation.
The Marxism list: www.marxmail.org
More information about the Marxism