[Marxism] Kerry's quandary
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu May 27 07:33:24 MDT 2004
May 27, 2004
By Ronald Brownstein, Times Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Sen. John F. Kerry faces a stark new challenge in the
campaign skirmishing over Iraq: As President Bush has moved toward his
position, the Democratic Party is moving away from it.
From one side, Kerry confronts calls from growing numbers of Democrats
to establish a deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq. That idea
will receive a major boost today when Win Without War, a coalition of 42
liberal groups, launches a campaign urging the U.S. to set a date for
ending its military presence in Iraq.
From the other direction, Bush has come much closer to Kerry's view
that the U.S. should rely more on the United Nations to oversee the
transition from occupation to a sovereign Iraqi government, thus
blurring the contrast between the two men.
In the long run, these shifts in Democratic attitudes and Bush's
strategy may pressure Kerry to break more sharply from the
administration on Iraq, a step he has firmly resisted.
Democrats Wonder if Kerry Should Stay on Careful Path
By ADAM NAGOURNEY
NY Times, May 27, 2004
WASHINGTON, May 26 — President Bush's political difficulties have
prompted a debate among Democrats and aides to Senator John Kerry over
how cautious his campaign should be on a variety of issues, from
choosing a vice president to differentiating himself from Mr. Bush to
responding to the turmoil in Iraq.
Some party officials say that with three new polls showing President
Bush more embattled than he has ever been, Mr. Kerry's wisest course
would be to take few chances and turn the election into a referendum on
a struggling president. "People have won a lot of campaigns by just
saying, `It is time for a change,' " said Mark Penn, a Democratic pollster.
But other Democrats warn that such a strategy entails risks of its own,
banking on the proposition that Americans would be willing to fire an
incumbent during war time and replace him with someone they know little
about. "I don't think anybody in their right mind is going to run for
president on a strategy of `people hate the other guy and that's enough
for our guy to win,' " said Douglas Sosnik, the White House political
director for President Bill Clinton.
Until now, Mr. Kerry has more often than not displayed a caution that is
very much in keeping with his style as a candidate over the past 20
years, particularly when he is not feeling threatened. He reacted mildly
to Mr. Bush's speech on Iraq on Monday. And on Wednesday, Mr. Kerry
backed away from a heavily criticized proposal to put off accepting his
party's nomination at the Democratic convention, a maneuver to delay the
imposition of general election spending caps.
Marquis de Bush?
By MAUREEN DOWD
NY Times op-ed, May 27, 2004
An outraged president called yesterday for the immediate resignations of
Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, Douglas
Feith and Stephen Cambone.
Unfortunately, it wasn't the president in the White House. It was the
shadow president, the one who won the popular vote.
Thundering at New York University about the man the Supreme Court chose
over him, Al Gore said, "He has created more anger and righteous
indignation against us as Americans than any leader of our country in
the 228 years of our existence as a nation." Holy Nixon!
The former vice president accused the commander in chief of being
responsible for "an American gulag" in Abu Ghraib, as depraved as
anything devised by the Marquis de Sade. It was hard to tell whether
President Bush would be more offended by the sadomasochism or by the
fact that the marquis was French.
Mr. Gore blasted the administration's "twisted values" and dominatrix
attitude toward the world: "Dominance is as dominance does."
"George W. Bush promised us a foreign policy with humility," he said, in
one of the most virulent attacks on a sitting president ever made by
such a high-ranking former official. "Instead, he has brought us
humiliation in the eyes of the world." (He did not ask the neocon cabal
ringleader, Dick Cheney, to step down, perhaps in a spirit of
John Kerry's advisers were surprised and annoyed to hear that Mr. Gore
hollered so much, he made Howard Dean look like George Pataki. They
don't want voters to be reminded of the wackadoo wing of the Democratic
They would like Mr. Gore, who brought bad karma to Mr. Dean with his
primary endorsement, to zip it and go away. But more and more Democrats
think it is Mr. Kerry who should zip it and go away.
Mr. Kerry has made a huge $25 million ad buy in recent weeks, believing
that the better voters know him, the more they'll like him. But many
Democrats fear he's one of those supercilious/smarmy candidates (like Al
Gore) for whom the opposite is true: the more you know him, the less you
want to see him.
They wonder whether Mr. Kerry should just let the campaign be Bush vs.
Bush. As the president's old running buddy, Lee Atwater, used to say,
don't get in the way when your rival's busy shooting himself.
Couldn't the Democratic standard-bearer use a William McKinley
front-porch strategy, talking only to those who bother to show up at his
front porch? After all, Mr. Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, have
five front porches, stretching from Sun Valley to Nantucket and Georgetown.
Mr. Kerry, once a critic of campaign financing abuses, had toyed with
the idea of not accepting the nomination at his nominating convention so
he could spend even more in contributions. While he announced yesterday
that he had dropped that belittled idea, maybe he just didn't take the
plan far enough.
Maybe he shouldn't go down from his town house on Beacon Hill to the
Fleet Center at all. The conventioneers may be more galvanized if they
focus on vividly vivisecting Mr. Bush, instead of being dulled to
distraction by Mr. Kerry, waving stiffly in his Oxford-cloth shirt,
trying to be all things to all people all the prime time.
The Democrats are already excited to see the Republicans acting as
fractious as they usually act.
The president did look a little rattled during his finger-in-the-dike
speech at the Army War College on Monday night, as he promised to give
the Iraqi people the gift of "a humane, well-supervised prison system."
It was hard to tell if it was the subdued response of the military
audience, the only group forbidden to criticize the commander in chief,
or if it's beginning to sink in: this is one mess that no amount of
power and privilege, or unending terror alerts, can get him out of. (Mr.
Bush's speech about the Iraqi makeover, as he wore all that makeup,
couldn't even pre-empt the more convincing makeovers on "The Swan" on Fox.)
Or maybe it was just the dread at knowing that the next morning he had
to call Jacques Chirac and cry "oncle" on Iraq.
That's enough to give anybody mal de mer.
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