November 2, 2004
A plea to reasonable DemocratsBy Matthew May
Sometimes it seems that levelheaded Democrats have gone the way of dinosaurs. Like those vanished creatures, we see the likes of the politically extinct on the History Channel or PBS from time to time. Black—and—white images of Wilson, Roosevelt, and Kennedy stirring the nation to action in times of trial flicker in our mind's eye, or perhaps the staunchest of political junkies happen upon an interview with Mike Mansfield or an old C—SPAN clip of Sam Nunn, both of whom knew the price of weakness in the face of our enemies.
These days, though, it has been difficult to come across a reasonable Democrat in the public eye. Once—sane members of the party like Al Gore have turned into raving lunatics, mad with jealousy and desirous of the power that slipped through clenched fists four years ago. Hackneyed thugs like Begala, Devine, Carville, and McAuliffe now consider themselves privileged to have the support of Michael Moore and MoveOn.org, the latter having likened the President of the United States to Adolf Hitler.
Yet it is difficult for the most optimistic among us to believe that truly reasonable Democrats have entirely followed their feckless leadership over the political precipice. There are millions of Democrats who voted for Reagan, love their country, want to keep their children safe, and respect the institutions upon which this nation was founded who have a chance to begin healing the damage that the Clintons, Gore, and McAuliffe have done to the party, and the damage that John Kerry will certainly do should he be elected to the Presidency today. You have a chance to do the right thing, so please consider the following:
Do you remember when President John F. Kennedy, Kerry's standard of excellence, declared in his Inaugural Address that the United States, led by his administration, would 'pay any price, bear any burden' in the defense of our nation? Do you remember the proud stances of Franklin Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson in the face of tyranny and those who would do the United States and the free world ill? Where has that legacy of the Democratic Party gone?
John Kerry, by word and deed, will further erode this once—proud tradition of the Democratic Party, a party which could be counted upon to silence partisan bickering when it came to the water's edge. Time and again during this campaign, Kerry has claimed that he has a plan to correct the myriad of mistakes he asserts President Bush has made in the Iraq war, yet it is difficult for Kerry supporters — let alone the candidate himself — to articulate the specifics of that plan. You must carefully consider the folly of Kerry's 'global test' doctrine, which will effectively place the nation's security and military strategy in the hands of nations that will say, pay, and do anything to see our credibility and strength undermined. Kerry deludes himself in thinking that his personal charm and his ability to speak French poorly can overcome decades of resentment from Old Europe. Kerry has also clearly stated that he will place our decisions to defend ourselves, or go on the attack to prevent attacks, in the corrupt hands of the United Nations. Kerry will have thus turned the mantra of his political and personal idol completely on its head and destroyed his party's reputation of strength against attack, perhaps irreparably.
Kerry has demonstrated that he fundamentally misunderstands and misreads the threats that we face. He has stated over and over that he wants to revert to the Clintonian mindset of seeing terrorist attacks not as acts of overt war, but as a series of worldwide misdemeanors and criminal torts that are to be prosecuted by somebody, somewhere, not eliminated by force before they occur.
Kerry's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in July revealed his lack of concern about our enemy — not only did he again forget or neglect to articulate a plan for fighting terrorists here and abroad, he mentioned al Qaeda exactly zero times in that address, the only memorable thing about that speech besides his feeble salute. Kerry continually claims that the Bush administration has abandoned the hunt for Osama bin Laden, even though bin Laden can only launch a video tape at us, not a terror attack. Al Qaeda are on the run and being apprehended or killed all over the world thanks to the doctrine of preemption. Reasonable Democrats must agree that Kerry is unwilling or unable to see what is really happening. Would it be wise to cede our security to such an ignorant man? Before you vote, ask yourself what Bush's plan is, and what is Kerry's. Will you vote for a man who refuses to even say what he will do once in office?
The Democratic Party professed the need to eliminate oppression and bring a new beginning to enslaved peoples for decades. Agree or disagree with the President, the facts are indisputable when considering some of the outcomes of our action abroad. Afghanistan had a free election, in which women voted. In Iraq, 400,000 children have been immunized. Over 1,500 schools are now open and operating, housing students in rooms that once housed weapons. Local elections are taking place all over the country, an interim constitution has been signed, and over 4.5 million people now have clean drinking water for the first time ever. None of this would have happened had President Bush waited any longer for a UN permission that he does not need, a permission Kerry sees as paramount. Who would the Hussein brothers be raping and torturing at this very moment had the President listened to the United Nations and the likes of Tom Daschle?
Kerry's lack of judgment and seriousness is also put into a stark light when considering his choice of running mate. Sen. John Edwards has little in the way of government experience, and his lackluster record in the Senate may indeed indicate his inability to wage a successful re—election campaign for his seat. Edwards demonstrated a palpable lack of knowledge regarding foreign affairs and even confused various bills before the Senate during the many debates during the Democratic primaries earlier this year. Do you really want a man who spends more time combing his hair than learning about legislation and the world around him one heartbeat away from the Presidency?
Apparently, this is of no concern to Kerry, who either believes he is immortal or simply driven by what happens to be popular or the prevailing conventional wisdom on a particular day. His posse of bumbling campaign staff, who seem to have the same political tin ear as their boss, chose Edwards because he apparently polled well among women and perhaps could make the case for a Kerry candidacy better than Kerry himself. But Edwards, a trial lawyer of all things, is singularly unqualified for the Presidency, let alone being second chair. Kerry would have garnered more respect among his opponents had he nominated someone such as Richard Gephardt, or Joe Lieberman, though Lieberman was rejected since he actually wants to win the war on terror. Edwards can't even help himself in his own state, and his comments in the wake of Christopher Reeve's death were scandalous. Even Bill Clinton understood the seriousness of the selection process and chose well; few could say that Gore was unqualified to assume the presidency when Clinton chose him in 1992 — before Gore went nuts, that is to say.
As a well—meaning and reasonable Democrat, you also have a chance to clean up one of the biggest messes created by your party. As has been documented everywhere, Gore in 2000 single—handedly destroyed the spirit created by the Founders — in the form of the Electoral College — by shopping around for a judge who would bend the law and the will of the people to award Gore the presidency. Kerry has already indicated that, no matter the actual vote, he will declare himself the winner on Election Night. Elizabeth Edwards, the spouse of John Edwards, was recently caught on C—SPAN cameras telling a supporter that there won't be any rioting if Kerry wins. Even Ted Kennedy was once gracious enough to complement Richard Nixon for accepting the decision of the 1960 election, saying upon Nixon's death in 1994: 'Despite the intensity of the campaign and the narrow outcome, he accepted the results with grace and without rancor.' Now, it seems, the fanatics in the Democratic Party have made permanent rancor the primary objective of their operation. A vote against Kerry will obviously help ensure chaos will not reign as it did in 2000.
Lastly, but just as importantly, is the character of Kerry as an individual. Democrats and leftists love to preach to anyone who will listen about the importance of charity toward their fellow man. Yet not ten years ago, Kerry, a man of untold wealth and fortune thanks to his — ahem — good luck in marriage, had to be shamed into scraping together money to give to charitable organizations. Beforehand, he had given miniscule amounts of money to charity, and nothing at all in some years. Nothing. Is someone who has to be publicly goaded into dipping into a fortune not of his own making to give to the less—fortunate someone you want as the chief executive of the United States?
If those of us not from Massachusetts have learned nothing else about Kerry this election season, we have learned that he is the personification of what leftists imagine conservatives to be. Kerry personifies the myth of total financial self—interest — the accumulation of vast wealth for no other reason than the love of money — that the left sees as characteristic of a Republican ethos. Kerry's pursuit of power has come at the expense of attendance in the Senate in 2004, though he refused to resign his seat as Bob Dole did graciously in 1996. Time and again Kerry has demonstrated contempt for those lesser than he, cutting lines and asking if the complaining peons know who he is. Why would a supporter of the Democratic Party, one who believes in the common good and supposedly shuns the empty pursuit of the almighty dollar, want to vote for a man whose entire adult life has been spent in that pursuit, and that pursuit alone, a pursuit that he sees fit to joke about brazenly during a presidential debate?
Democrats and leftists also seem to tag conservatives with an insatiable appetite for power. Yet it is Kerry and his running mate Edwards who are willing to say and do anything to anyone to win. Kerry has suddenly adopted the pose of a religious man, as leftists and angry Democrats, who become apoplectic about church and state whenever the President says a silent prayer, wink at each other and let it slide when Kerry claims to wear a crucifix, carry a rosary, and lug a prayer book everywhere he goes, as they did when Clinton carried a Bible the size of a kitchen table to church every Sunday for the cameras during his presidency. Does it not seem a bit tacky to give your vote to a man who uses religion and articles of faith as props to attain a political office?
A final note on Kerry's personal character: Many in the nation were divided about the Vietnam War, and many soldiers returned to American shores feeling disappointment and shame about our country's policies there, and many spoke out against the war. But Kerry's numerous anti—war actions upon his return — his Senate testimony being the tamest of those actions — endangered prisoners of war still stuck and tormented by their captors in Vietnam and unable to so cynically launch political careers. Kerry's documented meetings with the enemy provided that enemy with aid and comfort, in violation of the most basic language of the Constitution. The voters of Massachusetts should have rejected him from membership in the Senate three terms ago, but his actions, regardless of how long ago they occurred, most certainly disqualify him from the presidency. Never, ever has a traitor command the nation's armed forces. It would be a dark day in our history should Kerry hold the office of the Presidency.
Reasonable Democrats who know in their hearts that a vote for Kerry is beneath them do indeed have many dilemmas. But for those of you who can't face the censure of your 'enlightened' friends, who think Michael Moore is a great American, and who think The New Yorker is an example of fine journalism, and love to lampoon the President at every turn, it will still be okay not to vote for Kerry. There is no need to advertise your vote and risk incurring the ridicule of friends and family. But when you step into the booth on Tuesday, try to remember what kind of man the Democratic Party has put forth for the presidency, and how far your party has sunk by aligning with propagandists and moral lepers. Try also to remember that, unlike the President, Kerry rarely asks those who show up at his rallies for their vote. He believes, as he believes in every other aspect of his life, that he is entitled. Ask yourself if Kerry has ever requested your vote, and remember that the President has asked for it many times.
Try to remember that there are more important things than merely seeking and holding power for the sake of power alone. In this Republic, the values of our leadership still count for an awful lot, and conviction and steadfastness in the face of evil are the qualities we need at this moment in history. In this Republic, it is important that both major parties are strong and moral and united in defending our citizenry, not bowing to any world organization's set of ever—changing expectations and requirements. You can begin stem the tide of fanaticism and the naked pursuit of power that has turned your party into a farce. You can help save an endangered species. Remember these things before you pull the lever to choose the leader of the free world. Then do the right thing for the nation, for your party, and for yourself.
Matt May is a freelance writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org