Thursday, August 26, 2004
Then consider two quotes:
"We will not quickly join those who march on Veterans' Day waving small flags, calling to memory those thousands who died for the "greater glory of the United States." We will not accept the rhetoric. We will not readily join the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars -- in fact, we will find it hard to join anything at all and when we do, we will demand relevancy such as other organizations have recently been unable to provide. We will not take solace from the creation of monuments or the naming of parks after a select few of the thousands of dead Americans and Vietnamese. We will not uphold traditions which decorously memorialize that which was base and grim."
-- John Kerry, from the epilogue to The New Soldier
"I'm John Kerry, and I'm reporting for duty."
-- John Kerry, first line of presidential nomination acceptance speech, 2004 Democratic National Convention
Next, the Los Angeles Times has Bush pulling ahead in their latest poll. Whoever heard of a candidate getting a surge before his party's convention?
And finally, there is good reason to think that the Current Employment Statistics study (i.e. "the payroll study") by the Bureau of Labor Statistics has been underestimating job growth for quite some time (even the BLS itself is starting to take notice of the problems with its survey). No matter how much the Democrats scream about The Worst Economy Since Herbert Hoover, their traction with the public is going to be severely limited if people see a good economy with their own eyes.
What else does this leave the Democrats? Caterwauling about the awful war that's been disappearing from the American radar screen ever since June 28th?
Bottom line: From here on out, it's Miller Time.
The Washington Times
When Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle and Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, along with jubilant Democrats, appeared at the Washington premier of Michael Moore's"documentary," "Fahrenheit 9/11," I began to realize that some of us in this divided nation are living in a different, surreal world. Mr. Moore, for example, has said of the terrorists in Iraq:
"They are not the enemy. They are the revolution, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win. Get it, Mr. Bush?"
Even the news media are unthinkingly describing murderous bombers, beheaders and assassins as "the insurgency." Historically, that phrase often had an honorable connotation, especially in America. George Washington and Samuel Adams were insurgents. Why not just call the jihadists and their allies by their rightful names: homicidal terrorists?
Meanwhile, the growing chorus keening that this is a needless war includes not only Democratic strategists and acolytes, but also Ralph Nader. Fervently joining them are such selective antiwar groups as MoveOn.org and the International Action Center. Have any of such fierce organizational opponents of the Iraq war called for free elections in Cuba or Zimbabwe, as they, in effect, scorn the actual coming of free elections in Iraq? [...]
There are days when I wonder if I'm having a bad dream. "Fahrenheit 9/11," for example, is playing in Cuba to large audiences long conditioned to distorted propaganda.
And, on July 1 of this year, Albert Hunt, the resident liberal on the Wall Street Journal editorial pages, wrote: "For many Iraqis it's a more dangerous country than even (under) the brutal Saddam regime."
Does he include the families of those whose Saddam's regime murdered, who continue to sift through the mass graves hoping to find the identifiable shards of those bodies? [...]
When Saddam's prisons were briefly opened up while Saddam was still in power, there was disclosure in the American media of the gouging of eyes of his prisoners and the raping of women in front of their husbands for whom the torturers wanted to extract information.
But even now, when much more of Saddam's atrocities have been disclosed, a reporter from the New York Observer asked folks on the street if they could say anything positive about Saddam.
In the July 12 Observer, quite a few could. An editor of an arts magazine said of Saddam: "He's committed. Actually, he's not duplicitous. I think he's very much open about what he believes and what he will do with his power, which is actually unlike Bush, who is incredibly duplicitous and lies."
A pity this woman couldn't have voted for that murderously committed leader of his people while Saddam was -- unopposed -- on the ballot in prewar Iraq.
Note how a horrified Hentoff wonders if he's having "a bad dream" when he sees so many Americans protesting the liberation of Iraq. I occasionally read articles by other principled leftists who comically fail to understand why their fellow liberals have been so vehemently against a war of liberation. A conservative would correctly respond that the reigning passion among most war opponents is opposition to America, not freedom for other peoples.
As regards opponents of war, I've long thought the true indicator of their feelings comes from their consistent failure to protest nasty regimes whose behavior does not implicate America. This sort of things runs rampant in the "mainstream press": A few years ago, Time magazine ran an article comparing the pope to Fidel Castro, which caused George Will to remark that liberals appear constitutionally incapable of disapproving of a communist the way they disapprove of, say, Joe Camel.
After the Vietnam War ended, a leftist war opponent started a petition protesting the actions of the Communist governments in Southeast Asia and sent it around to her old buddies in the antiwar movement. As I recall, about 30% of them signed it. I would consider that figure to be roughly representative of the percentage of pacifists and leftists who truly care about human rights abuses regardless of the party committing them. Of course, those are the folks most likely to drift rightward over time. Hentoff is in good company.
The top-ten responses given by passersby to this New York City street canvasser working for the Democratic National Committee's "Beat Bush" fundraising campaign:
"I love Bush!"
"We love Bush!"
"Why don't you people get a clue already?!"
"I licked Bush this morning."
"Beat Bush? Got a stick?"
"Beat Bush? I'm going to shoot the motherfucker!"
"Kerry's a fag."
I was standing under an awning on 8th Avenue between 52nd and 53rd streets in Manhattan, and having a tough go of "Beating Bush" with my canvasser's clipboard; most pedestrians scampered right on by with barely a glance in my direction. [...]
The crew was not happy to be out here, and I, as "team leader," shared their unhappiness. We had already lost the young Polish-American student who'd been assigned to the group. She claimed female troubles moments after we deployed, gave me her clipboard, and was never seen or heard from again (at least I never saw her again). I was left with two teenage boys, one wearing flip-flops (with nary a whiff of irony) and boasting an eyebrow piercing, who wore his red DNC shirt like a hat. He was just about the last person you'd give your money to, and hardly anybody did. Both kids were just out of high school (local fancy-pants schools) and were headed off to college in the fall. By 2:00pm they had raised between them something like 20 bucks and were trying to cajole me into an early bailout. They took long lunches; they recognized as I did that this was a wet and wearying fund-raising scenario compared with the big DNC blowout at Radio City Music Hall a few nights previous. [...]
At least as I experienced the Bush Beating youngsters, they generally were not jaded, world-weary, misanthropic or cynical. Skeptical, yes, and some seemed particularly out-front radical, even beyond the obligatory flesh-piercing and rampant multiculti joie de vivre. But some were so self-centered that I wanted to smack them. [...]
At the Whisky, the requisite slamming of tequila shots would commence, and the endless fillings and refillings of pitchers of beer, all guzzled lustily in the aftermath of another hot day pounding the pavement for elite Democrats. Summertime flings would be launched, canvassing war stories told and retold, there was dorm chat and chants of "Four More Beers!" There were always a couple of cherubic, Olsonish blonde girls wearing those fashionably tacky early-eighties-style skirts that seem to be everywhere this summer; there were earnest former Deaniacs fully committed now to the Anybody But Bush program; there was Abdul, who was going to Howard Law in the fall. I liked Abdul because I could joke with him about Howard's lousy affirmative action policies and he didn't report me to Al Sharpton.
Drinking and "saving democracy" go hand in hand, since, after all, canvassing is one of the most thankless job known to humankind, and it takes a certain kind of personality to be able to stand the work day in and day out without going postal. You must be deaf to verbal abuse and theatrical in some measure; I can do the latter but I'm lousy at the former. For this reason, I burned out after two weeks. They swore at me, I swore right back. They gave me the finger, I flipped the bird in their face. They'd say, "We looove George Bush." I'd offer my sarcastic condolences. This is very bad canvassing form though the tart-tongued Mrs. Heinz Kerry might have approved.
Furthermore, you've got to be able to deal with being totally ignored by the vast majority of passersby, and you must be ready to indulge and engage that angry and gullible old local lefty paranoid who's (hopefully) still got a few dollars' worth of grief to unload on George Bush. They love Nader and Dean and want to blab all afternoon about it, but you've got to wrap it up quick and make the grab for their wallets. These people are in no short supply in New York City, and also provided the worst liberal-bonehead response of all when asked if they wanted to help Beat Bush: "Oh, don't worry, we're going to beat him this time."
I wouldn't be so smug about that if I were you.
Mr. Gogola's account of his fellow volunteer snotnoses highlights a general problem that some liberal Democrats have: they'd like to act up as much as possible but rightly fear having the American public see their gooniness on full display.