Saturday, August 28, 2004


Too Quiet?

John Kerry has taken a lot of criticism lately for being too quiet over the Swiftboat scandal. A number of critics and bloggers have accused him of being weak, or worse, trying to lose. Now some may call me naive or say I suffer from wishful thinking, but I believe that Kerry may be doing himself a huge favor by staying quiet. You see, George W. Bush is his own worst enemy. Much like Nixon, the person to bring down George W. Bush will most likely be himself.

John Kerry and John Edwards have been quietly touring the country extolling their message on huge crowds of faithful listeners. Meanwhile, the media can't seem to get enough of the controversy created by the Swiftboat Vets. Why doesn't Kerry say something? Even when asked directly, Kerry seems to skirt the issue. So we are left wondering: are the accusations true? Could he be lying?

The answer is no. As we have learned over the last several days, it is the Swiftboat Vets that are lying. The ironic part of this situation is that the evidence of their lies has been found in their own military records. The accounts stated in their own awards citations confirm that John Kerry's version of the stories are true. So either the Swiftboaters are lying or we are left to believe that they too received medals through deceptive methods. I guess we can take our pick on that one. And with the recent resignations of Ginsberg and Cordier, the Bush campaign has its own questions to answer about their involvement with the Swiftboat Vets. According to a recent poll, most people think they were involved anyway. By remaining quiet, Kerry allowed this scandal to work itself out without having to get his hands dirty in the fray. Sure, the scandal may have cost him some points in the polls, but keep in mind the polls that show the ads causing damage were taken before most of the Siftboat Vet's lies were exposed.

By letting George Bush do all the talking, it appears as if John Kerry is allowing his opponent to define him. However, I think that the person being defined is George Bush. In attacking John Kerry, Bush is placing himself in a vulnerable position because in order to attack someone you have to take an opposing view. Kerry is simply allowing Bush to paint himself into a corner.

Now I grant you that George W. Bush seems to be saying some pretty significant things. For instance, at a campaign stop in Ohio Bush gave his standard stump speech. It was described by CNN as follows:

While this sounds like a good thing, a closer examination shows that this is simply empty language. Name me a candidate that doesn't want to keep jobs in the United States, help small businesses, support home ownership, and pursue tax relief. Even Ralph Nader can agree with those goals. But this is typical of the George Bush campaign; say things that sound great and can't be challenged. They have no substance whatsoever. Notice that there is a lack of a plan behind these goals other than continuing what we've been doing. Unfortunately for Bush, we know how well his plans have worked so far; growing number of people living in poverty, increased number of people without health insurance, continued struggles in Iraq, Osama bin Laden still free and al Qaeda still in operation, and 1.8 million jobs lost. By remaining quiet, Kerry is allowing Bush to continue with his empty speech and define himself as a candidate of nothing but failures.

Surely, Kerry knows the statistics. Surely, he follows the news. I'm sure we will hear a lot about these failures and more during the debates. Now I expect that George Bush will receive a boost in his poll numbers from the upcoming Republican Convention, but after that he has to face the music. As long as John Kerry can keep pressing the issue of his failures, George Bush is trapped by his own language. He either has to defend a failed policy or flip-flop. John Kerry doesn't have to be an asshole about it, like Gore was perceived in the first debate of 2000, but he does need to be persistent. When asked specific policy questions, John Kerry has to answer with his own stance and state the stance of his opponent as he has already defined it. If he keeps Bush responsible for his own words, he can't lose.

With a quiet approach, John Kerry is going to defeat George Bush. By allowing Bush to speak unanswered Kerry is allowing the President to define himself with empty language, failed policy, and personal attacks. It's a dangerous slope for the President and in the end, I believe it will be his ultimate undoing..

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