I like John Kerry. He was my 2nd choice out of the long list of candidates running for Democratic President last election, after Wes Clark. Then, I saw him run a spectacularly bad campaign. "This is John Kerry, reporting for duty." I thought to myself, what an ass. Then he was all safe sounding throughout the entire campaign, a move perhaps necesitated (but not forgiven) by his vote to allow the Iraq War.
My point in all this is that if Kerry spoke like he does as follows during the campaign, instead of being all worried by focus groups and electability, he probably would have been elected. He was too worried being a thermometer and not a thermostat. Read on. Go, Kerry:
Kerry, who served in Vietnam, said in an e-mailed statement that "if anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they're crazy. This is the classic G.O.P. playbook. I'm sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did."
Kerry said he wasn't going to be "lectured by a stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium." (Photo of Kerry giving his remarks Monday by Ann Johansson, AP.)
If he spoke like that in 2002 when dealing with the Swift-Boat Crew and all the Bush Admin chickenhawks, he might be president right now. But he was too much of a wuss to fight back in harsh terms. And the people getting on Kerry now, for a joke? Where were those same folks when Bush was making the jokes about finding WMDs under his desk? That wasn't dishonoring the soldiers? This isn't much compared to that.
Anyhow, it's one week before elections. I'm cautiously optimistic about the Democrats, and while I'm not doing any predictions, I will offer which races I'll be following the most closely.
Maryland: Obviously. Today both O'Malley and Cardin were up by 5 points. I'm happy about this. Ehrlich keeps bashing Baltimore as his calling card; he's the most negative politician I've probably ever seen. The thing is, though, is that I moved to Baltimore shortly after O'Malley took office, and it's unbelievable to me that people wouldn't see what growth the city has had and how much of a better city it is - even in the six years I've been here. I feel safer, I feel more positive, I feel like we're heading in the right direction. It's only the schools that I feel like have gotten worse since I've been here. Is this O'Malley's fault? No. I actually don't think he has much to do with the schools. Do I wish he would have been more proactive, especially with high schools? Yes. Do I wish he would have done something when the BCCPSS school board decided to increase the student/teacher ratio this year? Absolutely. But, let's face it, no one even cares. It wasn't even printed in the Sun. I just want someone in the governor's office who will fully fund Thornton, and he has pledged he will. Besides, I'm just sick of all the negativity. I want Ehrlich to just go away. As for Steele, he's run an amazing campaign that has hidden to a lot of folks that he would be one of the most conservative members of the Senate if elected. I'm hopeful Cardin can hold on. Steele just doesn't represent Maryland. And don't mention he's black! Unless you're Republican! Then it's fair game to have that idiot Russell Simmons stumping for him on black radio!
Michigan: It looks like Stabenow - who was my Congresswoman in Michigan before she was elected Senator - will handily win re-election. However, our hot blonde Governor Jennifer Granholm is facing quite a challenge from DeVos, the President of Amway, who would kill public schools there. I hope Granholm can pull it off.
Tennessee: Everyone talks about Obama - and I'll be first in line to vote for him for President in 2008 - but Harold Ford, Jr also has a chance to be the first black President. He's more moderate than my tastes generally run, but I'll be rooting for him hard on Tuesday, especially after those racist ads that the G.O.P. ran against him. He's a great candidate - smart, moderate, good-looking, charismatic, consistent - and if he loses it will be quite a feat for the swiftboating Republicans who did whatever they could to foil his character in a Max Cleland type of way.
Pennsylvania: Although he really doesn't have a chance to win anyway, it will be nice to see the bigot Rick Santorum lose.
Virginia: The Dems couldn't have chosen a stronger candidate, and the Republicans probably couldn't have chosen a more vulnerable one than George "Macaca" Allen. Still, it's Virginia. This will be edge-of-your-seat. I'm excited because Jim Webb is not only a smart guy and a writer, but also seems to be well-informed on social issues and the War in Iraq.
There are of course good races in Arizona and Ohio as well, and probably a few others, but these are the ones I'll be tuned most to.
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