It is very disheartening to me to still see articles in Leftwing publications and websites giving another rundown on the lies of George W. Bush. Do people really think that they can even possibly get through to someone at this point who doesn’t know that Bush is a liar? Do people honestly think that writing another article on Bush’s fabrications for a leftist site or magazine is actually useful?
Now while the repetitiveness of these claims has caused my brain to blister, I am even more bewildered when someone like Chalmers Johnson gives a speech to a Democratic Party club in SoCal on the attributes of John Kerry. Johnson seems to me like an extremely learned man who gives you footnotes after he talks to you. I am honestly put back on my heels a little when a man like him decides to endorse Kerry. But then I look at the reasons Johnson has for endorsing Kerry and I begin to feel stronger in my convictions once again. His reason are
1. He is not a chickenhawk like Bush. Johnson points out that the only non-chickenhawk in Bush’s administration is Colin Powell. Yes, that’s true…but so what? I agree that on this topic there is no doubt of the hyprocrisy of Bush and that Kerry is not hyprocritical. But what does this have to do with policy decisions? Chickenhawk Bush and his chickenhawk buddies proposed the war on Iraq and non-chickenhawk, decorated war hero John Kerry, a man who supposedly understands the gravity of combat and the effects of it on soldiers and civilians, went along with their cowardly asses. I don’t see Kerry’s war experiences having a real effect in this occasion and haven’t seen it in his pronouncements to send more troops over to Iraq if elected. Perhaps he was too caught up in the hysteria of 9/11? Well, what about the courage under fire our leader should have, especially from one who has been under fire?
2. He was a leader of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Yes, this is also true. But that was a long time ago, people change and it’s pretty clear that Kerry has. Thirty years ago, Vietnam, no. Now, Iraq, yes.
3. He will stop the secrecy of the Executive Branch. “Given his nineteen years of service in the Senate, he is likely to end at least a significant part of the secrecy that covers up the destruction of the environment, the deployment of weapons in outer space, our refusal to conserve fossil fuels, and many other scandals,” Johnson says. Ok, now here is where I get really lost. Johnson, a scholarly writer of quite some renown, acknowledges Kerry’s time in the Senate without giving one example of Kerry’s acting on any of the topics in that sentence. You would think that 19 years in the Senate would have given one enough time to at least make a stand in the direction towards rolling back government secrecy. Instead, just serving 19 years in the Senate is enough to make one “likely to end at least a significant part of the secrecy…” I know when Kerry first came into office he initiated investigations into BCCI and Contra/drug connections. That was brave and seems to have been attributed to an initial naivete about what his actual role as a Democratic senator is. Also, people change. I definitely wouldn’t call the Patriot Act a step towards the reduction of governmental secrecy, but Kerry I guess did when he voted in favor of it.
4. “The main issue in the coming election is the Constitution and the need to restore its integrity as the supreme law of the land. It was concern over violations of the Constitution that energized the Howard Dean campaign. Kerry will end the tenure of John Ashcroft and the illegal incarceration of native-born citizens in Federal prisons and prosecute those responsible for torture in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay. If we’re lucky, he might even close the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia, which is where we instruct military officers from Latin America in state terrorism. For those even slightly interested in human rights, a Kerry victory is indispensable.” Holy shit, I didn’t know that Kerry was the second coming of the second coming. Although HE VOTED FOR THE PATRIOT ACT, he will “end the tenure of John Ashcroft and the illegal incarceration of native-born citizens in Federal prisons and prosecute those responsible for torture in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay.” Wow, I knew I was wrong for questioning ol’ Chalmers, he can see into the future. Notice the absence of doubt. He must know something we don’t. Did he perhaps catch a glimpse of Kerry slipping into a phone booth back in the 60s and emerge as Martin Luther King Jr.? “If we’re lucky, he might even close the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia, which is where we instruct military officers from Latin America in state terrorism”? Where did this bit of rose-colored optimism come from? From the statements of Kerry? Or even better, from some bill Kerry proposed in his time on the Senate floor? No? Oh, I get it, Chalmers knows that all this time Kerry has been biding his time casting votes against his beliefs for things like welfare reform and internet censorship in order to achieve his longtime goal, president. With the presidency he can overcome the effects of his voting record and set things right.
Hopefully what I’ve written makes clear a the gigantic holes in the “Anybody But Bush candidate with the best chance is obviously going to make everything better”-left’s logic. I swear, if the Democrats had proposed a candidate who was for the war, voted for the Patriot Act, voted for censorship, NAFTA, etc., most people on the left would still say that he’s better than Bush. Wait a minute they have.
PAUL ALEXANDER can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org