The Berkshire Eagle
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Article originally published by The Berkshire Eagle on Saturday, June 05, 2004 -
'Kiss-of-Death' Chartock
I, Publius
An early prediction
By Alan Chartock 
Special to The Eagle

Saturday, June 05, 2004 - I think that John Kerry is going to win the election. The senator from Massachusetts is going to be president of the United States, and he is doing exactly what he should be doing. 

Kerry is ambitious, has money, gets good advice and is probably mean enough to do what has to be done. If you listen to some of my friends from the left and read some of the letters to The Eagle, you get the idea that if John Kerry would only go for blood on the matter of the Iraq war -- really scream out in rage over the Iraq travesty -- the people would rise up in moral indignation and vote for him in overwhelming numbers.

What could some of these folks be thinking? Much of this country is overwhelmingly conservative. The "my country right or wrong" mentality rules a good deal of that geography between New Jersey and California. You can't tell people whose children are coming home in body bags that their kids fought for a worthless cause.

Kerry was there when Bill Clinton was elected, and he watched that master politician do it by "triangulating," a tactic loosely defined as robbing the other party of their core issues. Clinton called for balancing the budget, reforming education and doing away with welfare as we knew it at the time. In the end, Clinton got just enough conservative, moderate, independent and Republican votes to bring home the big prize -- not once, but twice.

John Kerry is looking at the polls and the demographics. He wants to win; he doesn't want to yell. He knows that if he appears weak on defense, he'll be written off as just another Democratic liberal wacko. He has reminded everyone that he was both a decorated hero and, here's his genius, a protester. When he goes to Virginia, where they love their military and their wars, he is more military, but elsewhere he can express a healthy skepticism about war and what it can do to people. Some purists will believe that this is hypocrisy. I call it political genius.


A courageous San Francisco federal judge has ruled that the so-called partial birth abortion bill supported by the president and passed by a Republican Congress intent on preserving their conservative base is unconstitutional. The anti-abortion constituency is counting on Bush being re-elected so that he can pack the courts and get that ruling reversed.

Hey, Karl Rove knows how to play the game. He knows how to build coalitions. He knows how to bring his people out. He has clearly told the president to get out of Iraq or he will lose the election. Bush's problem is that he is caught like a fly in a spider's web. Rove knows how to reverse his field when conditions dictate it, but turning the Iraq situation around is like turning the Queen Mary around. It takes time. It may, in fact, be impossible.

I recently spoke with former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter, one of the first to blow the whistle by flatly stating that there were no weapons of mass destruction. He says that the only way out is to leave the country. If Bush does so before the presidential election with resultant chaos, an awful lot of people will be wondering what we were doing there in the first place and why so many young American soldiers had to make the ultimate sacrifice.

One thing seems clear: Whoever is setting off the bombs will continue to set them off. Sooner or later, another Saddam Hussein-type dictator will emerge out of the current mess. As long as he doesn't get in our face, the United States will leave him alone, as we do with the rest of the world.


You can believe that the White House is in daily communication with its Saudi friends, that the price of gas will go down as the election gets closer and that the manufacturing sector will be encouraged to put as much money into job creation as it can right now before its friends in the White House bite the dust. Nevertheless, the whole thing will look unsightly. George Bush is looking and acting more and more like a desperate man, while Kerry is looking more and more like a leader. The Democrats are furious that they were robbed the last time out, and the negative attacks on Kerry's war record are unseemly. We are in so much debt that even Republicans are furious. There's no question that Democrats will turn out this time.

Now the pundits are saying that both the Senate and the House are in play for the Democrats. Kerry is keeping pace with Bush in the polls and is pulling ahead.

John Kerry will win.

Alan Chartock, a Great Barrington resident, is president and CEO of WAMC Northeast Public Radio and a professor of communications at SUNY-Albany. His web site is


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