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
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 www.alanchartock.com