Saturday, August 14, 2004

Politics: Kerry Brings Knife to Gunfight

That liberal media keeps helping Kerry out. USA Today headline on my homepage this morning:
Cheney slams Kerry's 'sensitive' war plea
Fri Aug 13, 7:11 AM ET
By Judy Keen, USA TODAY

Vice President Cheney mocked Sen. John Kerry's promise that he would lead a "more sensitive" war on terrorism Thursday.

"America has been in too many wars for any of our wishes [except me and my cabal of neocons, who have a few more lined up after our current war of choice], but not a one of them was won by being sensitive," Cheney, picking up the traditional running-mate role of leading attacks, said while campaigning in Dayton, Ohio.

"President Lincoln and General Grant did not wage sensitive warfare, nor did President Roosevelt, nor Generals Eisenhower and MacArthur," Cheney said.

"A 'sensitive war' will not destroy the evil men who killed 3,000 Americans [as Jon Stewart pointed out, "Neither will invading Iraq."]," he said. "The men who beheaded Daniel Pearl and Paul Johnson will not be impressed by our sensitivity."

Last week, Kerry, speaking at a convention of minority journalists, said, "I believe I can fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror that reaches out to other nations and brings them to our side and lives up to American values in history."

Cheney said, "As our opponents see it, the problem isn't the thugs and murderers that we face, but our attitude. Well, the American people know better. ... Those who threaten us and kill innocents around the world do not need to be treated more sensitively. They need to be destroyed."

Kerry, asked by reporters in California to respond to Cheney's remarks, said [should have unloaded on Kerry, but instead gave this weak-ass response], "It's sad that they can only be negative. They have nothing to say about the future vision of America."

Phil Singer, a spokesman for Kerry's campaign, said the Democratic nominee's word had been taken out of context. He also noted that Bush once said America should be "sensitive about expressing our power and influence."

Ten senior military officials issued a statement saying, "George Bush and Dick Cheney have chosen to take their campaign to the gutter. We call on President Bush and Vice President Cheney to stop the irresponsible personal attacks and tell us where they want to take the country." The group was led by retired admiral William Crowe, who was chairman of the joint chiefs of staff under presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. In June, Crowe signed a statement criticizing Bush's Iraq policy.

Retired general Wesley Clark, who ran against Kerry for the Democratic presidential nomination, issued a statement saying, "Today, Dick Cheney took the lowest road in politics - it was a cheap shot unworthy of the office of vice president."

First of all, that headline is complete bullshit. "Cheney slams Kerry's 'sensitive' war plea." I like the way Cheney gets "Slam" and Kerry (that effete French pussy) gets "plea." There was no fucking "plea" about Kerry's statement. He was assertive. Using the patented thumb-pointing fist-pump, Kerry assailed the President and announced how he would run the War differently. Never was he crying to his audience, whimpering "I wish big, mean President Bush would take it easy on these terrorists, he can catch more flies with honey..." But that's what that headline would have you believe. And you better read down past four paragraphs of Cheney's crap before you get Kerry's complete quote, and you'll get no real description or context for it, even then.

Kerry and the Democrats need to start going "nuke-u-lar" on this crap. If Kerry himself needs to stay above the fray somewhat , I'll accept that, but only if somebody else of prominence is going to get down in the gutter with Cheney and give him a curb-job (watch 'American History X' if you don't know what I mean). **

Here's the problem. You want to run on "hope" and "positive message for America's future." That's great. But, if you're going to choose Mr. Nice Guy as your VP, you need somebody out there hitting back. Putting your arms up isn't good enough. I don't want Phil "Who the fuck am I?" Singer, one of a team of interchangeable spokesnobodies offering the response to Dick Fucking Cheney. He's the sitting Vice President, and he just took a cheap shot at you. Hit back, hard, and with a fist people know. If Kerry won't say it (and Edwards can't), than Wes Clark needs to. Something like this:
"Only a man who's never been anywhere a battlefield would say something like that. It takes more than tough talk. It takes more than indiscriminant fire, and it takes more than military superiority to win this War on Terror.

John Kerry understands that we need to use every resource and every ally to be successful. It takes resolve, it takes strategy, it takes planning and even more planning. It takes alliances and diplomacy. To win this War on Terror does take sensitivity.

We are an occupying force in a foreign land. We need to be sensitive to the vast majority of innocent people who have to live in a battle zone chosen by this President. You cannot burn the village in order to save it. You cannot "Kill 'em all, and let God sort 'em out." This is hard work for our soldiers, sorting out who your enemy is in a foriegn land is sensitive work.

John Kerry learned those lessons, the hardest way possible. Under fire. Fearing for his life and for the lives of his men. On the battlefield. John Kerry is ready to win this War, John Kerry knows how to do it, and how to do it right. It's east to talk tough in front of a carefully-vetted audience of supporters, but if President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Rumsfeld and all the rest, aren't prepared to do the hard work, the delicate work, and the sensitive work, they should never have started this War."

Or something. Kick some fucking ass. When Cheney takes a swing at you, you grab a pool cue and teach him a lesson.

This isn't fisticuffs, this is a streetfight, and it's only August. We cannot be content to let Bush and Cheney dictate the news cycle with this front-page garbage, while we sit back content with page A12 editorial responses.

If you want the American public to believe you can defend the country as well as the Republicans, start by effectively defending yourself.

[UPDATE] I just found Clark's complete statement, and it was pretty good, but it needs to be front and center on the news not hidden on the Kerry website. Kerry, Clark and every possible Dem capable of making it (ie: served in the military) needs to be shouting this stuff to the rooftops. That's what the Republicans do. They assign a talking point and send out the army of loudmouths to bludgeon the press with it. Stop bringing a knife to a gunfight.

**[UPDATE] Yikes. I just stumbled into 'American History X' on IFC, literally during the exact scene I referenced above. Suffice to say, it is one of the most disturbing moments of screen violence I can think of, and I just want to state, clearly, that I was speaking colorfully and rhetorically, and it was probably a bit too gruesome to be so callously tossed in there as an analogy for fighting back against the Right. Good God...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Easy there, fella! (Sister E. again--I'm diggin' the nickname I've given myself! You know who I am, right?!)

Anyway--I totally agree with you and understand your frustration, but a curb-job? That scene from that movie is the grossest thing I have ever seen. I will never get it out of my mind--yuck. A little harsh, I'd say.

Anyway--last week I got a Daily Misleader all about this Cheney attack and it was full of quotes from the Bush Administration using that very word 'sensitive' in regard to our role in Iraq and The War on Terror--including one from Cheney himself. Peoples' allegiance to Bush/Cheney & Co. really has me baffled. I've heard some argue that they are "masters of spin" and that they have so ingeniously crafted what is said and believed in the media and by the public--but I don't get it! They are so BAD at it! The only way it works, I think, is for the majority of people to base their opinions on little sound bites that play to their base instincts--they like tough talk and don't care much what it says or (in George's case) doesn't say (articulately) at all! Clearly Kerry's comment about sensitivity wasn't calling for meekness and timidity--but the people who are die-hard Rush Limbaugh types won't ever see, hear or think clearly about what Kerry says anyway. Just like they refuse to hear or evaluate information about the Bush Administration that may be negative. There's a lot of talk on NPR this week about media bias--how Dems think it's too right-wing/conservative and how Republicans complain it's crazy liberal. It's hard for me to understand how to get rid of this perception no matter what you report. Whenever what you report is "bad" about a peson or a "side" that side will call foul. If someone in office fucks up and gets caught--it is what it is. They did it and they got caught! You can't blame the media for that. I know it isn't simple and that certain media outlets look for, find and report certain stories, etc. but it is hard to imagine how it will ever be any other way...By the way--love what you wrote "for" Clark--maybe you should get a job on Kerry's campaign?!