he polls made 'fraidy cats out of nearly the entire Democratic establishment

  1. One reporters opinion. I admit to very mixed feelings.

    Oh on this subject: What do you think of Ralph Nader running?

    Published on Monday, February 23, 2004 by the San Francisco Chronicle

    Kerry, Edwards Care More About Polls Than Character
    by Harley Sorensen

    John Edwards should be ashamed of himself. John Kerry, who got nicked by shrapnel three times in Vietnam, should be very ashamed of himself. Both voted to give George W. Bush near-dictatorial powers to make war against Iraq.
    Kerry, who knows war, should have known better. Edwards, a lawyer, also should have known better.
    Neither man is stupid. Nor can either man be accused of having an overabundance of integrity.
    The pursuit of money, we are told, is the root of all evil. Correction: not all evil. The pursuit of power also creates more than its share of evil.
    Edwards and Kerry, the two front-runners for the Democratic Party presidential candidacy, may go to church on Sunday, but in real life they worship at the altar of Gallup, Roper and Zogby.
    In October 2002, when they voted to hand over their congressional power to Bush, the polls showed broad public support for a war against Iraq. The Bushies had done what they do best: sold snake oil to a gullible public.
    The polls made 'fraidy cats out of nearly the entire Democratic establishment. Its members decided to follow the leader (Bush), with the result that the voters decided they weren't capable of leadership. They voted the me-too Democrats out of power.
    Interestingly, a handful of Democrats had the strength of character to stand up to the president and the polls. One was Paul Wellstone, the senator from Minnesota, who died in a plane crash shortly thereafter.
    Another was Dennis Kucinich, the congressman from Ohio, who is running for the Democratic nomination.
    Kucinich isn't doing very well. He is suffering the fate usually reserved for third-party candidates. The press has marginalized him almost into oblivion.
    You'd think the press would adore him. He has definite ideas. He has a plan to end the war within three months. He has a plan to kick the insurance-company profiteers out of the health-care industry and provide first-rate health care for all Americans.
    Kucinich's health-care plan may be why television doesn't like him. If the parasitic insurance-company odds makers were run out of business, they wouldn't be around to advertise on television any more. The television corporations, aggressively in the pursuit of money, would end up making less.
    So, squeeze out Kucinich, and get Ted Koppel and Tim Russert to offer rational-sounding explanations for it. They're good at that.
    Besides all that, Kucinich, at 5-foot-7, is two inches shorter than the average American male. We can't have that. Everyone knows how important it is for our president to be tall. So, the TV corporations protect us from the short man, making sure he doesn't get any more face time on TV than absolutely necessary. Give a guy like Kucinich too much exposure, and people might start to figure out he makes sense.
    So, we on the liberal side are stuck with the hardcore career politicians, who in many ways are no better than George W. Bush.
    It's true that no president, Democrat or Republican, could ever match Bush for wrong decision making, but it would be nice to have a liberal or middle-of-the-road president who wouldn't sell out at every tick of the polls.
    I know the argument: "I have to pander to a certain degree if I want to stay in office. If I'm not in office, I can't do any good for anybody."
    Yeah, yeah, yeah. How about, "If I don't demonstrate any character, I'm no good for anybody"?
    Neither Kerry nor Edwards would make the horrendously bad decisions Bush has made, and they'd undo a lot of them, but, bottom line, you can bet either, to be sure they knew which direction the wind was blowing, would put a wet finger in the air before acting on anything.
    Neither Kerry nor Edwards was fooled by "bad intelligence" when each gave one man, Bush, the power to throw our country into a never-ending war. We all knew weapons inspectors familiar with the situation in Iraq -- people like Hans Blix and Scott Ritter -- were unable to assert that Iraq had any weapons of mass destruction. And we all knew the Bush administration lied when it said it knew the exact location of those mythical weapons. If the Bushies really knew, and if they wanted them destroyed, they would have told the inspectors where they were.
    People everywhere seem forgiving of their leaders' mistakes. Name any strong leader who was later discredited, and you'll find fans of his who insist his mistakes were the result of faulty intelligence or corrupt advisers. The big man himself was never at fault. I'll guarantee you there are still people in Germany who believe Hitler was a true savior, and there's no question many Iraqis still believe Saddam was the best thing that ever happened to their country.
    (I'm not comparing our leaders with those bad guys. I'm just pointing out that leaders, no matter how bad, always have a hard core of followers who shrug off all mistakes.)
    Shortly after George W. Bush was sworn in, I e-mailed a friend that it'd be only a matter of time before Bush declared that we had to go to war with Iraq because Saddam had committed some horrible act or was about to.
    I guess I wasn't confident enough of that prediction to put it into a column, but it's an indication of how transparent Bush's intentions were.
    If I could see that from 3,000 miles away, Kerry and Edwards, with a much better vantage point, should have seen it, too.
    Of course, as an American, I have difficulty understanding why they would grant war-making powers to any one person, no matter who he is, no matter what our circumstances. Even if all the rumors about Saddam's weapons had been true, the decision to go to war should have been Congress', not the president's.
    As a California primary voter, what all this means to me is, although I like Edwards, I'll vote for the man with good ideas and a semblance of character, Dennis Kucinich. And, in the end, I'll vote for the Democrats' choice, no matter who he is.
    I thought Bush's response to Sept. 11 was appropriate, but not a lot different from what any president would have done, and I greatly admired his defense of Arab Americans after Sept. 11. That was classy. Other than that, I can't think of a single thing the man has done right. So, even a so-so Democrat like Kerry will be preferable to him.
    Harley Sorensen is a longtime journalist. His column appears Mondays. E-mail him at harleysorensen@yahoo.com
    2004 SF Gate
  2. 1 Comments

  3. by   ernurse2244
    Sigh, I so wish Kucinich could make a better showing. He stands for everything I believe in. I will vote for him next Tuesday here in Georgia. Until the convention I will support him as I can. After that...anyone but bush.....