Sunday, January 23, 2005


Taking a Dive

Did John Kerry even try to win? Was running to win a part of the Democratic Party’s strategy in 2004? For that matter, was Gore running to win in 2000?

You are to be forgiven if you have asked yourself the same questions. The internet chatter coming my way on this topic has grown steadily, especially since the November debacle. Since hindsight is always the best foresight, just take a look back over the past half year and you can see a pattern of events and behavior suggesting strongly that the 2004 presidential election campaign — and probably even the whole electoral process — was a dog and pony show that the two parties put on to make Americans think they’re participants in a democracy.

Kerry and the Democrats ran such a spiritless and directionless campaign that I sometimes wondered if Kerry was too busy with something else to be bothered with campaigning. He blew countless opportunities to attack Bush’s many vulnerabilities, made a mockery of the word “debate” by straining mightily not to embarrass his cue card-reliant opponent, and — this is the clincher — rushed to give a concession speech before the votes were counted, and stayed as far away from recount and fraud-investigation initiatives as possible. Team Kerry just couldn’t distance itself sufficiently from the people who were trying to give Kerry the White House. These and other bits of evidence add up to a picture of a man and a party who were just providing good spectacle, like a wrestler or boxer in a fixed fight who will take a dive after putting on an exciting show for the spectators.

Further, why did the Democratic Party choose Kerry over so many others who would have made much better candidates? Kerry’s weaknesses made it hard for him to mount a significant challenge against Bush. In fact, he himself was a backer of some of Bush’s most hated accomplishments: the invasion of Iraq and the Patriot Act. That automatically ruled out any real challenge on these crucial issues. If the Democrats were not really serious about running to win, then they chose a good candidate. The very choice of John Kerry as the Democratic candidate fits the pattern suggesting that the plan was to take a dive.

But this brings up an even more serious question: Is this part of a Republicrat initiative to sabotage the American left? Consider this. In a desperate bid to dislodge Bush from the White House, American progressives launched an all-out drive to back Kerry, putting all their energy into his campaign. But that’s not all. Some of Kerry’s backers also went to great lengths — using low-down tactics — to torpedo Ralph Nader’s campaign (ironic, since Nader was the progressive, not Kerry). Kerry and the Democratic Party soaked up all that progressive energy and dissipated it in a way that rendered America’s progressive movement ineffective. If the Republicrat strategy was indeed to defuse the American left, it was a brilliant move. I can imagine that the Democratic Party is now already planning how to further integrate itself into the GOP and how to absorb and harmlessly dissipate more progressive energy.

So, did Kerry take a dive? Was there a secret agreement between the two sides in a fixed fight? There is plenty of evidence to suggest that Kerry never intended to win, and I have yet to hear a convincing argument from a Kerry backer to the contrary.

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