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Monday, March 01, 2004

C'mon California: Kerry?
From an article by Stephen Dinan:

With current polls showing John Kerry leading at 60% for the California primary next Tuesday, I begin to wonder if our culture of innovation, independence and frontier adventure is beginning to fade.

C'mon California: Kerry?

Two months ago, Kerry hardly registered on the radar here. Most thought him too patrician, too dull, or at least too conservative on issues from the Iraq war to NAFTA to gay marriage. Few people in California contributed to his campaign. Top honors went to Dean and Kucinich in terms of donors and number of volunteers. Both have revolutionary fire and some shoot-from-the-hip West Coast attitude. They are bold, authentic, and willing to rattle conventional opinion. They give speeches straight from the heart and aren't afraid to go off script.

Kerry is safe. He is the frightened man's bet for the race against Bush. He's the compromise candidate, a man about whom we will say, "I suppose that's the best we could hope for." He has the pedigree, the power broker network, the height, and the moderate positions on everything. When many people I know talk about voting for Kerry, it is with a sigh of resignation rather than the hurrah of freedom.

It does not have to be this way.

Californians have been seduced by the media trance that has ordained Kerry the winner. However, we in California are supposed to CREATE the spell of the media rather than be seduced by it. We make the magic of movies and push the frontiers of technology. We innovate, pioneer, and explore. We don?t march to the beat of the establishment drum.

Next Tuesday, I would like to see some spunk in the California vote, some fire to send to the convention. Let's tell the party that we want substantial change. We want a rainbow of color rather than shades of gray. We want nectar of the gods rather than stale bread. We want a Democratic Party that doesn?t feel like it has had the lifeblood sucked from it.
So send a positive change message to the Democratic establishment by voting for Dennis next week. Neither Kerry nor Edwards sends a meaningful message for change now. They are the safe candidates. If you want to play it safe and scale down on your dreams, they are your guys. If you want to go boldly towards the future, Dennis is your man.

In March 1968, Democratic president Lyndon Johnson was under so much political pressure because of the Vietnam war that he decided not to even seek his party's nomination for re-election. And while the Vietnam war in 1968 was certainly bloodier in both American and overall terms than the Iraq war is currently, the reasons for the Vietnam war had not yet been discredited (the Pentagon papers were disclosed in 1971). Unlike Bush, Johnson had been elected in a landslide in 1964. And, certainly unlike Bush, Johnson had some real achievements to point to from his White House tenure: civil rights legislation and medicare. Still, dissatisfaction with the war had risen to such a level that Johnson felt compelled to drop out of the race.

This time around, we've got a president from Texas who bungled the nation's security so badly that the worst terrorist attack in American history happened on his watch. He has started two bloody wars with little justification; all reasons given for the second war are already thoroughly discredited, while they've blocked and delayed all attempts to find out why the first one was justified. The deficit is huge and jobs are disappearing. The outrage should be so big that Republicans should be scrambling to find a replacement. If Californians and New Yorkers and Ohioans vote for Kucinich tomorrow, it might be a sign that the opposition to Bush and his wars is real. If they vote for Kerry, who supported the wars and the Patriot Act, and who thinks that Bush "has done too little" in the "war on terror," the Republicans can sit back and relax with Bush as their candidate. Win or lose, they win.