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Kerry: Far-left duckling or centrist swan?

By Carol Devine-Molin
web posted August 2, 2004

Why can't Democrats just be Democrats? It's because Democrats understand that their party's seminal liberalism - their ideology from which all else flows - is abhorrent to the majority of Americans. Democratic candidates routinely obscure their core values and proclivities, and presidential candidate John Kerry is no exception. He's a fraud, and he's cross-dressing as a centrist Republican.

The word "liberal" has not become a pejorative in America for nothing. Frankly, most Americans are well aware that Democratic presidents invariably want to raise taxes (and not just on the top 2 percent), and fail to effectively utilize and appreciate the military. As to the latter, our soldiers left the military in droves during Bill Clinton's tenure, precisely because they were given short-shrift (poor pay, long tours of duty, and contempt from the liberals in power).

Although difficult to imagine, John Kerry is actually more Left-leaning than Teddy Kennedy or Hillary Clinton. Based on his voting record, Kerry has been rated the number one liberal in the Senate by the National Journal's Hotline, an odious distinction if ever there was one. Now, how is Kerry posing as a centrist, you might ask? And how is he attempting to make himself more likeable? The two actually dovetail.

John KerryKerry's convention speech was an excellent case in point, as he blatantly bandied about the notion of optimism in a very Reaganesque manner. Pure theater on Kerry's part! Of course, Reagan was not a phony, but a splendid individual who genuinely viewed life through rose-colored glasses. In contrast, until only weeks ago, John Kerry was Mister Doom and Gloom as he assiduously carped about Iraq and the economy, while biting at the ankles of President Bush. But some transformation was called for by Kerry's handlers, so that he might better complement the superficial style of his VP candidate John Edwards. So forget the dour John Kerry! It's now the "new" John Kerry; the more positive and cheerful "reinvented" John Kerry, who is seeking our votes. Mind you, the twosome on the Democratic ticket will still continue to jab away at President Bush - especially on Iraq and the economy - but they're bound to do it with some smiles. And heaven knows that Kerry was told to halt his supercilious manner. But I doubt that he can.

Moreover, John Kerry lifted word-for-word one of Dick Cheney's mantras from the 2000 election, "Help is on the way" for his Democratic convention speech. Gee, don't these liberals have the wherewithal to come up with their own signature lines? I guess not.

Even more telling was Kerry's decision to provide only a few dry snippets at the convention regarding his thirty-years in the public eye – We heard virtually nothing about his time spent as an assistant district attorney, as an elected Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts under Governor Michael Dukakis, or his 19-year career in the Senate. And Kerry made no mention at all of his efforts as a prominent anti-war activist in the early 1970's, which still leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of many Americans. Upon his return from duty in Vietnam, "Hanoi John" defamed our troops by accusing them of widespread atrocities and war crimes. And who said John Kerry was not an endearing fellow!

To continue, we were treated to a convention speech rife with rhetorical flourishes and platitudes, such as "In these dangerous days there is a right way and a wrong way to be strong. Strength is more than tough words. After decades of experience in national security, I know the reach of our power and I know the power of our ideals." What? Amazingly, Kerry has the chutzpa to engage in braggadocio regarding his national security record, when, in fact, he consistently voted to gut defense and intelligence funding, and he voted against every major weapons system. This is not an individual who can provide national leadership in wartime or any other time for that matter.

So it's clear why John Kerry said little about his background and record at the convention. It would have only reinforced that he's a flaming liberal with questionable values. Understandably, Kerry was eager to avoid anything that smacked of the fact that he's a tree-hugging, aging hippie. It almost goes without saying that "Leftist-hippie", particularly "anti-war Leftist hippie", is a bad image, a very bad image, to invoke when you're diligently working to convince voters that you're capable of tackling a global war on terror. But that's just my "take" on the issue, maybe I'm wrong.

In any event, Kerry wants to project as a macho-man, which he apparently feels is congruent with being commander-in-chief. Hence, at the convention, Kerry continued to emphasize his service in Vietnam, even parading around some of his old crewmembers, or, as he dubs them, his "band of brothers."

However, other veterans that served with John Kerry are at variance with the "band of brothers." As noted in a Washington Times column by Rowan Scarborough, "a group of former sailors who served with Mr. Kerry are telling a different story. Rather than depicting Mr. Kerry as a war hero, they are quoted in a new book accusing him of exaggerating and falsifying his experiences. The group says that of 23 crewmembers photographed with Mr. Kerry more than 30 years ago in Vietnam, only one supports his presidential campaign." The piece also states that, "The book (Unfit for Command) quotes Mr. Kerry's fellow combatants as saying two of his Purple Hearts came from friendly fire, not the enemy." It's also vital to clarify that most veterans are poised to vote for President Bush rather than John Kerry, according to polling data.

There's no question -- John Kerry is "Unfit for Command." Besides Kerry's abysmal voting record on national security issues in the Senate, he intends to return to the "law enforcement model" of tackling terrorism that has already proven to be an utter failure. The "law enforcement model" largely binds our hands. Do we need to be reminded of the Clinton years when terrorists acted again and again with impunity? John Kerry wants America to chase these terrorist thugs down with subpoenas, and try them in our federal courts as criminals. No, this is clearly warfare, and we need to kill or capture these radical Islamists that are bent on murdering us. Frankly, all Americans will be far safer by staying the course with President Bush.

Carol Devine-Molin is a regular contributor to several online magazines.

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