Notes on the Atrocities
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Friday, February 20, 2004  

John Kerry is not a Rat Bastard

As we inch ever closer to having a nominee, the notion is dawning on some lefties that Dennis Kucinich may not actually win this thing. Thus the delightful window where anything was possible has turned into the inevitability of the finite qualities of Kerry and Edwards. (In case anyone wants a prediction about the winner, I'll confidently take John.) And so comments such as these appear:

"Kerry strikes me as just another side of the same old, tired coin. He's a war criminal, he's in tight with corporations, he's pro-war..."

"Edwards is supposedly trying to get Kucinich and Sharpton barred from the next debate. If that turns out to be true, the asshole just lost my vote even if he does get the nomination."

After a pretty nice honeymoon with the voters, one of the Johns is about to enter the phase of shock and awe--a fair amount of which will be friendly fire. Great.

John Kerry is no revolutionary. He's been around for 20 years, which means he's had to vote for or against a whole raft of legislation. And you know what? Politics doesn't work cleanly. Legislation gets bundled--you throw a little pork on top of a good bill in order to buy off enough senators to get the thing passed. That's how politics works. Blaming Kerry for being a politician is naive and short-sighted. He hasn't been the kind of politician who will only vote for the few pork-free bills that came down the pike. His calculus is the same as most politicians: to get you must give.

Truth: John Kerry has one of the most liberal voting records in the senate. Truth: he has a nearly perfect record on the environment. Truth: the red herring of gay marriage aside, Kerry has a very strong record on civil rights.

Since the beginning I was only lukewarm about Kerry. He's a droner, he's boring, and he's firmly enmeshed with big money (though how he could become a US Senator from Massachusetts without courting corporate interests is beyond me). But he's a good guy, an honorable man, oh, and incidentally a liberal. If Kerry does become the nominee, he will be the most liberal Democrat we've had in 12 years.

I'm tired of folks on the left going scorched-earth on anyone with the temerity not to be their candidate. John Kerry isn't Dennis Kucinich. But calling him a war criminal or saying he's indistinguishable from Bush is just ignorant. He's a decent guy and I'll be proud to vote for him.

posted by Jeff | 8:04 AM |
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