Thursday, December 02, 2004

Why Kerry Lost (#243 in a Series)

It’s been a month since Black Tuesday, aka the Dawn of the Fourth Reich, and my brain keeps TiVoing back to Kerry in the debates. It occurs to me the real reason Kerry lost is because “I have a plan” isn’t anywhere near as compelling as “I have a dream.” Worse, the statement reminds you of Dr. King, and the yawning chasm between a true man of the people and a manufactured one.

Yep, it’s the vision thing. Kerry didn’t have it. Gore didn’t have it. I’m not sure if Clinton had it, but he looked and acted like he had it, and that was good enough.

JFK had vision. When you think about it, that’s practically all he had. He thought big and talked big. (And he had fabulous hair—that always helps.) FDR had it. LBJ had something like it, though it sank in a rice paddie outside Da Nang. Maybe that’s what we need: candidates whose names can be easily reduced to three-letter-acronyms.

Vision is something the Republicans have in spades. The GOP displayed theirs with chilling clarity at their convention in New York. It was like something out of Star Trek: They beamed down onto a hostile alien landscape and erected a force field, where they could take in shows without fear of infection from liberal microbes. There was the President at the pulpit, preaching in code to a his disciples (“I am part of a larger world… I believe in a culture of life”), a sea of white heterosexuals writhing like geriatric bobby-soxers at a Pat Boone concert. Dissenters who braved the edges of the force field were tossed into Little Gitmo and left to rot. And there was the media, literally above it all, upstairs in the press room swilling margaritas and getting shoulder massages, wearing signs around their necks that say “I will shill for food.”

Get used to it. We’ve got at least four more years of this, and possibly a lot longer. And if that doesn’t scare you, how about this: Ralph Reed for President. It could happen.

Even with a lame and inarticulate candidate, the GOP got people to climb out of their pews and their trailers and haul their economy-sized asses down to the polling station. We could do the same. But not by relying on the Democratic Party, who believe the solution is to make Pepsi taste even more like Coke, or candidates who can’t see further than the next focus group.


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