Bush vs. Kerry
June 4, 2004 | Page 1
A LOT of people would be happy to see George W. Bush driven out of the White House. He's pursued a reign of terror at home and abroad since he sneaked into the Oval Office three-and-a-half years ago.
The man who's supposed to beat him is Democrat John Kerry. But how much of an alternative is he?
Kerry voted for Bush's invasion of Iraq. He supports continued occupation, too. In fact, Kerry's for more troops sent abroad--at least 40,000 more around the world, to fight in Iraq and any place the "war on terror" takes them. Kerry claims that his only significant disagreement is with Bush's "almost myopic" preoccupation with Iraq--because, the Democrat says, this neglects the threats posed by North Korea and Iran, with their nuclear weapons.
When the Bush administration proposed shredding civil liberties after September 11 with the USA PATRIOT Act, Kerry voted for it. But when it comes to the rights and liberties of the Democratic Party's traditional base--women, African Americans, union members and gays and lesbians--Kerry can't be bothered.
On the eve of Massachusetts' first-ever issuing of marriage licenses to gays and lesbians, Kerry announced that he was against gay marriage. And last month, when his vote in the Senate could have made the difference in extending unemployment benefits to millions of workers, Kerry skipped the vote.
The Kerry campaign is even floating the idea--again--of drafting Republican John McCain as a running mate. Kerry is demonstrating to Corporate America that he's a perfectly good alternative Plan B to replace Bush. "In the end, this isn't about party," Kerry told an audience in Green Bay, Wis., last week. "It's about country."
Kerry is the Plan B candidate for Corporate America, the Plan B candidate for U.S. imperialism, the Plan B candidate for the status quo. In other words, Corporate America gets two choices--and that leaves nothing for us.
Yet, many people will feel obliged to vote for Kerry because anybody--anybody--is better than Bush. For Kerry, this is a green light to take them for granted. "People are so desperate to get rid of Bush that they are going to cut the Democratic candidate a lot of slack," liberal New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler told the New York Times.
When asked whether Kerry's support for the war might lose him votes among antiwar activists, Joe Trippi, the former campaign manager for "maverick" Democrat Howard Dean, didn't think so. "On the war, I don't think there's a problem there at all," Trippi said. "Even the Nader fanatics won't do it because of George Bush. They don't want another four years of this guy."
But Kerry is making it clear that his election would prevent another four years of Bush--but not another four years of Bush's policies. We have to build an opposition to Washington's business as usual from the bottom up--that neither party can ignore.