Republican creep show in New York
September 3, 2004 | Page 1
THE MOTLEY collection of warmongers, bigots and corporate sleaze who run the Republican Party descended on New York City like an invading army. They bellowed about the "terrorist threat" for the TV cameras. Then they scuttled off to posh parties, where corporate fat cats rubbed elbows with the politicians who do their bidding.
Meanwhile, the media spread scare stories about "violent protesters" and "anarchist mayhem." But that couldn't discourage hundreds of thousands of people from taking to the streets to vent their rage at the Bush administration in all its ugliness.
The largest protest was on Sunday before the Republican National Convention (RNC) began, when an estimated half a million people choked the streets surrounding Madison Square Garden in a procession that stretched for more than a mile up Seventh Avenue, across 34th Street, and back down Fifth Avenue. People--young and old, gay and straight, Black, white, Latino and Asian--formed a sea of dissent in the middle of Manhattan.
"I'm here to add one more person to this crowd saying no to Bush and Washington's agenda here in the U.S. and overseas," Daryl Sheppard, an African American resident of New York, told Socialist Worker. "We're losing too many jobs, minorities are losing too much respect--even for themselves. It's beautiful to see so many different people of different ethnicities. I spoke to someone from Seattle, people from the Carolinas, people from all over the U.S. who came just to be here and say no more."
Inside Madison Square Garden, the Republicans beamed their carefully crafted message of "compassionate conservatism." The Bush campaign stage-managed the convention to highlight "moderates" like Sen. John McCain--and relegate the party's reactionary zealots to the sidelines.
After catering to their right-wing base for the last several months with military chest-beating, anti-abortion rhetoric and proposals to ban gay marriage, the Republicans want to show a "kinder, gentler" side. Who do they think they're kidding?
This is the party that chose New York for its convention site to further exploit the tragedy of September 11. An administration that told one lie after another to get its war on Iraq--and is ready to waste ever more lives of Iraqis and U.S. soldiers for oil and empire. A president who happily stuffs the pockets of the rich with tax cuts while living standards for working people stagnate or grow worse.
The Republicans will claim to be in step with "middle American values"--in contrast to "liberals" John Kerry and John Edwards. But count on Kerry and the Democrats to disagree. The Democrats will field a "truth squad"--including Rep. Dick Gephardt and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton--to insist that Kerry and Edwards are no liberals.
When Bush and the Republicans say that Kerry is weak on defense, the Democrats will point out that Kerry voted for the war on Iraq and the war on Afghanistan--and argue that Kerry will be more effective in waging the U.S. "war on terror." When the Republicans spew bigotry about the right of gays and lesbians to marry, the Democrats' response will be that both Kerry and Edwards oppose gay marriage and think the matter should be decided by the states--just as apologists for segregation said about Jim Crow racism in the 1960s.
Millions of people fear and loathe George Bush. His administration's failures at home and abroad are obvious. And half a million people have marched against the Republicans in the largest protest of a national political convention in U.S. history. Yet the incredible fact is that John Kerry is losing ground to Bush. Why? Because he keeps trying to out-Republican the Republicans.
Even if Kerry defeats Bush in November, we'll need to keep opposing the Bush agenda. We need a real alternative to the two parties of Corporate America--and we'll have to fight for it, no matter who wins the election.