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imperialism & war | media criticism selection 2004

Michael Moore: Why Democrats shouldn't be scared

NEW YORK — If I've heard it once, I've heard it a hundred times from discouraged Democrats and liberals as the Republican convention here wrapped up this week. Their shoulders hunched, their eyes at a droop, they lower their voice to a whisper hoping that if they don't say it too loud it may not come true: "I...I...I think Bush is going to win."
Clearly, they're watching too much TV. Too much of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Zell Miller, Dick Cheney and Rudy Giuliani. Too much of swift boat veterans and Fox News commentators.

Action heroes always look good on TV. On Wednesday night, the GOP even made an action-hero video and showed it at the convention. There was White House political czar Karl Rove and other administration officials dressed up for "war" and going through boot camp on the National Mall in Washington.

I could only sit there in the convention hall and wish this were the real thing: Rove, national security adviser Condi Rice and Co. being sent to Iraq, and our boys and girls being brought home. But then the lights came up, and everyone sitting in the Bush family box was having a grand ol' hoot and a holler at the video they just saw.

For some reason, all of this has scared the bejabbers out of the Democrats. I can hear the wailing and moaning from Berkeley, Calif., to Cambridge, Mass. The frightening scenes from the convention have sent John Kerry's supporters looking for the shovels so they can dig their underground bunkers in preparation for another four years of the Dark Force.

I can't believe all of this whimpering and whining. Kerry has been ahead in many polls all summer long, but the Republicans come to New York for one week off-Broadway and suddenly everyone is dressed in mourning black and sitting shivah?

Exactly what moment was it during the convention that convinced them that the Republicans had now "connected" with the majority of Americans and that it was all over? Arnold praising Richard Nixon? Ooooh, that's a real crowd-pleaser. Elizabeth Dole decrying the removal of the Ten Commandments from a courthouse wall in Alabama? Yes, that's a big topic of conversation in the unemployment line in Akron, Ohio. Georgia Sen. Miller, a Democratic turncoat, looking like Freddy Krueger at an all-girls camp? His speech — and the look on what you could see of his strangely lit face — was enough for parents to send small children to their bedrooms.

My friends — and I include all Democrats, independents and recovering Republicans in this salutation — do not be afraid. Yes, the Bush Republicans huff and they puff, but they blow their own house down.

As many polls confirm, a majority of your fellow Americans believe in your agenda. They want stronger environmental laws, are strong supporters of women's rights, favor gun control and want the war in Iraq to end.

Rejoice. You're already more than halfway there when you have the public on board. Just imagine if you had to go out and do the work to convince the majority of Americans that women shouldn't be paid the same as men. All they ask is that you put up a candidate for president who believes in something and fights for those beliefs.

Is that too much to ask?

The Republicans have no idea how much harm they have done to themselves. They used to have a folk-hero mayor of New York named Rudy Giuliani. On 9/11, he went charging right into Ground Zero to see whom he could help save. Everyone loved Rudy because he seemed as though he was there to comfort all Americans, not just members of his own party.

But in his speech to the convention this week, he revised the history of that tragic day for partisan gain:

As chaos ensued, "spontaneously, I grabbed the arm of then-police commissioner Bernard Kerik and said to Bernie, 'Thank God George Bush is our president.' And I say it again tonight, 'Thank God George Bush is our president.' "

Please.

There were the sub-par entertainers nobody knew. There was the show of "Black Republicans," "Arab-American Republicans" and other minorities they trot out to show how much they are loved by groups their policies abuse.

And there were the Band-Aids. The worst display of how out of touch the Republicans are was those Purple Heart Band-Aids the delegates wore to mock Kerry over his war wounds, which, for them, did not spill the required amount of blood.

What they didn't seem to get is that watching at home might have been millions of war veterans feeling that they were being ridiculed by a bunch of rich Republicans who would never send their own offspring to die in Fallujah or Danang.

Kerry supporters and Bush-bashers should not despair. These Republicans have not made a permanent dent in Kerry's armor. The only person who can do that is John Kerry. And by coming out swinging as he did just minutes after Bush finished his speech Thursday night, Kerry proved he knows that the only way to win this fight is to fight — and fight hard.

He must realize that he faces Al Gore's fate only if he fails to stand up like the hero he is, only if he sits on the fence and keeps justifying his vote for the Iraq war instead of just saying, "Look, I was for it just like 70% of America until we learned the truth, and now I'm against it, like the majority of Americans are now."

Kerry needs to trust that his victory is only going to happen by inspiring the natural base of the Democratic Party — blacks, working people, women, the poor and young people. Women and people of color make up 62% of this country. That's a big majority. Give them a reason to come out on Nov. 2.

homepage: homepage: http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/index.php?id=153

Kerry supporters ???? 03.Sep.2004 02:33

Sandra

Mike: Kerry supporters???
There is no such thing, just all of us "Anybody But Bush" bashers.

Kerry is killing himself by being arrogant (and not to honest about his past) plus he is hiding from the people. He has not had a press conference in over 32 days!!!
Why is he hiding from 260+ swiftboat Vietnam veterans.

Kerry lives in the past.

I have faith in the Clintons. 03.Sep.2004 06:08

W

The 2008 democratic nomination is reserved for Hillary, not John Kerry. She and Bill will put their foot out and trip Kerry so he loses in November. The 2008 field has to remain open for her to have a chance at winning.

Don't you neocon trolls 03.Sep.2004 09:00

have

a sweater vest convention to go to or something?

If Bush was a good leader 03.Sep.2004 09:29

he would not need Trolls and lies

Bush would not need to exploit 9-11 or Zell Miller and his tragic public meltdown.

Kerry is going to lose and it is becoming more obvious as time goes by 03.Sep.2004 10:08

VoteNader04

I believe Kerry will lose.

I believe the Democrats picked the wrong person and its clearly showing.
I believe the Democrats had the right person at the right time and had one of the biggest opportunities in history and they blew it by failing to line up behind a REAL true Democrat- Dennis Kucinich.He was the right man, with the right ideas, and this would be only a two man race as there would be no Nader and possibly no Cobb or "others".

And they blew it. And America and the world will suffer as a result of Bush getting reelected.

Call me a foolish and idealistic all you want, that is my opinion.

OK, you're foolish and idealistic 03.Sep.2004 10:45

laszlo

Why would the Democrats nominate a candidate who only drew 1-2% of the vote in the primaries?

So now you trolls 03.Sep.2004 10:51

are pretending

to be Nader/Kucinich supporters? Are you warming up for Halloween?

Fashion tip 03.Sep.2004 11:46

don't

wear your bow tie with your costume............it will give you away everytime.

Primary vs general 03.Sep.2004 14:17

Scrub

In response to laszlo:

You can't just look at the 3.9% Kucinich got overall in the primary process and extrapolate to the general. (And keep in mind that Kucinich did get 25-50% of the delegates in several states.)

The primary was turned into a "Who's most electable?" contest. The DLC and the media fed voters the answer. For the most part, they voted as told.

The majority of Americans match Kucinich's platform on key issues. The vast majority of Democrats I know who in the primary supported Kerry, Edwards, etc...even Dean, "like Kucinich better but...". The "but" was invariably that Kucinich wasn't electable, because the TV told them so.

In a Kucinich vs Bush contest, all the Anybody But Bushers would we working just as hard for Kucinich as they are for Kerry, *plus* they'd be working for a candidate they more fully believed in, *plus* their candidate would be activating those who see no difference between rich white guy Bush and rich white guy Kerry, *plus* their candidate would have the support of Nader and possibly some 3rd parties.

I agree with VoteNader04 that Kucinich was our best hope of bringing Bush down, and beyond that I feel he was our only hope for meaningful change this year.

Spare me 03.Sep.2004 15:34

laszlo

"You can't just look at the 3.9% Kucinich got overall in the primary process and extrapolate to the general."

Sure you can. If a candidate can't even score more than single-digit percentages in his or her own party, why would the party nominate that candidate over one that got over 50 per cent? And primaries have always been about who is "electable." Voters look at the candidate's stand on the issues, and also whether they have hope in hell of carrying them out. Unless the voter in question *really* likes being permanently marginalized...

"(And keep in mind that Kucinich did get 25-50% of the delegates in several states.)"

Two states, as I recall, gave him more than single digits, Oregon and Hawaii. And nowhere near 50%.

Forget the K-man 03.Sep.2004 16:52

Rudi G.

C΄mon, Kerry is running a stupid campaign. Admit and get over it.
A better candidate would have been Clark or Dean or Vilsek. they are more in touch with the people and history shows that a Senator rarely wins a Presidential campaign. The last one- Kennedy back in ΄60.
And he was a Kennedy!

I would rather have had Dean. One of the early "Deaniacs".

I΄m moving on and eyeing 2008. Hillary. First woman President. She will either compete against McCain or Guilliani (or both). Forget Cheney. Interesting if Hillary chooses Colin Powell as a running mate. Now that would be the ultimate winning Democratic ticket. (First sign this is true? Powell retires from Sec. of State shortly after Bush is re-elected.)

My condolensces to the families in Russia that lost their children and other family memebers.

Interesting if Hillary chooses Powell as her running mate????????? 04.Sep.2004 19:20

IMPEACH BUSH NOW!

Spoken like a true corporatist liberal. Line up your tokens in the appropriate order -- white woman from conservative mid-west well-to-do family, black man from Jamaican-American immigrant family -- and hope it fools the silly women and silly blacks from seeing what they actually stand for.

Never mind that your backwards ordering is blatantly racist and invertedly sexist as well. Colin Powell, who has served in top Republican and Democratic Administration posts for the past 16 years or so, is about twenty times as qualified to be President as first-term Senator-at-large Hillary Clinton. But there are more women voters than black voters, so put the woman first, right? Clinton's been through tought times with all that right-wing conspiracy stuff and the infidelity thing, so ladies first, right, Powell should be a gentleman and let her go first.

Never mind, either, that Powell is a Republican.

Never mind, either that he has participated in the same illegal war and the same dastardly deception of the American public into permitting that war/slaughter/annexation, held up a vile of toxins and insisted it was justification for

Never mind that hardly had the blown-up children's blood and guts have a chance to dry out from Bush's slaughter in Afghanistan did Senator Clinton demand Powell and Bush let Sharon do to Palestine exactly what Bush did to Afghanistan, and stop pressuring the poor victimized Sharon government in Israel "to withdraw from Palestinian towns before the Israeli military has had a chance to complete its operations."

Oh, here, have a bigger excerpt with more "interesting" choices by Senator Clinton, from this joint letter she wrote with her good buddy Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR):

"We write out of deep concern over your response to the recent events in the Middle East. While we appreciate the importance of sending Secretary of State Colin Powell to the region, we are troubled by certain developments that have occurred during his trip. By urging the resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), before the PA officially abandons their policy of suicide homicides against civilian populations, you have dramatically changed your steadfast policy towards not meeting with Chairman Arafat until he commits to a cease?fire. ...

"Finally, we are dismayed by the pressure on Israel to withdraw from Palestinian towns before the Israeli military has had a chance to complete its operations. As the United States knows from its experience in Afghanistan, an operation of this kind takes time. If Israel is not allowed to complete its campaign, more Israeli lives will be vulnerable to future rounds of suicide bombings. If there is to be peace, Israel needs to isolate those elements of the Palestinian Authority that threaten its existence.

Thank you for your attention to our concerns. We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Susan Collins
Gordon Smith
Jon Corzine"
 http://clinton.senate.gov/news/2002/04/2002412E01.html