Wednesday, November 03, 2004


An open letter to John Kerry

and to future Democratic candiates:

Dear Senator Kerry,

I will always be grateful to you for persevering in carrying a message of hope in an extraordinarily difficult presidential campaign. You showed calm under pressure, and maintained dignity and integrity in the face of your opponents' campaign of lies, false character attacks, and distortions. I continue to believe you would have been an excellent President of our country.

However, you have let us, your followers, down today with your premature concession of defeat.

It's unfortunate that the qualities that would have made you a fine president are not, in many respects, the same as those that make a strong presidential candidate and party leader. Your campaign has been criticized, with some justification, for being overly cautious and for waiting until you were behind – and, in hindsight, until it was too late – to craft a clear strong message and to decisively attack the failings of President Bush. Today, you have failed us as a party leader.

If there was any lingering doubt after the 2000 election -- and there should have been none – it is now crystal clear that a strong presidential candidate and party leader is not someone who runs for president until election day; he is someone who fights for the presidency through election day to December or January or whenever the fight is over.

In 2000, the Florida electoral vote debacle should have ended with a vote in the House of Representatives. Bush would in all likelihood have been chosen president by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. But their choosing Bush in the face of a popular vote plurality for Al Gore would have imposed costs on the Republicans, and it could well have coalesced a strong Democratic opposition that might have culminated in stronger Democratic showings in the mid-term elections and a different result yesterday. Equally important, a presidential-selection battle in Congress in 2000 might have created a political groundswell to reform problems in the electoral system that continued to plague the election this time. Instead, Al Gore, in name of "statesmanship" and "national unity," accepted the highly political and illegitimate decision of the Supreme Court to let Congressional republicans off the hook

You probably felt that your minority of the popular vote was a negative mandate against your continuing the fight for the White House. But under the rules of presidential selection, you had a fighting chance to win Ohio, and thereby an electoral majority and the Presidency. As it is, the votes in Ohio have not been fully counted.

Had you won the election in that way, disputes notwithstanding, you could have demonstrated your statesmanship by pursuing a bi-partisan government of national unity that would have legitimized your presidency. Had there been an outcry of some of the public over a minority-popular-vote presidency, perhaps that would have led to a serious and salutary debate about reforming the electoral college. And by the way, had things been the reverse of what they are today -- had you won the popular vote, and led but not clinched the electoral vote -- do you think the Republicans would have walked away from a shot at the presidency because Bush did not have a popular electoral mandate? We already know the answer to that, from 2000.

Even an ultimately unsuccessful continuation of the fight would have benefitted your party and your 54 million supporters. There remain critical problems undermining our voting system. There is a strong suspicion of voting fraud stemming from the Diebold touch-screen voting machines, and serious questions of disenfranchisement in the chaotic procedures for handing provisional ballots. Had you fought for your voters in Ohio, these issues would have taken center stage. Focused public outrage could have led to solutions of these and other serious flaws in the electoral process. Instead, with your withdrawal from the fray, these issues are likely to be relegated to the margins of political debate as stories in the liberal fringe media.

Your words about "healing" and "national unity," like Al Gore's, are just that – words. The ears that need to hear them – those of the Bush administration – are totally deaf to them. Bush took his electoral minority to run the most partisan administration in modern memory: "Full speed ahead" on the right wing agenda, in the words of Dick Cheney. And this when he had re-election to worry about. If that past four years have shown us anything, it is that Bush is a divider, not a uniter. You know this. And you know that Bush, with a significantly the weakened Democratic opposition in Congress and no re-election concerns to check him, will take this tiny electoral majority – the smallest margin of victory of any incumbent in American history – and treat it as a mandate to push his right wing agenda further than anything we have yet seen. Perhaps had you continued to fight for the presidency, you could have reinvigorated your supporters – now reeling from the disappointment – to resist the divisive governance of the Bush administration.

You fought a good fight up to November 2, but you owed us a better, and longer fight.

If there is anything good to come out of your quiet withdrawal from the race, let it be that all future Democratic presidential contenders are put on notice. The battle for the White House does not end on election day. The Republicans have proven that they understand this. If you will be the Democratic nominee, are you prepared to fight until the finish?

And on a lighter note than pure west palm beach lawyer , check out the funniest trial transcript ever! If it's not serious enough of a topic, well, just pretend it's the Brit's version of west palm beach lawyer !
Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]