Third Party & Independents Archives

Substance over Style Please, Hold the Spin

I have to admit, I am jaded with the politics of the current presidential election as well as the upcoming debates. I believe both men are equally suited for the job on qualifications but the tone of civility our nation’s leaders have demonstrated as of late, leave me wanting for a reset button on the whole political process.

In the early days of the campaigns, Bush and Kerry both called openly for their opponent to run a fair and clean campaign. This truce of civility lasted as long as you could say “Vietnam”. Soon afterwards were the non-stop commercials by swift boat veterans that aimed to make sure we all knew John Kerry wasn’t a great commander in Vietnam and they wanted to give the impression that everyone in the military didn’t like Kerry. This left the obvious question; why the hell are we talking about Vietnam? What does this have to do with John Kerry in 2004? How does this help Bush since he would like to downplay his own service record? Why should I care about a man's impression of John Kerry when he hasn't had personal contact with him for over thirty years now? Is Vietnam going to be the focal point on picking our president?

It was a red herring and the fact that it got so much attention is proof that we fell for it. So the lesson learned is; let a third party with no real ties (supposedly) to the political party fight your dirty battles for you leaving your opponent on the defensive. If you can make a man with three purple heart medals from fighting as a volunteer in a foreign war look unworthy for his country, who can't you go after?

Kerry responded to the attacks, he had no choice. His campaign was so on the defensive that he came across angry, his return attack ads that soon followed didn’t help his image either. With Kerry, you have a paradox that seems to elude many, but still leaves a quandary about the man. Kerry is (sometimes) an anti-war candidate, and then he isn’t. He wanted to appeal to the anti war movement that grew strong but made certain to not put both feet in the issue. He also wanted to appeal to the undecided voters who favored Bush on his Iraq policy; this leaves you looking like a flip-flopper when your opponent exploits the fact and he should have seen it coming.

Kerry has been fighting a “whatever position is necessary” strategy to win and many of the people who radically oppose Bush seem to excusing this because they have also adopted the same philosophy to get Bush out of office. The problem with this position is that it leaves a lack of substance from the Candidate, from the party, and from the supporters. I want to like Kerry but it is looking more like it makes little matter as to which man wins. The policies change here and there but the tone has already been set for both administrations and they both look quite similar. From the most radical supporters on both sides you have private agenda’s that do not reflect the sum of what it should mean to be our president.

Unless John Kerry finds his mark tonight at the first of the three debates, I predict that George W. Bush will win a second term by another close, but more accurate, election in November.

Posted by Beau Wade at September 29, 2004 3:41 PM