Third Party & Independents Archives

Why I am Green, John Kerry, Part 2 of an Ongoing Series

This is part 2 of an ongoing series discussing John Kerry, progressives, and the 2004 election.

The 2004 American presidential election stood, in the minds of many, as a time of great political division. Both sides were revving up their troops for what looked like a nail biter. Tension was in the air, and we were told that this could be the most important election of our lives; to stay home this time would be a crime.

What does the mantra ‘Anybody but Bush’ truly mean? We cannot seriously take it at face value, that is that anyone in America should be president so long as they are not George W Bush. Instead the mantra of ‘Anybody but Bush’ is intended to mean anyone who can beat Bush. Because the United States is a winner takes all two party system,
The Democrats told stories of how this president was evil, he must be ousted they shouted. On the other side stood the Republicans, they told us that a victory by the Democrats would be welcomed by the terrorists and that our nation would not be safe under the eyes of a Democratic administration. Our nation was divided, primarily, into two camps: those against Bush and those who supported Bush. From this division spawned a mantra from those in the first camp, Anybody but Bush.

We are led to believe the only person who can actually beat Bush is the Democratic presidential candidate. Thus ‘Anybody but Bush’ does not mean ‘Anybody but Bush’, what it truly means is: vote for the Democratic presidential candidate. This definition of ‘Anybody but Bush’ brought upon a difficult problem for progressives in the 2004 presidential election. The problem being if we, as progressives, should have simply touted ‘Anybody but Bush’ and thus support anyone the Democrats run or to vote our conscience and cast our ballot for the candidate whose views fall closest to ours.

Respect for all persons regardless of sexual orientation stands as a value embraced by progressives. Unfortunately John Kerry and the Democrats are unwilling to share our values, and instead choose to bow to the right. In the 2004 presidential election Bush and the right wing of the Republicans made ‘morals’ a major issue, encompassed in morals is the debate over the rights of gays. According to exit polling done by the National Election Pool twenty two percent of respondents stated that ‘moral values’ played the most important part in how they cast their vote, indicating ‘moral values’ were more important than ‘economy / jobs’ (twenty percent) and ‘terrorism’ (nineteen percent) (5). John Kerry’s consistent opposition to gay marriage served to not separate him from Bush on the issue, and allowed conservatives to define the issue and continue to play on the public’s bigoted beliefs.

In dealing with the initiatives seeking to ban gay marriage which appeared on eleven states ballots in 2004, Kerry again did not stand up for progressive values. Kerry never openly opposed or endorsed any of these initiatives; however his many statements regarding marriage as only between a man and a woman could be seen as an implicit endorsement (6). In fact it is interesting to note that Clinton advised Kerry to endorse these hateful ballot initiatives (7). Showing their complete hostility toward progressive values many Democrats across the country came out in favor of these initiatives, in Montana one hundred percent of Democrats running for statewide office endorsed the ban (8). In endorsing these measures and in Kerry’s case the endorsement as previously stated is seen as implicit, Democrats ignored the values of millions of their progressive followers and failed to distinguish themselves from conservatives. Furthermore by not supporting a progressive agenda which would support gay marriage Kerry and the Democrats allowed conservatives to define the argument on morals.

Progressive values dictate the United States helping to bring peace in the Middle East with a true two state resolution to the Israel / Palestine situation, and not a resolution which unilaterally favors Israel. Bush and most conservatives have long been staunch supporters of Israel; however the Democrats also walk the Sharon line. At the Democratic National Convention the party’s Middle East platform was laid out, it states in part, “The Democratic Party is fundamentally committed to the security of our ally Israel…and we will ensure that under all circumstances, Israel retains the qualitative edge for its national security and its right to self-defense. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths” (9). This platform runs counter to the Geneva Accord which calls for a division of Jerusalem where the Jewish sections would remain part of Israel and the Arab sections would become part of a Palestinian state (10). In mimicking the wishes of Sharon the Democrats again fail to separate themselves from conservatives, even more so when John Kerry publicly came out in favor of the Bush/Sharon accord (11).

Kerry’s actions involving the Israel / Palestine peace process consistently fall in line with conservatives. In comments made on April 18th 2004 Kerry stated, “In the first days of a Kerry Administration, I will appoint a Presidential Ambassador to the Peace Process. . . . President Carter, former secretary of State James Baker, or ... President Clinton,” however Kerry changed his position stating he would not consider Carter or Baker, apparently the two would bring a view which was not in line with the conservative policies adopted in the party’s platform (12).

There is a long list of ‘lesser’ progressive issues which have been silenced by the combination of conservative opposition and silence by the Democrats. While progressives call for an end to wasteful corporate subsidies and a crackdown on corporate crime you will not hear this sentiment echoed by the Democrats presidential candidate. As noted by Ralph Nader, on John Kerry’s campaign website under crime there was absolutely no mention of corporate crime (13). On issues regarding marijuana decriminalization and the repeal of the hideous provision in the Higher Education Act (HEA), which bars convicted drug offenders of federal financial aid, Kerry is better than Bush but does not actually come out in favor of decriminalization or full removal of the HEA provision. Thus again he shows his unwillingness to support views widely held by progressives (14). Furthermore although his mild approval for these changes is seen as positive Kerry failed to make either an issue in his campaign.

Works Cited in Part 2:
(Note: citation numbers continue from previous parts of this series)
5.Stephen Gorin, “Why Kerry Lost and Where We Go From Here,” Health and Social Work 30 (2) (May, 2005).
6.Thomas Harrison, “The 2004 Elections and the Collapse of the Left,” New Politics 10 (2) (38) (Winter, 2005).
7. Ibid.
8. Ibid.
9.Michael Lerner, “When the Democrats “Disappeared” Anti-War Progressives,” Tikkun 19 (5) (September, 2004).
10. Ibid.
11. Ibid.
12. Ruth Conniff, “Kerry and the Hawks,” The Progressive 68 (6) (June, 2004).
13.“The Progressives’ Dilemma in the 2004 Elections,” Tikkun 19 (5) (September 2004).
14.National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, “John Kerry.” Available at http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=5900.

Posted by Richard Rhodes at May 14, 2006 11:45 PM
Comments
Comment #148222

NOTE: I have no clue why at the end of the first paragraph there is a TM and a question mark there next to the phrase Anybody But Bush. When I wrote it and looked at the preview that was not there. If anyone could tell me why that is there now please tell me, I’d appreciate it.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at May 15, 2006 12:23 AM
Comment #148224

So, you voted for Bush because he was closer to your values????

Okay.

Posted by: womanmarine at May 15, 2006 12:36 AM
Comment #148225
What does the mantra ‘Anybody but Bush’ truly mean? We cannot seriously take it at face value, that is that anyone in America should be president so long as they are not George W Bush.

I would be willing to have a randomly selected replacement. :-)

I’m all for gay rights, but I don’t think the issue has traction. It was used by Republicans to smear Democrats during the last election. It’s more important to me to win than to push any hot-button issues.

I do wish though that we could vote and designate our first, secone, third, and fourth choices so that I could at least give the message that my personal first choice would be a third party candidate. However, we can’t do that, and I see a world of difference between the Republicans and Democrats right now.

Posted by: Max at May 15, 2006 12:43 AM
Comment #148227

In regards to Israel/Palestine, you do know Israel has THE biggest lobby on K-Street right? Having the US go against Israel’s interest is like Congress turning down a salary raise.

Posted by: Aldous at May 15, 2006 12:52 AM
Comment #148229

btw…

Is it me or is the Independent Section hogging more space than the others?

Posted by: Aldous at May 15, 2006 1:04 AM
Comment #148507

For “Independent,” read “Ill-Thought-Out.”

I am in favour of More Than Two political parties (until you start getting dozens or even hundreds of parties, as in some European nations).

But this is only a good thing in America if the threat of Conservatism is eliminated from the political stewpot first.

When we have awakened as a Civilised Nation, and joined Modern World Society, we can declare Conservatism as the Bankrupt and Evil philosophy it is. We can infiltrate all Conservative Organisations with the FBI as we already do with some of them (the Ku Klux Klan, the White Aryan Resistance, the American Nazi Party, etc.), and then we will have the Breathing Room to allow for the debate of Multiple Parties.

Until then (and with the exception of Third Party Candidates such as Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan), a vote for a Third Party equals a vote for a lock-step Crypto-Fascist.

Posted by: Betty Burke at May 15, 2006 10:38 PM
Comment #148533

Betty how do you respond than to the conservative beliefs and platforms of the Democrats, and particularly John Kerry. Conservatism is a ideology, not a party, granted the Republican party is conservative but you know as well as I do that there are conservative factions and beliefs deeply ingrained in the Democrats. If you want to stomp out conservatism, as you wrote than, it is nonsensical to do that with a party that every four years tries to play to conservative interests.

Answer these questions for me Betty.
1. How did John Kerry vote on the PATRIOT ACT?
2. How did John Kerry vote on No Child Left Behind?
3. Did Kerry stand up for gay rights in 2004?
4. How did John Kerry vote on NAFTA?

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at May 15, 2006 11:57 PM
Comment #148704

You just don’t Get It. You have been blinded by your Disappointment so that you cannot see the Forest for the Trees.

Before I answer your questions, remember that I am *NOT* a shill for the Democratic Party: I vote Democratic because it is *THE ONLY* viable alternative to the CryptoFascist Party now in power. (Note emphasis on ‘viable’.) Now:

Answer these questions for me Betty. 1. How did John Kerry vote on the PATRIOT ACT? 2. How did John Kerry vote on No Child Left Behind? 3. Did Kerry stand up for gay rights in 2004? 4. How did John Kerry vote on NAFTA?

1.) How did any Republican? Sub-Answer: ONLY Russ Feingold (Democrat) voted against it. Landrieu (also a Democrat) abstained: every single Republican voted for it.

And - at this time - any Vote for an Independent Liberal is a Vote for a Republican.

2.) Six Republicans voted Against this bill (that’s 4 more Republicans than the number of Democrats [2] who voted against it) - *including* your favourite Senator, Jesse Helms. Are you in favour of Jesse Helms? Why not, since voted against it? Your argument is falling apart…

3.) How many Republicans Stood Up For Gay Rights in 2004? Was it a larger number than the number of Democrats who stood up for Gay Rights in 2004? Has it ever been a larger number of Republicans than Democrats? Obviously not. And yet - at this time - any Vote for an Independent Liberal is a Vote for a Republican… (Your argument has one leg in the coffin; I’m about to deliver the coup de grâce.)

4.) There were 38 “Nay” votes for NAFTA (and 61 “Yay” votes; 1 Senator [a Democrat] abstained). Out of those 38 votes Against it, 28 were from Democratic Senators - only 10 were from Republicans. That means that the majority of Democrats voted against it, whilst the overwhelming majority of Republicans voted for it. And again - at this time - any Vote for an Independent Liberal is a Vote for a Republican.

So, I suppose you must support: the “Patriot” Act, “No Child Left Behind,” opposition to Gay Rights, and NAFTA - because (at this time in American history, at least) a Vote for an Independent Liberal is a Vote for a Republican to win office.

Q.E.D.

Posted by: Betty Burke at May 16, 2006 5:22 PM
Comment #148735

See thats what Democrats and their supporters do they say they do no evil. Yes the Republicans are bad, very bad. But you can’t admit that John Kerry, who was your ‘viable’ candidate in 2004, supported so many conservative policies. Instead of condemning them for taking conservative policies all you do is say well the Republicans do it too and they do it worse. This isn’t about the Republicans this is about you and your ‘viable’ party admitting you put up a horrendous candidate, who was a pseudo conservative in 2004, and told the progressives in America to shut up. You cannot continue to tell us to shut up much longer, many are sick of waiting for the Democrats to come along.

Answers to my own questions.
1. Yes John Kerry voted for the PATRIOT ACT
2. Yes John Kerry voted for No Child Left Behind
3. No John Kerry did not stand up for gay rights in 2004
4. Yes John Kerry voted for NAFTA

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at May 16, 2006 6:53 PM
Comment #148862

First of all - since you obviously didn’t Pay Attention to what I said about myself: I am getting a bit tired of you A.) implying that I am somehow a Democratic Party Machine Supporter - which I am not, and B.) implying that in some way I am not a Progressive.

I don’t know how old you are, or what your background in American Politics is - but I’d be willing to stack my Experience and my bona fides up against yours anyday.

And, with you being all about walking Eyes Wide Open into the Right Wing Spinning-Blade Slaughterhouse Of Naif-Hacking Political Death - leading as many bleating UnAware pissed-off, whinging, girning “independent” Sheep with you - I can’t really take you seriously, now can I?

Go ahead: employ a Foolish Consistency, Nader-Voter. See how it benefits you. You say you have worked with Gay Rights organisations over the years; are you gay? If so, please tell me: when your Political Self-Destruction Kamikaze Death-Wish scheme works out in the next election or two and you have President Santorum in charge of the “Homosexual Reeducation Camps” in Utah - whatchagonna do?

Whatchagonna do? Whatchagonna do? Whachagonna do when they come for you?

Whatever it is: don’t call on a Liberal Democrat for Moderation; you’ll have made sure they can’t get a seat.

And, oh yeah, thanks for acting like a Conservative and just blindly ignoring the Answers (and the Questions contained within them) that I provided to you and just bulling ahead with your own, hate-blinded, rose-coloured Answers to your *own* questions: Bill O’Reilly couldn’t have done it any better!

Posted by: Betty Burke at May 17, 2006 6:39 AM
Comment #150429

Betty: Where did I say I have worked for gay rights organizations? While I am for gay rights I have not personally worked for a gay rights organization. But hey thanks for making up a lie that helps suit your own argument, good work!

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at May 22, 2006 11:55 PM
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