Observing from beyond the solar system, a cultural outsider looks in.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Why Kerry was wrong in 2004, and Edwards was right.

OK, John Kerry. It's time for a reckoning. Where's my money? Where's my Democratic president? And where's my country?

Let's review all the reasons why John Kerry was wrong and John Edwards was right in 2004, shall we?

First off, John Kerry went into the game in 2004 giving the Republicans a 40 point lead, by refusing to campaign in the South and the red states, and refusing to allow John Edwards to do so on his behalf. Do you know how many TV ads were run in North Carolina in 2004 with a North Carolinian on the ticket? Zero. Let's listen to Elizabeth Edwards talk about that for a moment.

People accuse Edwards of not winning North Carolina, as if people vote for the VP, but the fact that we didn't win North Carolina and other red states in 2004 can be squarely blamed on one person: John Kerry.

Then, do you remember how many e-mails you got from the Kerry campaign in 2004 asking you to contribute money because they were desperately in need of it? Do you know that John Kerry didn't spend $16 million of that money that he raised in 2004, and put $14 million of it into his Senate campaign fund? I don't know about you, but I want my money back.

I went to a last-minute fundraiser for the Kerry campaign in San Francisco. It cost me $1000 to go. Mere weeks later, I learned that not a penny of that money was ever spent on the campaign.

Oh well, at least I got to see John Edwards and get my copy of Four Trials signed. That's one expensive autograph, and JRE would have given it to me for free any other time.

Where is my money, John Kerry?

Worst of all, there were serious problems with the 2004 election in Ohio and other states, and they may have been enough to throw the election to George Bush, but we'll never know, because Kerry refused to contest the election.

John Edwards urged him to contest the election, and to keep their promise that they would not give up until all the votes were counted.

I don't have a link to the full passage, because I'm transcribing this from hardcopy, but this is from Elizabeth Edwards' book Saving Graces:

John came in around 1 a.m. and told me the campaign had heard that George Bush was preparing to declare victory. They wanted John to go out and speak to the crowd in Copley Square -- and the television audience -- before Bush went on the air.

"Just you?" I asked.

"Just me," he said. Senator Kerry was at his Boston home. He also spent the day thinking he had won, and the night had been hard on him. John agreed to do it. Hundreds, maybe thousands of supporters still stood outside in Copley Square, where it was cold and raining, and they deserve to hear from the ticket.

Finally, around 2 a.m. Peter Scher and John's other closest advisors came into our room with the speech someone in the campaign had written and the invisible "they" in some other room wanted John to deliver. I heard them in the next room. He couldn't give that speech, John said. It was too close to a concession, making it easier, not harder, for George Bush to declare victory while there were votes yet to be counted in Ohio. I listened from my bed as they try to rearrange the existing words into something accurate and strong. Finally, unencumbered by the suggested speech they were trying to edit, I yelled out from the bedroom: "We've waited this long. We can wait a bit longer."

John scribbled a note to himself, pulled up his tie, and headed out. I heard the roar from Copley Square as he came on stage 10 floors below me. "We've waited this long," he told the somber crowd. "We can wait a bit longer."

I woke up early the next morning. John and Cate and I had a few minutes alone to talk about all that had happened the night before and what would happen later that day, when we would all meet the Boston doctor who would later be my surgeon. I went to dress as John's staff and other members of my family started trickling in. I showered, and as I put on pants and a sweater I listened to John in the other room, arguing into a speakerphone that we could not concede until the votes were counted. "we promised," he said. "We told these people that if they stood in line and fought for their right to vote, we would fight to have them counted. We promised."

He was giving no room, but I could see that he was losing this argument to unnamed voices on the other end of the line. Someone would recite the latest numbers from Ohio, and John would counter. But he was alone, and the fight was lost.

John Edwards was fighting for us even then.

The picture of graciousness and restraint, John Edwards has made a very nice statement today about the fact that John Kerry has endorsed Obama:

"Our country and our Party are stronger because of John's service, and I respect his decision. When we were running against each other and on the same ticket, John and I agreed on many issues. I continue to believe that this election is about the future, not the past, and that the country needs a President who will fight aggressively to end the status quo and change the Washington system and to give voice to all of those whose voices are ignored in the corridors of power."

All I can say is, I'm glad John Kerry didn't endorse John Edwards. We don't need that kind of help.

John Kerry, where is my money, my Democratic president, my vote, and my country?

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