"The president has gone from mission accomplished to mission miscalculated to mission impossible on the war on terror," said Phil Singer, a spokesman for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry
So now the Kerry campaign accepts the fact that the war in Iraq is the same thing as the "war on terror"? OK, I know, it was just a spokesman trying to score a cheap point, but still. That almost makes it worse, that Kerry's people are more focused on clever sound bites than they are on articulating a coherent anti-Bush position on the war.
Here's something else I saw today that drove home the point of just how lame the Democrats are these days. The Al-Jazeera news network (like every other news network) gets to put up a sign announcing their presence inside the hall at the Republican convention. In contrast, the people running the Democratic convention apparently thought a sign saying "Al-Jazeera" would be too controversial
, or something.
Some people, however little they think of G.W. Bush, might have a hard time casting their presidential vote for such a bunch of craven unprincipled cowards. Yesterday evening I dragged myself out to see a panel discussion
titled "Can We Do Better Than Anybody But Bush?", featuring an all-star lineup from the people that right-wing bloggers and editorialists love
to call the "loony left". The speakers were reporter Jeremy Scahill, journalist JoAnn Wypijewski, anti-globalization bigshot Naomi Klein, ex-Black Panther, socialist, and anti-death penalty activist Shujaa Graham, socialist publisher Ahmed Shawki, and Nader running mate Peter Camejo.
I thought the panel might feature an interesting contrast between three veteran activists (Graham, Shawki, and Camejo) and three Gen X reporters / authors (Scahill, Klein, and Wypijewski). But the speeches actually turned out to break by gender. The female panelists, Klein and Wypijewski, took the ABB position, and both gave a low-key and reflectve speech, conceding the point that Kerry was worthless and basically evil, but still suggesting that maybe it would be best if he wins the election. Klein, who's writing I always find interesting, turned out to be the weakest speaker in the bunch, a bit unfocused. Wypijewski at least made a good effort to be amusing.
The four male speakers, in contrast, all gave impassioned stem-winding speeches exhorting the audience to fight the good fight and stand up for what we believe in, which means turning away from the Democrats. All were powerful speakers, especially Camejo, who spoke last. By the time he finished he had the audience really buzzing. I personally left the room with half a mind to look up the local Green party and see what they were up to.
But on reflection, I think that Wypijewski's argument is the one that stuck with me. She argued that for progressives these days, voting doesn't make much difference, regardless of who we do or don't vote for. If we vote for the Democrat, or the third party candidate, or don't vote, we might imagine that we send the powers that be (or at least the Democrats) some kind of message. But are we really? Maybe they aren't going to listen to us in any case, maybe there is no scenario in which the Democrats get so desperate that they veer to the left. In that case, there is nothing to lose, so we might as well vote for Kerry and get the minor satisfaction of seeing Bush fail. It's not much but it's the best you can get for your vote. Sad, but perhaps true.