Old campaign tactics, new weapons

Jack Kemp
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Posted: Oct 25, 2004 12:00 AM

When the presidential debates are concluded and the candidates are in the home stretch to the first Tuesday in November, you can always count on the Democratic Left to unfurl their favorite three strategies: class warfare, generational warfare and race-baiting. This year however, the Kerry campaign is armed with important new tactical weapons - a hodgepodge coalition of 527 organizations, which includes a motley crew of anarchists, enviro-wackos and anti-capitalist activists, supported by a deep bench of more than 10,000 trial lawyers around the country who are armed with leftist talking points and legal memos, preparing to cry voter suppression - pre-emptively, if necessary - to sway the election.

An "Election Day Manual" put out by the Kerry campaign reveals the strategy: "If no signs of intimidation techniques (at the polls) have emerged, launch a pre-emptive strike" alleging voter suppression by the Republicans.

Class warfare rhetoric is one of my pet peeves because of the negative impact the political hyperbole has on sound economic and tax policy. But class warfare, as bad as it is, doesn't come close to the destructiveness of scaring senior citizens that their next Social Security check may not come if a Republican is president of the United States. Kerry's latest attack ad reprises the quadrennial appeal to generational scare tactics.

The Kerry campaign ad headline reads "The truth is coming out." The ominous voice-over explains that the "real" Bush agenda is to "privatize Social Security," leading seniors to believe the government no longer will be there to ensure their benefits. Kerry elaborates on the generational attack in his stump speeches, implying that today's workers will have to "work on the factory floor long into their 70s - into their 80s ... sell the house you grew up in to pay for food and medicine" if President Bush had his way. What utter nonsense! What irresponsible rubbish! Where are the "skeptical" watchdogs in the mainstream media?

Nothing, however, is as destructive to the fabric of our society as the race-baiting that has reached new levels in this year's presidential race. The 527 organizations are the weapon of choice for waving the bloody shirt on race. I recently came across a handout by Americans Coming Together (funded by George Soros, et al.), which is being distributed in the battleground state of Missouri and who knows where else. This handout shows a picture of an African-American being hosed down during a civil rights protest with an accompanying title, "This is what they used to do to keep us from voting."

Keep in mind that "they," the states responsible for this activity, were controlled by Democrats during the civil rights movement. And remember, Republican members of Congress voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act - 138 in favor, 34 against. Ninety-six Democrats voted against. Without Republican support the bill would have failed.

Nonetheless, the handout proclaims, "This is how Republicans keep African-Americans from voting now" - they put phony cops at polling stations, but only in African-American neighborhoods. They make them stand in line for hours, then turn them away at the polls. ... Now John Ashcroft is trying to prevent African-Americans from registering to vote at all." This is beyond the pale.

President Bush has made extraordinary efforts to promote African-Americans and minorities in his own administration - Colin Powell, first African-American secretary of state; Condoleezza Rice, first African-American national security adviser; Hispanic Mel Martinez and African-American Alfonso Jackson, former and current secretaries of housing and urban development; Hispanic Alberto Gonzales, White House counsel; and on and on. That's why it's so disappointing that Democrats are stepping up the race-baiting efforts to prevent the erosion of a key component of their voting base.

Nor is it surprising, however sad, that their efforts would reach a fever pitch just as new polls show President Bush doubling his support among African-American voters, from 8 percent in 2000 to close to 20 percent this year. This kind of race-baiting erects barriers that make it virtually impossible to unite Americans around shared values. Instead, these tactics pray on people's suspicions and fears, further dividing Americans along racial lines.

What the Kerry-Edwards tribe of trial lawyers has done to the manufacturing and health-care industries in the United States - practically litigate them to death - they are now threatening to do to our democracy. The Democratic Party has at its disposal more than 10,000 lawyers at the ready to launch "pre-emptive" strikes to challenge election results that favor Republicans, thus helping undermine the very integrity of our democratic system.

The irony is that while these frivolous legal assaults have already been put in motion by the Democratic legal machine, voter fraud prompted by Democratic voter-registration campaigns in key battleground states already are being widely reported. One such case included payment in the form of crack cocaine for registering voters.

Despite resorting to the politics of personal destruction, race-baiting, class warfare and scaring senior citizens, John Kerry is close but down in every poll. These reprehensible tactics are acts of desperation by candidates and a political party willing to say and do anything to acquire power.

Everyone wants every eligible person to register and vote and every vote cast legally to be counted.

But for our country's sake and as an example for the fledgling democracy in Afghanistan and next year's elections in Iraq, let's hope our election is determined by legally registered voters, rather than by Democrats launching pre-emptive legal strikes trying to undermine the will of the people.