A convention? Maybe; but really it?s more of a coronation. In that sense the Democratic National Convention this week in Boston is no different than the Republican version we?ll see in New York City in a month. In another sense, though, it is quite different. In late August the Republicans will be nominating a candidate who represents their view and mirrors their goals. In Boston this week the delegates chose a candidate who is presenting a public image largely at odds with their own feelings on the major issues.
A polling of the Democratic Delegates in Boston this week showed that fully 90% are opposed to the war in Iraq; yet they crowned a candidate who (now) says that he supports that war and will pursue it if he is elected! How do you explain this? Very simply. This convention isn?t about electing John Kerry. It?s about defeating George Bush. For affirmation just had to listen to the red-shirted young Democrats prowling the streets of downtown Atlanta this week, clipboards in hand: ?Would you like to help defeat George Bush in November?? they ask. Why aren?t they asking whether or not we would like to help elect John Kerry?
I did my radio show from the Fleet Center convention site in Boston this week. During that time I interviewed over a dozen guests; from Chairman Terry McAuliffe (actually a rather nice guy), to Michigan Congressman John Conyers (a man who didn?t realize that American corporations have to pay federal income taxes on earnings realized overseas). Every single one of those guests sat down to the microphone to tell me why George Bush should not be reelected this November. Not one of those guests came to the table with a passion for John Kerry. It?s as if they?ve showed up at the prom with an ugly date and are determined to make the most of it. Even after I pointedly asked them to sing for my audience a few stanzas of praise for John Kerry, the refrain was the same. George Bush has to go.
OK .. this you have already figured out for yourself through your own attention to the Boston Coronation. Now for a few convention observations from what came to be called ?radio row.?
West Virginia Senate Democrat Robert Byrd gets a pass from virtually every interviewer. ?Because he?ll listen to the congress? is not a viable answer to questioning as to just how John Kerry will manage to do a better job of fighting the war on terror than George Bush. If you really want to hear Byrd talk at length while going nowhere, ask him about Kerry?s exit strategy in Iraq.