Thomas Sowell
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 Much of what is being said and done at the Democratic convention in Boston is so 1960s. The old favorite songs of the left, the old rhetoric, the old gestures, the delegates swaying together, all take you back to a time 40 years ago when the liberal vision seized the imagination of so many who were young then -- and who are now old enough to know better.

 After all, we now know with hindsight what the heady ideas of the 1960s actually led to in practice -- declining test scores and rising rates of teenage pregnancy and venereal disease, while rates of crime in general and murder in particular skyrocketed, along with unprecedented waves of riots that devastated city after city across the country, while families began a disintegration from which they may never fully recover in our lifetime.

 The 1960s behavior of the Democrats' speakers and delegates tells you more than their updated image, an image now featuring symbols and rhetoric of patriotism and religion that many of these liberals would sneer at if this were not an election year.

 In politics, facts do not carry nearly as much weight as rhetoric. At this convention, facts are being systematically covered up by rhetoric.

 John Kerry is running for a political office and he has a political track record that goes back 16 years in the United States Senate alone. The facts on how he has voted on innumerable issues are all on record. Yet everyone at this Democratic convention and on the campaign trail seems to want to talk about everything except that record.

 In fact, everything at this convention and on this year's campaign trail seems carefully designed to create the opposite impression from what Senator Kerry's voting record shows.

 Over the years Senator Kerry has voted again and again to cut spending on the military and on the intelligence services. In short, his votes have weakened this country militarily. Therefore the rhetoric of the convention and the Kerry campaign uses the word "strong" or "strength" at every opportunity.

 By repeating such words incessantly, the rhetoric counters the reality -- at least for those voters who cannot be bothered to find out the facts.

 John Kerry's military service three decades ago is likewise used over and over again at the Democratic convention and on the campaign trail to cover up his repeated weakening of this country's military defenses as a United States Senator during the many years since then.

 If we were fighting the Vietnam war over again, nobody would deny Kerry's qualifications for being an officer in that war. But that is not the job he is seeking this election year.

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Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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