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.
With a perfectly straight face Democrats will tell you that ?rolling back the tax cuts? on American families earning more than $200,000 a year does not constitute a tax increase. The tax rate for these families would go up. The amount withheld from their paychecks would go up. They amount of their earnings that they are allowed to keep would go down ? but it?s not a tax increase. But when a lower-income family has to pay more for a gallon of milk, now that?s a tax increase.
Areas of the Fleet Center frequented by delegates were plastered with pictures of John Kerry in his Vietnam War fighting mode and his Vietnam war protesting mode. Particularly prominent were pictures of Kerry with John Lennon and other anti-war radicals. These pictures aren?t used in the Democratic Party?s promotion of John Kerry to the great unwashed.
Did you see Jesse ?The Sloganmaster? Jackson?s face while Barack Obama was speaking to the convention? Will Jesse finally realize that his day is done and fade into a semi-retirement routine of making occasional attempts at racial extortion against American corporations while leaving the leadership role to a man who truly seems to understand that the American dream is still there for the taking?
If you actually want to hear mental gears grind and see smoking coming out of Democrat ears, ask them to cite just of the few of the many legislative accomplishments of John Kerry over his 20 years in the U.S. Senate. You just know that they want to grab you by the collar and shout: ?This isn?t about John Kerry, you idiot! This is about getting rid of George Bush!?
A Boston newspaper columnist writes of the enduring greatness of Ted Kennedy. We read about Ted?s tears when he remembers the death of his oldest brother in World War II. We don?t read about Ted?s tears as he remembers the death of Mary Jo Kopechne 35 years ago.
As I finish my broadcast on the last day of the convention I find myself actually yearning to hear the words: ?Please put your seatbacks and tray tables in the upright and locked position.? No gate holds --- I beg you.