Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

February 8, 2004

by J

Fear Itself

NYCO (who really should have her own blog) has put up another good diary over at dKos exploring the similarities between the media's drumbeat that led to seeming support for Bush's War last spring and the media drumbeat leading to a coronation of John Kerry this spring.
There seems little justification for John Kerry to be our nominee. He has no backbone, no record of accomplishment, and worst of all, no shame about his votes supporting the Bush Administration. And yet this party is marching blindly toward this unjustified candidate in the same sleepwalking manner it marched to an unjustified war. Is history really doomed to repeat itself?

Let me return to the parallel between the Dean campaign and the anti-Iraq-movement. There was great energy with the peace march movement, but little effective organization and mistakes were made which were never addressed. Is history really doomed to repeat itself?

And they said the war would go well. They said it would accomplish something. Instead, 500 soldiers are dead -- and we are not safer. Now we seem headed toward nominating a candidate with no backbone who cannot offer a clear alternative to George Bush to swing voters - "You can't beat Bush by being like him" is a truism that has fallen by the wayside, and yet we've all heard from Bush voters who would support him again because he does show backbone and appears to stand for something beyond himself -- even if it's a lie. Is history really doomed to repeat itself?

A hollow war against terror, a war which did not represent our values. Are we going to nominate a hollow candidate against Bush, too?

When Americans spoke up to question the war and press for an alternative, to try and buy more time to make a decision and do the right thing, they were drowned out by the media drumbeat and told to be quiet by their patriotic neighbors, because not standing behind the war effort meant hurting the country and betraying our security. Boundless, amorphous and vague fears of what terrorists could do to us were invoked. The fear card was played. The national unity card was played.

When Democrats speak up to question a candidate like Kerry and press for an alternative, to try and buy more time to make a decision, they are being drowned out by the media drumbeat. And being pressed to be quiet by fellow Democrats, because not standing behind the presumptive nominee means hurting the party and betraying the fight against Bush. All kinds of speculations of future Bush atrocities are being invoked. Is the fear card being played again?
The fear card is really starting to tick me off. Since 9/11, it's been clear that the Bush administration wants people to be afraid. The message out of the White House has been: "Scary terrorists. Be afraid. Be afraid. Scary terrorists." That is not the way to build a society that is resilient to terrorism (which in the current global climate is inevitable -- we can talk about how to change the current climate another time.) It has been incredibly disappointing to see the Democrats adopting a similar message: "Scary Ashcroft. Be afraid. Be afraid. Scary SCOTUS. Scary Bush. Be afraid. Be afraid." That is not the way to build a party that actually stands for something, that respects democracy, and that seeks to uphold fundamental American values.

Both parties are telling us all to be afraid. But goddammit, this is America. We are not a fearful people. We are industrious, patriotic, hard-working, and caring. We seek to solve problems, not run from them. With their constant exhortations to fear... fear the other... fear the terrorists, fear the rightwing Republicans ... fear fear fear.... both parties make it clear that they seek nothing more than paralyzed apathy on the part of the citizenry and their own continued incestuous hold on the levers of power.

Roosevelt was right all along. We didn't listen, we didn't learn, and the great promise of American vibrancy continues to circle the drain.
Posted by J at February 8, 2004 08:33 AM

There is a classic photo from New Hampsire I saw somewhere (maybe here?) that showed a yard sign with "Doubts about Dean? Vote for Kerry" in front of and blocking one with "Hope Not Fear, Vote for Dean". That said it all.

Posted by: harveyIL at February 8, 2004 03:31 PM

I'm becoming less and less patriotic the older I get, and more and more convinced that a constitutional monarchy is the only truly stable and workable government. It's not a good one, but it beats what we've got all hollow, which is an oligarchy.

Posted by: Janis at February 8, 2004 06:57 PM

Recommended Reading:

The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir
The Politics of Truth... A Diplomat's Memoir

Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush
Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush

Against All Enemies by Richard Clarke
Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror

LIES by Al Franken
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right

The Great Unraveling
The Great Unraveling

The Great Big Book of Tomorrow
The Great Big Book of Tomorrow

Clinton Wars
The Clinton Wars

Blinded by the Right
Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative

Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat

Subject to Debate: Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics, and Culture

Living History

The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton

John Adams

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace

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