Why I’m an Independent

The Reason: Because unlike Kos, I don’t have to wait until six weeks after the election to point out the obvious, which is that there was no way John Kerry should have lost to a president as monumentally incompetent (and, as Kos notes, as unpopular) as Dubya. Although I do think my suggestion of beating Kerry to death with own shoes beats Kos’ suggestion of lining up folks and shooting them. It gives it just a little extra kick, as it were.

14 Comments on “Why I’m an Independent”

  1. The one guy Democrats ought to beat to death is Michael Moore. I voted for Kerry, and I never saw a bigger load of s**t than FAHRENHEIT 9/11, where Moore spends the first 20 minutes of the movie either lying or twisting the truth beyond recognition. If you have to lie to prove your point, shut up. Now he’s going to “enlighten” us with a sequel. Spare me. Did the Bush campaign hire him to make Kerry look bad?

  2. Michael Moore – and Teresa Heinz Kerry – were the greatest gifts the Republicans were given by the Dems this election year. One quote from them in a wire service story shaved hundreds of votes away every time. So maybe you should lighten up on Kerry and try to understand just why the DNC is liberal America’s worst enemy?

  3. Well, Rick. You know. Kerry is the most recent physical manifestation of the Democratic party’s problems. He’s being used in the iconic sense (by me at least), rather than in the sense of the man himself, who seems decent fellow. Be that as it may, he should *not* have lost, and he bears as much responsibility for that as anyone. So, up with shoes.

  4. Are we really still talking about this?

    Kerry’s campaign consisted of three messages:
    – I’m not George Bush
    – I’m a Vietnam veteran
    – Every George Bush has ever done is bad.

    Anything he had to say about how he *would* run the country (of which I still don’t believe there was much) got swallowed up by those main themes.

    To those who still insist on blaming the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, I can only point out that Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh existed when Bill Clinton ran for president, and yet he managed to win by *HAVING IDEAS OF HIS OWN*.

    So go ahead, Kos – make the Republican party look radioactive. You still won’t win an election until you happen upon a candidate with something to say…

  5. I grew up in Utah–raised a Reagan Republican, signed up for Young Republicans by my mother, and later joined the College Republicans for the free popcorn and showings of the Manchurian Candidate. And when this election went through, I was living in North Carolina, red state. (And when the 2000 election went through, I was nominally independent, residually Republican, and a supporter of Bush. Not that it would have mattered tho, since I was in Canada and didn’t get my absentee ballot in time.)

    I note that Kos and you both commented on Dubya’s unpopularity, and that may be true–he may be the most unpopular president since Harding, but he’s also just popular enough to squeak by Kerry.

    I’m trying to reach for a point here, so I’ll explain something about my family–my family is so Republican that when my mother was playing Apples to Apples (a card game where you compare people, places, things to adjectives), I seriously had to argue with her and my littlest sister as to why Adolf Hitler should be able to beat out Hilary Clinton as a descriptor for “evil”. (And Hilary Clinton was still beating out telemarketers.) My family is so Republican that when they found out I was voting for Kerry, my dad was reported to have uttered the words, “I wasted all the money I ever spent raising her.” I have heard more static about voting for a Democrat than I have over leaving the Mormon church. You CAN’T explain to my family–who have intelligence genes aplenty, but who also have lived most of their lives with a major church telling them who to vote for and how to vote–why Kerry might have made a better president, or even that Bush is blindly arrogant and incompetent. You just can’t. I tried. The instant the word Democrat enters the conversation, all thinking goes out the window. (I did get two of my sibs to say that they didn’t care who I voted for, and they were just glad I was voting. Yay for the younger generation.)

    Everything I just explained about my family seems to hold true for about 60% or so of my fellow North Carolinians. (I do happen to live in the very blue county of Durham–no accident, mind you. Lee and I picked a city and a neighbourhood where we could decorate our house how we wanted, put up a statue of Buddha if we wanted, etc.) But you can’t say stuff against The President. You can’t criticise this country. You can’t…you can’t…you can’t….the list gets pretty long, and if you cross one item on the agenda, you’re pretty much pegged with the liberals. (I have a funny story about the first time somebody called me a bleeding heart liberal, and I about had a heart attack, but we’ll save that for another time.)

    On the other side, I have friends in NY and California who have never even known a conservative growing up–they have no idea how my family thinks, or why they could even believe as they do. And I don’t think they get the whole “batten down the hatches” mentality that rabid conservatism breeds. That’s what I think we’re up against. You could have paraded the issues of competence and popularity across the board, and it would still take years to dislodge some of my friends and relatives from their point of view. I sometimes think the only reason I was able to move away and reexamine my political beliefs is because I was also willing to examine the basis for my lifelong religious beliefs.

    I don’t know where I’m trying to go with this–but knowing that there are millions of people just like my family, it makes it really hard for me to pin the loss of an election to just one man, or even that man’s campaign. We’re talking about a lot of inertia here….inertia that’s become more cemented by events like 9/11.

  6. John, you’re talking shoes, but still really saying firing squad.

    Sure, of course, Kerry made some serious blunders; I might add, so did Bush. But isn’t it really more interesting to look at the larger things this election taught us? Like grassroots efforts work? Or the web in general and blogs in particular wield some serious power? Or the major media, on its best days, does only a fair to crappy job?

    Or this: that after the 2000 election, Karl Rove let slip a comment to the effect that something like 3 million evangelicals hadn’t voted and that he aimed to change that the next time around. And, coincidence or not, Kerry loses by a similar margin.

    The roots of the democratic losses, in my opinion, go back much further than Kerry-as-candidate, and while he may be an icon for that failure, he’s really only the head of a very large class.

    And having closely read your blog for a couple of years now, you strike me only as a more pragmatic, if disgruntled, member of the Donkey Club. Might I suggest for you another meme flogged by Kos on his site? “I am a Reform Democrat.”

  7. “John, you’re talking shoes, but still really saying firing squad.”

    You know, of all the things in the world I really like — fluffy kittens, fresh-baked cookies, a warm toasty fire on a cold winter night — the thing I like *best* of all is people who tell me what I’m *really* saying when I write something. Because, after all, I’ve only been a professional writer for 13 years, written six books and thousands of newspaper and magazine articles, not to mentions hundreds of thousands of words worth of Whatevers. Clearly, I couldn’t *possibly* know what I’m *actually* trying to say.

    When I’m talking shoes, I’m talking shoes. If I wanted to say “he should be put up in front of a firing squad,” that’s what I would have written. I like *my* formulation. It’s messier, it’s nastier, and in my estimation, it’s what Kerry deserves (metaphorically) for losing an election he ought to have won walking away.

    Look, if you want me to suggest that Kerry isn’t responsible for his own defeat, you are going to be waiting a long, long time. Whatever else happened and whoever else was involved, he was the captain of his election campaign and ultimately he’s responsible for its success or failure. There is surely enough blame to go around, but, icon, symbol or not, let’s make sure Kerry gets the heaping helping that is due to him. He went up against the most incompetent president in living history and lost. You can’t simply put the blame elsewhere. It goes through him first.

    I will bet you any amount of money you would care to wager that if the question was placed to John Kerry as to who was responsible for losing the election, his answer would be “me.” Because I imagine he knows it’s honorable to say, and because I imagine he also knows that ultimately it’s true. I’m sure he’d prefer not to be beaten to death with his own shoes (or shot), but if anyone was going to have to suffer that fate, I imagine he wouldn’t try to foist that fate on anyone else.

  8. John, you’re talking shoes, but still really saying soft fluffy bunny slippers. You know, the kind with the long ears. Those things hurt like a barbed wire mo-fo when wielded properly.

    Or so I’ve heard.

    Being against the death penalty, I’m not comfortable with beating Kerry to death with his own shoes. How about just until unconsciousness sets in? Then leave him in a locked room filled with those Swift Boat guys, or something even more heinous (my cold-addled head is refusing to come up with that something).

    Then again, that may be cruel and unusual punishment…

  9. **Then leave him in a locked room filled with those Swift Boat guys, or something even more heinous (my cold-addled head is refusing to come up with that something).**

    How about a Yoko Ono album on a skippy CD?