Thursday, September 30, 2004

Crashing the parties 2004: Channel 2 in Boston will present a documentary, "Crashing the Parties 2004," at 8 p.m., before tonight's debate. Here is a bit about it from this morning's Boston Phoenix: ["Meet the spoilers"]. It looks like an interesting documentary.

Goodbye to NCR: Tomorrow night will be the last broadcast of WMBR's "No Censorship Radio" on MIT Radio. The show will air from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on 88.1 FM. The show has been on the air for 12 years and was easily one of the best alternative media/political/music programs in Boston. As an infrequent guest, it will be sad to see them go but sometimes, it is good to step away from something you have been doing for a long time. One of the hosts, Linda P., will have a new show on Sundays called "What's Left" along with a slate of new talk shows on Sunday. I am sure it will be a quality show. Thanks to everyone at NCR for giving Boston listeners something different to listen to on their radio dials.

Catching up on other stuff: Here are some links and news items that are collecting dust in my favorites file:

I've seen author Peter Lance twice on C-Span and he seems like a pretty amazing guy. Earlier this year, I purchased "1000 Years for Revenge," but haven't had a chance to do more than skim it. Well, now he has a new book - "Cover Up: What the government is still hiding about the War on Terror." The book describes extensive material left out of the 9-11 Commission report [which I am currently reading] including links between al Quaida and the TWA 800 explosion and the Oklahoma City bombing. He also talks about how the federal government hid these connections from the commission and the public. Lance has a long history as an investigative journalist so this isn't a Jim Keith conspiracy book [although his were fun to read, too]. Check out Peter's site here: ["Peter Lance"].

On the Nader front, here are some recent headlines:
First, publisher Greg Bates [of Common Courage Press] has a good piece on Counterpunch here: ["How to Win Enemies and Influence People: Nader's Victories: a Mid-Campaign Assessment"]. Bates is also the author of "Ralph's Revolt," a lean and quick read about his 2004 effort.
Next, a New Hampshire man was arrested after admitting to falsely signing his brother's and mother's signature on Nader petitions: ["Man says he falsely signed Nader petition"]. This isn't such a big deal since everyone in the signature gathering business knows that husbands sign for wives; wives sign for husbands, etc., although, it is illegal. Surprisingly, this arrest didn't make national play - probably because Nader isn't to blame! In the end, the Democrat's lawsuit against Nader's petition drive here was thrown out. Nader is the only independent on the ballot in New Hampshire, along with Bush and Kerry. So, don't be surprised if Nader receives more protest votes from disgruntled Republicans, Libertarians, McCainiacs, and other conservatives just like he did in 2000.
Speaking of that, here is a great site from a Republican Nader-backer - who would've voted for Bush in 2000: [I Voted for Nader and I Would've Voted for Bush].
Also, The Unity Campaign has finally updated its "Nader Impact" map which now shows Kerry losing with or without Nader on the ballot: [Nader 04 Impact Map]. On the map, Nader "costs" Kerry 17 Electoral College votes but Bush still wins by 42 EC votes. Of course, not surprisingly, they strategically ignored poll after poll after poll throughout the summer showing no Nader impact at all. And now, with Kerry getting hammered in state after state, what difference does it make? Just like Gore, Kerry is costing himself his own campaign. If I have the time, I will try to do an update soon about polling data. It is critical because at this point in 2000, just before the first debate in Boston, Gore was 74 EC votes ahead of Bush. Nader was around 4 percent nationally or on the verge of scoring millions in public funds for the Greens. However, Gore then huffed and puffed through the debates, blew his lead, had to go our and steal/scare votes from Nader, and still lost the presidency when the Supreme Court selected Bush.
What will happen tonight? We will soon know. But the key to everything is to understand where the race is at this very moment. Everything in history will be about the moment before the first debate.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

'Regime change begins at home': Back when it looked like another Democratic candidate for president was going to win the nomination, I decided to sit down and write a little diddy of a song: ["Regime change begins at home"]

I planned on including "Regime change ..." with a new collection of songs I have been trying to finish for a couple of years. Unfortunately, over the years, work, my other band at the time [Lunar Girl], and family, etc., distracted me from finishing this CD - until now.

My new musical project is rts:collab and I will soon be releasing the project's first CD - "the long lost lover's last long play" - a collection of 10 songs that I have been working on over the last few years. Some of the songs are very personal; others are just for fun. The CD, which was a collaboration with my long-time friend Joel Simches, of Sonic Enhancement Productions, plays with various musical styles while at the same time not straying far from my alternative/post-punk roots.

The first song to be released from the CD, "Regime change begins at home," will be shipped to college radio stations in limited release this week.

The inspiration for the song came when a friend of mine asked me why I never wrote political songs, being a songwriter while also dabbling in and following politics. I told this person that I'd written political songs before but never shared them with people because the songs always ended up being dated or sounding corny. You can almost hear some of the silly songs people could write about politics but then a few weeks later, the songs would be meaningless. There have been a few bands who have written hard-hitting, political songs well, bands like the Dead Kennedys or even some of the bands from the 1960s. Instead, as a songwriter, I try to play with metaphors and vagueness in an effort to get some political thoughts across without actually being overly political.

Sidebar: Some songs on the CD I am about to release are rather subtle. "Hate Ashe Buried," an 11-plus minute, three part track addresses the need to control anger with a play on words about the San Francisco neighborhood. So does the lead track, "Cleanse my soul," which has a spiritual bent to it. And "Redemption through lifestyle" pokes fun at commercialism without being too political.

However, the particular candidate I was hoping would win got strangled by the media and didn't win the nomination and I became a little depressed. I got distracted by other things - working on my blog, unfinished book projects and investigative pieces for my job - and the songs sat. Plus, Joel got busy - touring with and doing sound for All the Queens Men and Dresden Dolls, two big Boston bands really starting to make their mark - and we couldn't tidy up the loose ends. But this ended up being a good thing because I was able to spend more time with the material and we eventually went back, remixed a couple of songs, mastered the whole thing again, and now, it's finished and I can't wait to release it to the world. I probably won't do a huge pressing - just enough for radio, family, friends, and maybe some sales.

However, with the election coming up, it is important to get "Regime change ..." out to listeners. The link is here: ["Regime change begins at home"]. Enjoy the song. I hope it inspires people to go out and take back their country. If you don't like it, no biggie, you didn't have to pay for it and only wasted a few minutes downloading it. :-) However, if you are interested in checking out the rest of the CD, I will have more information soon at this site and the rts:collab site.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Another take?: The Boston Phoenix's Adam Reilly has another view of the Cabral win which agrees with me slightly that there is no "new Boston": ["Winner’s circle"].

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Johnny Ramone: Rest in peace.

There is no 'New Boston'

A lot of hay is being made about the primaries Tuesday with all kinds of grand comments and schemes being bandied about by the media. Most egregious, IMHO, is this piece in the Boston Globe this morning: ["City's political landscape shifts"] which seems to believe that there will be a massive liberal/progressive/minority/gay takeover of Boston politics. Other columnists are touting that “New Boston” has taken over “Old Boston.” But I think these people aren’t really looking hard enough at the numbers. Personally, having watched and participated in Boston politics for almost two decades, I think these folks are assuming a lot - and missing a lot.
In order to come to these conclusions, one has to look beyond the semantic evidence that the Globe has looked at. Sure, minority registration is up. Sure a black [former Republican] woman beat a white long-time Democrat male in a bloody fight for the sheriff’s office. Sure, MassVOTE spent what $700,000 [?] in registration and GOTV efforts which directly benefited one of the two sheriff candidates which is probably legal but bordering on unethical. Sure, Marty Walz won Rep. Paul Demakis’ Back Bay/Beacon Hill/Cambridge seat so a progressive replaces a pseudo progressive [In that race, Kristine Glynn, an acquaintance of mine, would have been just as good a choice]. Sure, an "out" candidate for state rep. beat a Finneran thug in Somerville, showing hope outside of Boston. Sure, another Finneran thug from Cambridge barely held on to his seat. All of this is good news but it isn't a radical change in Boston's body politic.

In the case of the sheriff’s race, low turnout was actually the culprit for Stephen Murphy losing not a groundswell of support for Andrea Cabral. While minority neighborhoods did turn out for Cabral, at higher than expected levels, the turnout in the largely white neighborhoods - Murphy's strongholds - were way below normal primary levels.
According to Boston’s Election Department, only 17.7 percent of voters in Boston voted [less than 50,000 out of 281,000 registered voters]. This paltry amount is closer to an off-year city council race and not party primaries which regularly range in the 25 to 30 percent level. Cabral beat Murphy 29,831 to 18,938 with 949 blanks and 197 write-in votes in the city. Murphy losing by almost 11,000 votes is shocking and was the difference in the race. Murphy won Revere by 295 votes. He lost Chelsea by 50 votes and Winthrop by 219. In other words, outside of Boston, Murphy beat Cabral [3,318 to 3,282]. In all these towns, voter turnout was also extremely low and not on par with normal primaries.
The reason the primary turnout was so low in these areas was the lack of competitive races. In Boston, for example, there were only four contested primaries: the sheriff’s race, the 2nd and 8th Suffolk house seats [usually high voting Charlestown and historically low voting Back Bay and Beacon Hill] and a governor’s councillor’s race. Had there been a normal level of turnout for the primaries - especially in historically high voting turnout areas like Hyde Park, South Boston, Charlestown, and West Roxbury - or higher turnouts in outside of Boston where Murphy won, I doubt it would have been enough for him to win. But I know it would not have been a landslide. An analysis of past voting turnout goes against the New Boston theory.
Sticking with the sheriff’s race for a moment, it is not surprising Murphy got shelled: The entire Democratic establishment - from Sen. Ted Kennedy, to A.G. Tom Reilly, to state Sen. Robert Travaglini of East Boston, to former-Gov. Mike Dukakis, to four Boston City Councilors, and numerous Democratic City Committees - was behind Cabral despite the fact that she was a Republican last year. Murphy was backed by four other councilors [the rest remained neutral], U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch of Southie and black Rev. Eugene Rivers. Murphy, granted a conservative Democrat, has always been a supporter of Democratic candidates. There were rumors that he endorsed Republican Paul Cellucci in 1998 but he denies it and no one has been able to prove it. So when push came to shove, the Democrats abandoned one of their long-time own for a newbie.
Despite what liberals and minorities may say about Murphy being a part of the "Irish establishment," they are really jumping the gun here suggesting that this is "New Boston" and the end of “Old Boston.” It isn't New Boston. Nothing has really changed. The sheriff’s race is one race and one race only. Many of the white male Democrats who backed Cabral probably did so to appease the liberal establishment which is always complaining about the lack of "diversity" in urban politics. Yet these same liberals refuse to really take on Old Boston and they have wholly abandoned Greens and other independents who have tried to take on the old guard. As stated before, Old Boston will probably remain in charge. They threw a bone to Cabral who had a slightly scandalous background - from unpaid school loans, etc. She received the endorsement of both Boston dailies but the more liberal editorial board of the Boston Phoenix went with Murphy. Figure that out. This isn't groundbreaking.
Despite all the complaints about Murphy, he is a good guy. I've known him for years. He isn't progressive; but he is fair and he is a good city councilor. He answers his phone and gets the job done. But unfortunately, Murphy is always looking to move up which is probably why he got hammered from the Dem establishment for being too ambitious. In 2002, despite being an early front-runner, he lost a grueling primary for treasurer. He later applied for the sheriff’s job after the scandals erupted [in which Cabral was hired] and jumped into the 2004 primary race after squeaking through reelection in 2003 instead of taking a break. All he seems to know are political races and constituent services. Before coming in fifth in an at-large race - and eventually moving up after Trav moved up to the state Senate - Murphy had run for multiple offices, over and over again. When Trav backed Cabral, it was no surprise since he and Murphy have been feuding since the older city council races. A lot of this was political payback - not a groundswell win for liberals.
But what about other successes by minorities and progressives? Isn’t there hope?
The media and liberals/progressives will point to Boston City Council Felix Arroyo’s 2003 reelection campaign as another example of growing clout. But Arroyo didn’t win because the minority vote was "powerful" although it has grown. He won because there was a liberal vacuum in the race and progressives were able to consolidate [i.e. bullet] their votes behind one candidate [with others also voting for Maura Hennigan, a progressive on some issues] instead of two or three which was the case in previous years. Turnout was high in 2001 when he came in fifth and was, again, the only progressive candidate in the race [43,100 in the preliminary, Boston’s definition of a primary; 89,000 in the final]. Because there was a mayoral contest and liberals/progressives tend to only vote in these city elections, it helped Arroyo. After Mickey Roache took a Registry of Deeds job, Arroyo moved up. In the 2003 election, however, Arroyo was in serious trouble - placing fifth in the preliminary. Thankfully, at-Large City Councilor Michael Flaherty who is eyeing the mayor's seat, pushed his entire organization over to Arroyo in a shrewd move to bump off Hennigan, also a presumed future mayoral candidate [Hennigan has been getting a lot of play city-wide fighting potholes]. This move boosted Arroyo from fifth to second in the final race that year [66,000 votes cast or 25 percent turnout, which isn’t bad turnout for a non-mayoral city election]. Arroyo also learned that yes, city council campaigns aren't about hunger strikes and speeches, but door-knocking, shoe leather and constituent services. His workers got out there and mobilized voters instead of wasting their time marching in protest rallies. Although, as noted by Chris Lovett of NNN here: [How the vote went in Boston] minority turnout is on the rise in off-year city elections, buoyed by minority candidates running for office. At the same time, turnout in white neighborhoods is on the decline.
However, in order for Old Boston to truly be declared dead [or wounded], one has to watch the city council races next year and see who emerges and with what backing. With Matt O'Malley successfully running Cabral's campaign, look for him to return to the at-Large field in 2005 [O'Malley came in a distant sixth in 2003]. With a mayor's race, O'Malley invigorated with new contacts and help from Cabral's org, and Patricia White probably returning [she lost by only 1,000 votes in 2003], there is hope for a more progressive council in 2005. I'm betting that while minority candidates will hold their clout - in this case Arroyo, and District Councilors Chuck Turner and Charles Yancey, holding their seats - I doubt they will gain more seats. On the state representative and senator front - mostly very conservative Democrats - minority and progressive candidates will be hard-pressed to see any gains due to the entrenched nature of incumbency in Boston and surrounding towns. As noted above, most of these candidates ran unopposed. The old guard remains.

In surrounding towns, however, there is more of a case that can be made about the potential for progressives to gain seats.
In Somerville, for example, a major crony of the despised House Speaker Tom Finneran was beaten by a 100 vote margin which will most surely prompt a recount. Carl Sciortino, a 26-year-old openly gay neophyte beat state Rep. Vincent Ciampa in a shocking upset. Ciampa, who has ruled over the North Somerville/Medford district for 15 years, was clearly outworked as Sciortino was out door-knocking six months before the election. As well, the makeup of the area has changed. Rising home values and condoization have changed the area from a working class, traditional values [Read: Catholic] stronghold to one where yuppies and progressives now reign. A lot of old-timers have sold their three-families while the getting was good. Ciampa had two major challenges in the past by Josh O’Brien, who ran blistering campaigns against him, in the mid-1990s, but was never able to capitalize on the changing demographics. As well, low turnout also helped Sciortino who’d clearly gotten out there early and often.
Another Finneran stooge, state Rep. Tim Toomey, whose district covers East Somerville and West Cambridge, won by 500 votes against liberal activist Avi Green: Toomey 3,161; Green 2,666. Green beat Toomey by 200 votes in Somerville precincts but Toomey prevailed in Cambridge precincts.
Green built upon the candidacy of Green-Rainbow candidate Paul Lachelier who garnered 37 percent of the vote [over 3,700 votes] in the 2002 general election. At some point, Toomey, who is a double-dipper [he gets $59,000 for being a “full-time” Cambridge City Councilor too], will need to get out while the getting is good. Someone will eventually come along and beat him.

Monday, September 6, 2004

Hmmm. Something to think about.

And to think Bush said this before Sept. 11 ...
And the race is on ... The Labor Day holiday is the traditional start of the campaign season even though the two major party candidates have been going at each other for quite awhile. But since from this point on things are going to probably get even more heated, let's take a look at the state of the race.

Right now, most Web sites watching the Electoral College see a Bush lead:
Republican David Wissing has the race Bush 308, Kerry 233: [THR Poll Watch].
The Democratic Electoral Projection site has it Bush 288, Kerry 250: ["Sept. 5"].
Over at the Swing State Project, a Democratic blog, Chris has it Bush 284, Kerry 254: ["General Election Cattle Call, Sept. 4"].
The Electoral College Predictor has it Bush 275, Kerry 247: ["Sept. 6"].
Samboni has it Bush 264, Kerry 258, 16 undecided: ["Sept. 2"].
At this point, all the EC predictors have Bush leading. This is a change from the last few months which have shown slight Kerry leads.

New state polls have seen a shift in the numbers. Let's look at some of the swing states:

Florida: Bush has a slight lead according to an Aug. 30 poll released by Strategic Vision - Bush 48, Kerry 44, Nader 2, Undecided 6. If Nader weren't on the ballot, Kerry would still lose: Bush 48, Kerry 45, Undecided 7. This is a 3-point drop for Kerry over SV's poll from 10 days ago. When asked, 63 percent of voters said they were familiar with the Swiftboat controversy with 51 percent saying they thought the allegations were credible and could be true. Nader will be on the ballot in Florida.

Iowa: An Aug. 30 SV poll has it tied - Bush and Kerry at 47, Nader 2, Undecided 4. Without Nader, Kerry has a 1-point lead: 48, Bush 47, Undecided 5. Nader is on the ballot but the SV poll doesn't offer any other specific data about the respondents. On the Swiftboat controversy, 71 percent knew about the allegations with 44 percent saying they thought the allegations were credible and could be true.

Michigan: An Aug. 30 SV poll has a slight Kerry lead - 48, Bush 45, Nader 3, Undecided 10. Without Nader, Kerry has a 5-point lead: 47, Bush 42, Undecided 11. Over the last two polls, Nader has gained a point while Kerry lost a point. It looks like Nader will be on the ballot despite efforts by Democrats suing to keep him off. On the Swiftboat issue, 60 percent had heard about it with 42 percent finding it credible and could be true.

Minnesota: An Aug. 30 SV poll has it Kerry 47, Bush 46, Nader 1, 6 Undecided. Without Nader, Kerry strangely gains 2-points: Kerry 49, Bush 46, Undecided 5. Nader has until Sept. 14 to submit 2,000 signatures to get on the ballot. Sixty-two percent have heard about the Swiftboat issue, with 45 percent believing it to be credible and could be true.

New Mexico: Research and Polling Inc. of Albuquerque for the Albuquerque Journal released a poll Sept. 5 showing a Bush lead: Bush 45, Kerry 42, David Cobb of the Green Party 1, Michael Badnarik of the Libertarian Party 1, Nader 1, Undecided 8. One said "None of the Above." Kerry received the support of 6 percent of Republicans. Two Democrats and 1 Republican said they were voting for Nader. The number of Democrats voting for Bush - a number that has been very high in past New Mexico polls - were not listed.

Ohio: SV released a poll Aug. 30 showing Bush with a wider lead: Bush 48, Kerry 42, Nader 1, Undecided 9. Without Nader, Kerry gains a point: Bush 47, Kerry 42, Undecided 9. Sixty-three percent heard about the Swiftboat group with 48 percent believing it to be credible and could be true.

Pennsylvania: Another SV released a poll Aug. 30 showing Bush with a slim lead: Bush 47, Kerry 45, Nader 1, Undecided 7. Sixty-seven percent heard about the Swiftboat group with 43 percent believing it to be credible and could be true.

Wisconsin: An Aug. 30 SV poll showed Bush with a slim lead: Bush 48, Kerry 46, Nader 2, Undecided 4. Without Nader, Kerry gains a point. Signatures are due in the state on Tuesday. Seventy-one percent heard about the Swiftboat group with 49 percent believing it to be credible and could be true.

In other states, the polls remain as expected:

In Alabama, Bush has a solid lead: Bush 54 percent, Kerry 34, Undecided/No reply 9 percent. Kerry received 93 percent of the black vote.

In Georgia, Bush has a clear lead: Bush 55, Kerry 36, Nader 1, with 8 Undecided. Since Nader won't be on the ballot in Georgia, the results would be closer to the non-Nader poll: Bush 55, Kerry 38, Undecided 7. This is a 2-point drop for Kerry compared to polling from 12 days ago. Despite being from a neighboring state and being a southernor, John Edwards is no help to Kerry in the poll. When asked who is better qualified to be president, Cheney beats Edwards 48 to 38. Sixty-five percent said they were familiar with the Swiftboat controversy with 54 percent saying the allegations were credible and could be true.

Plus this: Guess who's taking Republican money now?: ["The Hypocrites of"]. And this: ["Why keep Nader off? Exactly!"].
Unity Campaign update: Despite persistant pestering by me, The Unity Campaign has not corrected its Battleground map.
They did post two notices saying they would update the map on Aug. 31 and Sept. 3 and I assumed that John Pearce would do the right thing and post the latest numbers which show Nader not impacting John Kerry's presidential race at all. Well, I thought wrong.
They are still using old polling data - some of it many months old. As has been posted here repeatedly, Nader isn't a factor in the 2004 election cycle. I wish he was more of a factor. I wish he, Badnarik, Cobb and Peroutka, were all given the same coverage as the two major party candidates. Sadly, the media shirks its responsibility. Even sadder is that The Unity Campaign and other Nader-haters can't be honest with the voters of America. They are continuing to perpetuate an electoral fib, a non-existent political phenomenon and they are the lesser for it.

However, anyone watching the news of late can see that Kerry could be impacting his own campaign. A relative of mine recently stated that watching this campaign during the last few weeks reminded him of what happened to Mike Dukakis in 1988. I agree. Maybe Kerry should have attacked the Swiftboat people right away, before the book became a best-seller. Maybe he should have considered signing the Pentagon's Standard Form 180, as conservatives have suggested he do. I don't know. Needless to say, he needs to do something dramatic - quickly.

Friday, September 3, 2004

Will Swiftboats sink Kerry?:
Just when we thought our home state Sen. John Kerry was about to win the presidency of the United States, a loathsome thing happened: A group of former veterans holding a 35-year grudge orchestrated one of the harshest political attacks that our generation has ever seen.
The group, The Swiftboat Veterans for Truth, has made all kinds of claims about Kerry's service in Vietnam. Depending on which newspaper you read or TV program you watch, the viewer gets a different version of the story. For every claim that one of his Purple Heart awards was for a self-inflicted wound, there is a firsthand account of someone else who says Kerry plucked him from the water, under enemy fire.
Since I wasn't there, I don't know what actually happened and neither do most of us. No matter what someone may think of the attacks themselves, they were broad. The Swiftboat group and their well-financed Republican backers from Texas, impressively calculated their attacks for maximum damage - rolled out with unbelievable media precision.
First, a book, "Unfit for Command," was released. Then a small $100,000 TV ad buy in a handful of swing states - which was then blasted over and over again on every news program possible. Then there were interviews with the key people involved saying all kinds of nasty things about Kerry. Kerry foolishly said little in his own defense - choosing instead to go windsurfing - at a critical time in the campaign cycle.
This was a surgical attack on a level we have never seen before in politics. It was planned and thought out for months, probably a long time before Kerry sewed up the nomination. Anyone who has dealt with publishing knows that it takes a long time to get a book edited and published. While I haven't read it [I've only skimmed it and read excerpts], the book was probably quite an undertaking.
Swiftboat spokesman John O'Neill seems to have performed his assault task dutifully, but that shouldn't surprise anyone. O'Neill cut his teeth as a member of the Nixon dirty tricks squad. He has also made some outlandish accusations, saying that Kerry should have been court-martialed for crossing into Cambodia, while ignoring the fact that O'Neill was recorded on tape telling Nixon that he himself had crossed into Cambodia. There are also the different versions of events from many of the members of his group. The Washington Post recently released an exhaustive study of their allegations, calling them unproven.
Yet what is really amazing about all of this is that we are still fighting about Vietnam more than three decades later while our soldiers die in Iraq and Afghanistan. What happened to the mentality of Support our Troops, Support our Veterans, no matter what? Shouldn't veterans like Kerry be given the benefit of the doubt? Or, will the American people have to call for an audit of every Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Silver Star, Medal of Honor, etc. ever awarded to a soldier to make sure that every last veteran actually earned his medals?
Part of this attack on Kerry is his own fault. Under the contrived spectacle that was the Democratic National Convention, Kerry spent a lot of time talking about his military service, a whole 11 months of his life. Almost nothing was said about the 19-plus years he spent in the Senate but that isn't surprising. We all know Kerry's lack of commitment to constituent services and his well-earned reputation for changing his mind and voting against the interests of Massachusetts.
But because he relied so heavily on his Vietnam war record in his speeches and advertising, he opened himself up to the Swiftboat attack. Kerry was tripped up on his own war-time braggadocio.
Shockingly, the Kerry campaign was completely unprepared for this - thinking that the limited defense they have run in previous Senate campaigns and the extensive biographical coverage written was enough to fend off future attacks. It wasn't.
All across the United States, polls are shifting and the slight bounce Kerry received from his convention has fallen out from underneath him. It was only a couple of weeks ago when safe red states - states in which President George W. Bush was almost guaranteed a victory - were in play for the Democrats. In Arkansas, Arizona, North Carolina, and Virginia, states where Democrats have rarely been able to compete, Kerry was within the margin-of-error of Bush. It was all pretty amazing. But as easy as the shifting tides, there goes Kerry's bounce, eaten up by this nasty political hit. It really makes you wonder if Kerry was the right Democrat to be taking on the president at this crucial time in our history.
What is disappointing about all of this is that there are real problems in our nation and this world that need solving. Many of them are the fault of Bush and the Republicans. Many others are the fault of Kerry and the Democrats. Inside Madison Square Garden, Republicans raised the bloody shirt of 9/11, hammering away at the flip-flopping, soulless yuppie Kerry. While outside, the Democrats walked with flag-draped coffins, comparing the president to Adolf Hitler. Is this the best we can do?
While we all know what must be done, the answers are not as clear as we might think - with those same answers bogged down in the emotional phenomenon that is known as partisan, two-party politics.
But what seems assured is that no matter who wins, we'll all end up losers.