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Friday, September 17, 2004

Another blogger for Kerry 

I was pleasantly surprised when I made it into the office today and found the world's media was actually offering me some insight and amusment. Not like yesterday - god, hours of fruitless searching for something of even vague interest. Anyway, lest I digress further, The Guardian has lots to say today. First, a witty and insightful article from John O'Farrell. He really hits the nail on the head when identifying the basic appeal of Senator John F. Kerry:

It is hardly surprising that Kerry has inspired so many people around the world, because his outstanding attributes are plain to see. Firstly, who can have failed to notice that wonderful "not-George-Bush" quality about him? Plus there is that certain "un-Dubya-ness" he seems to possess, not to mention what the French call the "il n'est pas George Bush" aspect of his personality.

Couldn't have put it better myself. This said:

Many of us have been moved to tears by his speeches. "Is that the best the Democrats can do?" we wept. And there is the fact that he served in Vietnam, where he was seriously injured by enemy fire, leaving army surgeons with no choice but to amputate his charisma.
And we've already been there and done that with Al Gore in 2000. But how we wish (especially now, but essentially ever since O'Connor, J. sided with Bush in the Supreme Court) we could have voted for Gore, especially in places like - I don't know - Florida? Arizona? Tennessee? As O'Farrell puts it:

But the tragedy is that while millions of us in Europe and beyond desperately care about who becomes the next president, none of us has any influence over the outcome. The time has come for European liberals to get together and do something about this.
Couldn't agree more, what can we concerned non-US citizens do about this dire state of affairs?

One possibility might be to make commercials of our own to put out on American TV. Obviously, we couldn't let on that we were a bunch of lefty foreigners - we'd have to give our organisation an authentic-sounding alias - something neutral like the American Creationist Freedom Rifle Patriots for Truth.

But imagine the impact of some grainy footage of a young Dubya, with a gravelly voice-over whispering: "Everyone knows that George Bush did not fight for his country during the Vietnam war. This is because he was actually fighting for the Vietcong, leading the infamous Gay Jihad Atheists Squad, who captured American soldiers and forced them to become vegetarians and play soccer."

Never mind that every time we express outrage that George Bush wriggled out of going to Vietnam, we privately think: "Excellent move, George, that's exactly what I would have done." By the time the facts were checked the damage would be done, and Bush would be 20 points behind in the polls.
Exactly, time to fight fire with fire, and stoop down into the gutter to fight the Republicans on their own slimey turf, just as I've been arguing for a while now on this blog, devoted readers. But we're still left with the sad reality that most Americans won't bother voting, especially the poorer and more disadvantaged folk who might really benefit from a change (they'd be less likely to be sent to die in places like Iraq for example). But, lo! Ebay presents a seemingly easy solution:

[T]here is a more direct way that non-American liberals can get involved in the US election. Why don't we just offer to buy the votes of all those US citizens who aren't really that bothered? A majority of Americans won't even take part in the most important election in the world, and I'm sure they'd appreciate the $20 or $30 that lots of us would quite willingly pay to cast their votes for them.

So I call on all apolitical skint Americans to get themselves a postal vote and auction it on eBay. What could be more in the spirit of American capitalist democracy than disenfranchising yourself for the sake of some cash?
I'd be willing to spend USD100 to elect Kerry, so that should be good enough for 3-4 votes, preferably in marginal swing States, thanks. Like Iowa, wherever the heck that is.

Also in the Guardian is a great article by Sidney Blumenthal. I like the opening - Bush challenging the "insurgents" (or "rebels" if you prefer a vaguely Star Wars-esque analogy) to "bring it on", which they duely do, killing 812 US combatants, and injuring over 6000 others. You never were in combat, were you George? Blumenthal then quotes a number of weird lefty types, like instructors at military colleges and former Generals.

Finally, a plug for a blog I've discovered recently, and contributed a few comments to: Just Left.

I must say, for someone who is quite drunk, this has been a legendary rant.

Update: In another interesting case of the Onion's satire being alarmingly and cleverly similar to 'serious' sentiment, check out this story on Kerry's "One Point Plan for America." A few choice excerpts:

"If I am elected in November, no inner-city child will have to live in an America where George Bush is president," Kerry said, addressing a packed Maize High School auditorium. "No senior citizen will lie awake at night, worrying about whether George Bush is still the chief executive of this country. And no American—regardless of gender, regardless of class, regardless of race—will be represented by George Bush in the world community."

In the speech, Kerry offered a solution for the nation's ailing education system.

"Schools do not have the resources they need to succeed," Kerry said. "One million students are dropping out of high school every year. John Kerry and John Edwards have a plan to ensure that all Americans can make the most of their God-given talents: Get George Bush out of the White House."
This reminds me of another Onion article from, oh, 18 January 2001, entitled Bush: Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity is Finally Over. It made an array of 'predictions' that provided alarmingly accurate:

Bush swore to do "everything in [his] power" to undo the damage wrought by Clinton's two terms in office, including selling off the national parks to developers, going into massive debt to develop expensive and impractical weapons technologies, and passing sweeping budget cuts that drive the mentally ill out of hospitals and onto the street.

During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.

"You better believe we're going to mix it up with somebody at some point during my administration," said Bush, who plans a 250 percent boost in military spending. "Unlike my predecessor, I am fully committed to putting soldiers in battle situations. Otherwise, what is the point of even having a military?"

On the economic side, Bush vowed to bring back economic stagnationby implementing substantial tax cuts, which would lead to a recession, which would necessitate a tax hike, which would lead to a drop in consumer spending, which would lead to layoffs, which would deepen the recession even further. [...]

"For years, I tirelessly preached the message that Clinton must be stopped," conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh said. "And yet, in 1996, the American public failed to heed my urgent warnings, re-electing Clinton despite the fact that the nation was prosperous and at peace under his regime. But now, thank God, that's all done with. Once again, we will enjoy mounting debt, jingoism, nuclear paranoia, mass deficit, and a massive military build-up."

An overwhelming 49.9 percent of Americans responded enthusiastically to the Bush speech.

I hear that the oblong box that Bush wore in the first debate is a J-star Bone Phone that transmits via vibrations and can be heard clearly by the wearer but is not audible to those nearby. Would that be cheating?

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