Saturday, September 13, 2008

Don't be bullied

If you see John Kerry's people buying a kitchen sink today at Home Depot, feel free to ask him when it's going to be thrown at Ed O'Reilly.

Because Campaign Kerry thrown everything else at him. The Dirty Tricks Cupboard is bare. Stuff that I never expected a sitting Senator to do in a general campaign, Kerry and Kerry's people have done.

Where to start? Where to start in this story of an attorney who never posed a threat, being buried under a mountain of personal attacks from every direction possible? Where to start in this story of sneering at the voters?

In fact, we're lucky we have a choice at all. Kerry didn't want the inconvenience of O'Reilly on the ballot. He blew an enormous bankroll on swag and fliers, on throwing enough stuff with the Kerry name on it. Why not -- he had plenty of money left over from his presidential run to spend this guy into submission. Whips stalked the floor of the Democratic convention in Lowell, and were not inclined to take no for an answer. His campaign engaged in some brutish tactics to make things go their way. By happenstance, Kerry got all the time he wanted for his convention speech, rules be damned. Kerry failed -- democrats and Democrats wanted a choice. They wanted their questions answered.

So phase two kicked in, with lining up the pressure groups, against their interests and state platform, to endorse him -- everyone from the teachers' unionsto gay rights activist groups got in line. To endorse a man who stands against marriage equality, and stands against a constitutional approach to education policy.

Posters suddenly showed up online attacking anybody who dared question John Kerry. when I explored Kerry's failure to support his fellow Senators, it was dismissed as "voodoo math" -- with no justification. Professional-quality posts with extensive archival quotations showed up by people who never feigned interest in anything else affecting the Democratic Party.

And they were the same offline. A woman in front of me at a recent Obama fundraiser lit into me out of nowhere when she saw my O'Reilly button -- "the Democratic Party would be better off without people like you" I was told. This from somebody who two minutes before was complaining about the horror of actually attending an event, as she prefers just to send money. Heck, if you want organized events that run on time, the Democratic Party is not for you. And anybody with any experience working with, not just funding, the party knows that. It's part of the fun.

Kerry ducked a debate for months, before finally consenting to a 20-minute farce. At one point, Peter Vickery in his role as a Kerry surrogate opined that Kerry's presence was too necessary for the democratic process in swing states to sacrifice even a night in service of the democratic process in his home state. The "Senator from Massachusetts" had much better things to do in Massachusetts.

Phrase Three came with the Chair of the Democratic Party abandoning any pretense at neutrality, and issuing a baseless press release in Kerry's favor after the farcical debate. This was followed quite soon by leaks claiming O'Reilly's brother is under federal investigation.

It's a sad, sad story. A great debater with decades in the Capitol could have won easily via the high road. But John Kerry chose not to take the high road. This isn't an endorsement of Ed O'Reilly. I will be discussing the many reasons why Ed O'Reilly has earned every vote he receives on Tuesday, including mine. But I think that as Democrats and democrats, we need to ask how seriously people like these take the democratic process when they short-circuit it at every turn.

Personally, I don't think this is about O'Reilly. I think this is about any person who thinks that they have the right ask serious questions about entrenched incumbents. This is about any Democrat who believes not just in elections, but re-elections. Who wants accountability for all, not just Republicans.

The message from Kerry and his friends to us is simple enough:
Shut up.

What's your response?

1 comment:

MAC said...

The only reason O'Reilly is even on the ballot is because of sour grapes among Clinton supporters. They figured to give Kerry a hard time for his support of Senator Obama in the Primaries.
Mr. O' Reilly is running on nothing but his dislike of Senator Kerry and a claim that can not be varified- that Mr. Kerry's Iraq vote was a political vote. He offered nothing but an unclear message of just being different and is woefully unqualified to be a US Senator. Looking like a Kennedy is not a good enough reason to vote for someone. And, regardless of how one may feel personally about Senator Kerry, ( I have the highest respect for the man)he has done a great job in the senate, leading the way on many issues that are important to all Democrats and those issues that are important to the people of Mass. He is a true patriot, leader and a man of integrity. I never saw much out of the ordinary for a senate campaign during this primary. Politics are politics. No one is stopping you from voting for the person you think should be the US Senator from Mass. if that were the cas than you and O'Reilly would really have something to write and talk about.