Sunday, October 24, 2004I have long had ambiguous feelings about William Grieder. Back when I was a little more of a neoliberal, I thought he was a nut job. The radicalism of the Bush Administration has pushed me a little closer in his direction, but I never thought I would become more alarmist than he is. But here we are. In the Nation, Greider suggests that the stakes of this election really don't matter that much. I couldn't disagree more.
The thrust of Greider's article seems to be that Kerry has not been sufficiently liberal. According to Greider, Kerry's moderate campaign has ducked the big issues like trade and the deficit. Furthermore, Greider expects that there is going to be a major meltdown in the next four years, so the winner of the 2004 election might be swallowing a poison pill.
I believe Greider's analysis is fundamentally mistaken. Kerry's moderation is the essence of his appeal. Kerry is the most liberal Presidential nominee since at least Walter Mondale. Who do want, Howard Zinn? Everyone knows that swing voters must be persuaded, and you can't do that with chicken little impersonations. The object is to win the election, remember?
The center-left character of Kerry's campaign also explains why this election must be won. We are not talking about the details of policy here. We are talking about the basic character of our democracy. This is the most radical, incompetent, and undemocratic administration in the history of the Republic. Kerry is the champion of moderate democracy in the face of extreme politics. A Bush victory will indicate that the U.S. republic is likely in its death throes. All right-thinking advocates of popular government must rally to Kerry. He is the last, best defense we have.
I made the mistake four years ago of trying to console myself with the possibility of a Gore defeat by thinking perhaps four years in the wilderness would provide the jolt needed to organize the Democratic Party. I was right, but at what cost? Who the President is matters. The future is not set- we have the capacity to shape. A wise steward could do a great deal to alleviate our present problems and avoid future ones.
The negative consequences of another Bush term are almost too great to contemplate. The superstructure of our democracy will continue be be torn down while its foundation continues to erode. If there is a financial crisis in the next four years, do you really want them to be the ones managing it? And I think there is a possibility that we could avoid the crisis, given responsible leadership. Another Bush presidency, however, would virtually guarantee a fiscal disaster. And how many lives might we save in Iraq by getting out sooner rather than later? How much more hated will America be in the world after "four more years." How little credibility will the U.S. have if our electorate re-appoints such a patently awful President
This election is about keeping faith. Keeping faith with ourselves, our democracy, with the truth, and with the world. This is an election we must and will win.