Barry Crimmins

words to live near



CrimQuips 1/30/04 Friday, January 30, 2004

Just a couple of quips followed by a brief primary update...

The world would be a much better place if the court-appointed Bush Administration knew the difference between Americana and Ghengiskhana.

The upside of the media enhanced Dean Iowa debacle is that it resulted in a new course ofpsychiatric treatment. It's called "primary scream therapy."

Speaking of the primaries...

It's been spun that John Kerry's New Hampshire Primary victory isn't that big of a deal since he comes from neighboring Massachusetts. Come on. It would be one thing if he had led in New Hampshire from wire to wire but Kerry picked up 34 points on Howard Dean in a matter of weeks and that is pretty impressive no matter where you're from. Massachusetts has a common border with the home of the first primary in the nation but New Hampshire and Vermont interlock and he regained that ground on the former governor of the Green Mountain State. At this point if you're in in the Anyone But Bush club, you must take a long look at Kerry.

I love Dennis Kucinich but was disappointed when exit polls showed that he lost the crucial battle for New Hampshire's delusional voters by a 3-1 margin to Joe Lieberman.This means that, at least in the Granite State, far more deluded people believe Lieberman is a Democrat than believe a Democratic candidate should stand up for progressive causes. Alas.

The Dean folks have a lot invested in their candidate and so they are going through a real Miami Dolphins fan moment. Each year the Dolphins kick ass in September but as the season winds down and the games become life and death, the Fins fade faster than newsprint in a greenhouse. With veteran beltway operative Roy Neel taking over the Dean run, so long to a campaign staple -- haranguing Washington insiders. Dean's best hope may rest on finding a way to prove thus far unsubstantiated charges of dirty tricks by the Kerry campaign (electronic "Dean" calls at imprudent hours, calls to
Dean supporters with incorrect caucus addresses and so on). Some Dean boosters tried to blame their boy's loss in the Iowa CAUCUS on touch screen voting irregularities until they were reminded of just how preposterous, not to mention wrong, that was. This time around they would be well advised to double-check their case before taking it out in public.

Wesley Clark is definitely the best general running for president, bar none! Unfortunately, many voters don't relate to his penchant for equating everything to how he ran military facilities. In regular life we have hospitals, not sick bays; stores and not PX's; jails and not brigs or guardhouses; cafeterias and not mess halls. To us debates start at 7 o'clock and not 1900 hours.

And some of us are just a tad nervous about a man who served in Vietnam, saw what took place over there and then deemed the military a sane career choice. Many of the nervous people are Vietnam vets.

It could be argued that nobody has done more for John Kerry than Wesley Clark. If the word 'electability' ends up in the dictionary, Clark's campaign will be largely responsible. When Kerry was lagging and Dean was apparently headed for the Super Bowl, Clark's foot soldiers began planting doubt about Dean's general appeal (if you'll forgive the term). The concept of "electability" has done more damage to Howard Dean (and I'm not saying it is fair or right, I am just reporting the facts here) than even his caterwaul heard 'round the world, which really, really hurt. Granted the media played gotcha by using the feed line from Dean's mike but even with the crowd howling, it was a pretty weird moment. And the timing was horrific considering he had just gotten his face rubbed in an Iowa pigsty by the formerly dead -to-rights Kerry. Much to the dismay of General Clark and his supporters, Senator Kerry, a man with serious military and public service credentials, and a candidate possessed of a veteran political organization, now seems the most likely person to end up with his picture next to 'electability' in the dictionary.

It is nonsense to say that America will not elect a candidate from the Northeast. This myth grew out of Michael Dukakis's bungled campaign in 1988. It says here that, should he be nominated, John Kerry is shrewd enough to run against Bush the unelected's weaknesses in a manner in which Duke refused to engage against Bush the (soon to be)elected. The Dukakis campaign chose to completely ignore the
Iran-Contra scandal and 41's role in it. Why remains unclear to this day. To further handcuff himself, he chose Lloyd Bentsen, a pro-Contra Dem as his running mate. And then Dukakis iced his layer cake of doom with braggadocio about the "Massachusetts Economic Miracle," a phenomena almost completely resultant from Reagan's massive military buildup. The Gipper's Pentagon spending spree infused cash into the Route 128 high tech corridor surrounding Boston faster than you could say
"Raytheon and General Dynamics." Of course it only took the tweaking and/or delay of a few contracts to set the Bay State back on the economic skids. It also didn't take the media long to investigate the Massachusetts economy west of Boston and find it in anything but miraculous repair.Kerry's campaign rhetoric already indicates that he will not provide W with a pass on the scandals that surround the court-appointed presidency. In fact the "Real Deal" label his campaign has adopted
takes the fraudulence of the current regime to task in just two words. And Jr is going to have a hard time pinning the economic woes of our nation on John Kerry or any Democrat. So please spare us the oppression of the conventional wisdom of Southern Strategies. The South is full of people who'd be happy to vote for a war hero who speaks candidly about George W. Bush's impervious attitudes toward contemporary soldiers and working people.

There is but one other Southern card to play. Senator John Edwards of North Carolina is the sweetest confectionary to arise from Dixie since the moon pie. He is a staunch advocate of good manners and will politely disagree with anyone who feels differently. Edwards has opted against a Senate re-election run, which could cost the Dems a crucial seat in the next Congress. Now there's a Southern Strategy. If a zephyr were to dislodge a cloud of cotton candy from its stick and send it careening into Edwards, you get the feeling he'd wind up with at least a few broken bones. That said, he might be the perfect VP candidate, particularly when contrasted with Fang Cheney.

PS- I have received three notes from subscribers concerning my naivet about John Kerry's membership in Yale's not so secret Skull and Bones Society.
I am not a big conspiracy devotee -- perhaps I have been tormented by one too many Kennedy assassination buffs. I have known John Kerry and many of his people for years and have had many differences with them.


That said, I am relatively certain that they aren't simply pawns of a secret society. Were he to be nominated and then elected president, Kerry would restore White House respect for environmental laws, civil rights and civil liberties. He would appoint judges light years ahead of those named by Bush. Workers would get much more support in their struggles to survive in the modern economy and if we don't end up with some sort of national health care it won't be because it wasn't even a goal. Kerry would not have Dick Cheney and his cronies writing energy policy. He wouldn't create false reasons to go to war. If he did have troops in the field, they wouldn't have to rely on private sources to supply them with Kevlar vests. John Kerry wouldn't hide cutting veteran 's benefits behind a red, white and blue facade because he would work to restore benefits to his fellow vets. If caskets returned home filled with American soldiers under his watch, I am certain that he wouldn't attempt to censor news coverage of their arrival back on US soil.

If you ask me, it's a pretty crappy secret society that would allow one member to take the presidency from another. If it's so damned omnipotent, why would it allow any of its members to suffer the embarrassment of losing?

Does the Skull and Bones represent old school ties and the potential for cronyism in a Kerry Administration. Hell yes. Considering our current circumstances, is that a good enough reason to rule out support for Kerry? Hell no.

Were I voting tomorrow it would be for Dennis Kucinich. And I have sniped at Kerry for years- in Massachusetts - in print -- on stage. But unlike George W. Bush when Kerry runs into someone he knows he is courteous and says hello, rather than snubbing that person over political differences. Had I ever known Bush and then publicly challenged and criticized his positions do you think I could have ever expected any sort of courtesy from the man? Of course not.

To summarize: the implied shorthand of these Skull and Bones insinuations is that both Kerry and Bush serve the same master. Well I think that is rather far-fetched because we would be in discernibly better shape if John Kerry becomes president next January. And I repeat for the ten zillionth time, that I will support any Democrat (noting here that Lieberman's party status is a matter of dispute) this year against Bush.


Good luck to you, your candidates and your Super Bowl teams!

updated: 17 years ago