"John Kerry had adopted positions on foreign policy that were
nearly identical to Bush's. What, then, was left to distinguish him from
Losing ground looking for Mr. Bushlite: Why The
DLC's Candidate, John Kerry, Was A Bad Choice For Democrats
Posted December 8, 2004
Evan Augustine Peterson lll, J.D.
One should avoid drawing simplistic
conclusions in the wake of an extraordinarily complex national election with so
many independent variables. Nevertheless, the Democratic Party needs to
recognized that it has been compulsively displaying a pattern of self-defeating
behavior, as in "Oops -- we did it again!"
(1) in 2000, Democrats nominated the Democratic
Leadership Council's ("DLC") favorite plutocrat -- Al Gore -- as our
party's presidential standard-bearer, and we lost; and
(2) in 2004, Democrats nominated the DLC's
favorite plutocrat -- John Kerry -- as our party's presidential
standard-bearer, and we lost.
Even a child could see the
pattern in that behavior; indeed, it's almost a Freudian repetition-compulsion!
If John "The Real Deal" Kerry
was the answer, what was the question?
A month after the US election, Democrats should
be willing to admit that we were largely responsible for having defeated
ourselves. After all, a majority of us voted for the DLC's "Anybody But
Bush" nominee during the Democratic primaries. Those who did so ignored the
fact that John Kerry had adopted positions on foreign policy that were nearly
identical to Bush's. What, then, was left to distinguish him from the incumbent?
We ensured our own defeat by nominating the
"ABB" candidate that nobody really liked. Kerry ratified
"preemptive war" and adopted Bush's Iraq War, which disenfranchised
antiwar Democrats. And Kerry unwisely focused his acceptance speech on his
Vietnam War experience, when everyone knew that he'd also been a prominent
antiwar activist. These unexplained biographical self-contradictions alienated
Independents and disgruntled Republicans, who ultimately concluded that he was a
pale imitation of the "War President." 
The DLC Offers One Losing Strategy: Looking For
Mr. Bushlite, The Artful Dodger Democrats ought to re-think their impulse to
nominate the DLC's preferred presidential candidates. The DLC's Al From and Ed
Kilgore contend that their presidential candidates are more effective because
they're "centrists." However, this is false. Their unprincipled
candidates have an eight-year history of being too pusillanimous to defend
themselves from the Republicans' favorite attack mantra: "You can run from
the 'L' word, but you can't hide from the fact that you're a liberal!"
Since 1996, the DLC's presidential candidates
have tried to run away from the "L" word, but in the end, they always
end up being negatively defined as "liberals." Therefore, why not just
nominate a REAL liberal? Someone who'd be willing to embrace liberalism and
fight courageously for recognizable Democratic principles! Someone who wouldn't
pander to a small percentage of swing-voters by adopting "Bush-Lite"
policies! Someone who could energize non-voters, because 40% of our electorate
didn't bother to vote in 2004!
If the DLC is the answer, the question must be
"Why not convert to Republicanism?"
The DLC contends that it creates successful
candidates by co-opting right-wing issues, which is know as
"triangulation," or "I'm a Republican too!"
However, that's false! In 2000 and
2004, the DLC's candidates LOST their races because their triangulation strategy
failed to persuade enough moderate and independent swing-voters -- especially in
the South, the Midwest, and the Inland West. Meanwhile, the DLC's
rightward-creeping "centrism" has managed to demoralize the Democratic
Party's base voters everywhere.
Why not just acknowledge the glaringly-obvious
truth: the DLC's candidates have been compiling a LOSING record since 1998.
Therefore, they deserve to be re-defined downward as "INEFFECTIVE" and
In short, how many drubbings must the Democrats
endure before the Democratic National Committee ("DNC") finally
realizes that the plutocratic DLC is offering them a LOSING strategy? When will
the leaders of the Democratic Party stop hiring the DLC's habitually-losing
political consultants, stop prostrating themselves before the Golden Calf of
regressive Republicanism, and start selecting progressive candidates who are
capable of playing hardball in defense of our core principles? 
First Conclusion: The Democratic Party must
STOP looking for Mr. Bushlite!
Consider this statistical evidence, which shows
how much ground we've lost between Gore vs. Bush in 2000 and Kerry vs. Bush in
(1) Al Gore won 21 states and the nationwide
popular vote by +500,000, but then lost in the Electoral College because the
US Supreme Court intervened to stop the recount in Florida (otherwise, Gore
would've won 22 states AND the Electoral College);
(2) John Kerry won 19 states, but lost the
nationwide popular vote by -3.5 million, and lost in the Electoral College by
286 to 252;
(3) therefore, Kerry's presidential candidacy
INCURRED A NET LOSS OF TWO STATES AND A WHOPPING 4 MILLION VOTES to the
(4) comparatively speaking, Kerry also LOST
ground among what had been the Democratic Party's most solid voting
demographics -- women, African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and seniors;
(5) from 1968 through 2008, the White House
will have been occupied by a Democratic president for only 12 of those 40
years (i.e., for 3 out of 10 terms); and
(6) in 2004, Democrats lost four seats not only
in the House of Representatives (where the Republican majority is now
228-207) but also in the Senate (where the Republican majority is now
One could go on citing disturbing statistics,
but the aforementioned revelations should suffice to convey two loud-and-clear
The DLC's preferred "centrist" candidate -- John Kerry -- proved to be
a bad choice for Democrats. Consider that Bush was widely viewed as vulnerable
to defeat because he'd compiled a terrible domestic and foreign record;
nevertheless, Kerry's performance against him was CONSIDERABLY WORSE than Al
Gore's!  Second, if the Democratic Party
suppresses grassroots proposals for major reforms and allows this nationwide
decline to continue unabated, it will relegate itself to the dustbin of history,
and the left will be forced to live in a one-party autocracy or to provide a
real alternative -- like Lech Walesa's Solidarity Party in Poland.
Second Conclusion: It's time for
the Democratic Party to reform itself, starting with some addition by
subtraction! Instead of rewarding the DLC's perpetual losers, it's time for the
Democrats to hire better talent. We need to cultivate better candidates who
aren't silver-spoons from the DLC's to-the-manor-born plutocracy. And we need to
recruit better political consultants -- especially for the hotly-contested races
-- well before 2006! 
Consider the track record of Kerry's
now-discredited political consultants:
(1) the DLC's perpetual loser, Bob Shrum;
(2) DLC-affiliated Bill Clinton's "rajin'
Cajun," James Carville; and
(3) Ted Kennedy's Massachusetts specialist,
Mary Beth Cahill.
At every stage of the 2004 campaign, Karl Rove
out-strategized and tactically outmaneuvered this troika. They started out badly
at the Boston Convention, where they grossly overemphasized Kerry's
four-and-one-half months of Vietnam combat experience in a failed attempt to
make him credible as commander-in-chief. They were still trying to find a
coherent theme during the race's final weeks, when they badly overplayed a
purely collateral matter -- the US military's ostensible failure to destroy
explosives at one facility in Iraq.
Perhaps worst of all, Bob Shrum decided to
"take the high road" by muzzling Kerry for approximately five weeks
while the "Swift-Boat Veterans For Truth" were smearing his reputation
with attack-ads. Shrum should have extinguished that fire immediately; instead,
he waited until the state polls showed that the ads were having a devastating
effect. By then, his candidate's feeble media rebuttal was a classic case of
"too little, too late." The questions about Kerry's fitness to be
commander-in-chief had gone unanswered for so long that he ended up being
negatively defined by default. The race shifted irreversibly because people were
mumbling to themselves: "If Kerry can't even defend himself from these
swift-boat guys, how can we possibly believe that he can defend the USA from al-Qaeda?"
By late summer, it was painfully obvious to the
political cognoscenti that Kerry's overpaid DLC consultants were getting their
clocks cleaned strategically and tactically. They were juxtaposing an
overcautious defensive campaign against Karl Rove's bold offensive campaign.
They never formulated a realistic game-plan that actually could be implemented
-- and not merely because they were too out of touch with the electorate. They
simply lacked sufficient talent. Hence, it's safe to conclude that the Kerry
troika was collectively out of its league, and no match for Karl Rove and Karen
The Democratic Party must jettison the DLC and adjust their rightward course
now. If they don't, it's foreseeable that:
(A) the USA's government-corporate-media complex
will continue to brainwash the national electorate into a militaristic mindset
without any formal opposition; and
(B) voters will continue to prefer The War
Party's increasingly-neofascist candidates over the DLC's pale imitations.
Therefore, the Democrats will lose more ground if they stubbornly cling to their
"triangulation" strategy -- especially in their presidential races,
unless another Ross Perot emerges to siphon votes away from the Republican
In politics, the electorate's perception is
reality. Voters will always prefer "the real thing" over "the
pale imitation," and "the devil we know" over "the devil we
don't know." This certainly proved to be true in 2004, when voters were
forced to choose between:
(1) Bush, whom Rove had positively defined as
the folksy straight-talking man of faith in private, who's the
"strong" führer-figure that we "need" in public; and
(2) Kerry, whom Rove had negatively defined as
an unlikeable metrosexual elitist in private, who's the unprincipled
flip-flopping "Bush-Lite" chameleon that we don't need in public.
In 2008, Democrats should fight their repetition-compulsion to nominate yet
another rich DLC-affiliated US Senator. New York's Senator Hillary Clinton could
become an outstanding Senate Minority Leader, but she already has very high
negatives in nationwide polls, so she won't make a very good presidential
candidate in 2008. If Senator Clinton is nominated, the Republicans probably
will counter by nominating either Florida's Jeb Bush or California's Arnold
Schwarzenegger -- if they can pass a constitutional amendment to legitimize
their foreign-born candidate. In either scenario, the predictable outcome would
be a godsend for TV's late-night comedians, but terrifying for everyone else: a
White House that's run by one of two neofascist Reichsführers -- an
utterly-corrupt "Bush III," or a strutting Mussolini doppelgänger
known as "Ahnult The Narcissus Narcosis."
The Bottom Line:
The Democratic Party's reliance on John Kerry to defeat George W. Bush was
roughly comparable to Dorothy's reliance on the Cowardly Lion to defeat the
Wicked Witch in the Land Of Oz. Of course, the fictitious Kansan Dorothy knew
better than to place all of her hopes on a Cowardly Lion, whereas the real-life
urban Democrats seemingly lacked her common sense because they actually chose
the overcautious Kerry. Only "seemingly," because our recent losses
have been orchestrated by the DLC, which was created by plutocratic
collaborators -- covert allies in the Republicans' relentless class warfare to
benefit the upper class at the expense our middle and lower classes -- in order
to infiltrate the Democratic Party, and then to push it ever-further rightward
while intentionally loslng races that look "darned close."
 Naomi Klein's wise 11-26-04
CD/TN essay, "Kerry And The Gift Of Impunity."
Also Tom Hayden's 11-24-04
CD essay, "How To End The Iraq War," for the position that Kerry
should have taken, and that Democrats still ought to take, on the Iraq War:
Arianna Huffington's 11-3-04
AO essay, "Anatomy Of A Crushing Political Defeat."
 Results from the 2004
exit-polls make it clear that Democrats have failed to adequately address the
right's highly-selective culture war over just a few moral values.
A. However, doing God's will is nowhere near
as simple as the religious right's fundamentalistic reading of the Biblical
scriptures would have us believe. For instance: 11-26-04
ICH essay, "President Bush, I Need Some Advice Concerning God's Laws
And How To Follow Them."
B. The right's militaristic-evangelicals have
ignored "super-sessionism," or the fact that some of Jesus
Christ's New Testament teachings were clearly intended to supersede the Old
Testament, as noted in Karen Horst Cobb's 10-25-04
CD essay, "No Longer A Christian (But Still A Disciple)."
 For instance, here's a
post-election issue on which we must urge our Democratic US Senators to stop
playing patty-cake and start playing hardball with the Republicans.
A. UIUC Professor of International Law
Francis A. Boyle's 11-18-04
CP essay, " The Dems Are Caving On Gonzales: War Criminal For Attorney
B. Evan Augustine Peterson III's 11-22-04
NFNZ essay, "Why The USA Must Reject Bush's Evil Nominee For Attorney
General: Alberto R. Gonzales Wrote 'Torture Memo' That Paved The Way For Abu
 Joshua Frank's 11-27-04
CP interview makes it crystal clear that independent presidential candidate
Ralph Nader wasn't a factor in the Democrats' 2004 loss, because Nader
received only 500,000 votes nationwide, whereas Kerry lost by -3.5 milllion
 Joe Trippi's 11-30-04
CD essay, "Only The Grassroots Can Save The Democratic Party."
 Arianna Huffington's 12-01-04
AO essay, "Can The Democrats Make 2006 Their 1994?"
 Even the Republican
paleoconservatives realize that the Bush neocons aren't really conservatives,
but rather are neofascists, as Paul Craig Roberts contends in his 11-26-04
CP essay, "The Era Of End-Timers & Neo-Cons: Whatever Happened to
 Howard Zinn's 12-2-04
CD/TP essay, "Harness That Anger."
Evan Augustine Peterson III, J.D.
American Center for International Law (ACIL)
voter distrust of USA's E-voting panacea
October 8, 2004
Mr. Bush's Foreign Policy Mirror The American Peoples' Soul?
September 28, 2004
The Iraq War Legal, Or Illegal, Under International Law?
September 17, 2004
Arnold's Convention Remarks & Behavior
September 4, 2004
US Election Was Held Today, Who Polls Say Would Win Presidency...
August 29, 2004
Race To Preserve American Democracy
August 19, 2004
US Media Coverage Of Iraqi Women And Torture
August 7, 2004
American Torture Doctors
August 3, 2004
The Cybernetic Trojan Horse:
June 4, 2004
Messrs. Bush & Cheney be Promptly Impeached for their High Crimes
& Misdemeanor Offenses?
April 04, 2004
©2004EAPIII Author: Evan Augustine Peterson III,
J.D., is the Executive Director of the American Center for International Law