Don’t Look To Pogo For An Explanation

There is scarcely an excuse for not knowing the issues of the past election except for John Kerry’s outrageous inability to define them in terms the electorate could understand. Not only understand, but rally ’round.

For that you can blame the electorate in the half-century old words of cartoonist Walt Kelly’s swamp philosopher, Pogo: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Well, perhaps.

Or we can go straight for the throat of Democratic National Committees, Democratic Conventions and Democratic candidates themselves and demand to know why, in those same fifty years since Pogo, they’ve managed to give us only two guys with an evangelist’s fire; John Kennedy and Bill Clinton.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired to death of wine and cheese and mannerly response preaching to the choir and changing no one’s mind. I am sick at heart from sitting back, pounding the table (and typewriter) urging a Eugene McCarthy, Adlai Stevenson, Michael Dukakis, George McGovern, Al Gore or John Kerry to get the marbles out of his mouth, to enunciate a position in terms understandable to our grand American electorate.

And they are grand, don’t you ever doubt it. The fiber of this country hasn’t come apart, it’s been bamboozled.

Never has a president been so vulnerable as this one and never in my voting lifetime of twelve presidential elections has an opponent so thoroughly botched a slam-dunk. Lest this sound like too wide-eyed-Democrat a charge, let me confess the fact that, in eight out of those twelve elections, I voted Republican for president, splitting the remainder of my tickets. But George Bush went back on every single promise he made to the nation prior to his 2000 ‘victory.’ He tore this country into red and blue with a vengeance, lying his way into an unnecessary war, having lost interest and focus on the necessary one, in the meanwhile trashing America’s international reputation and effectively bankrupting our grandchildren.

And John Kerry couldn’t make that case.

Well personally, I’m sick of candidates who can’t make the case and allow themselves to be distracted into ankle-biting issues by their yapping opponents. It’s been said disparagingly of Bush that he was a cheer-leader at Yale. Well, politics loves cheer-leaders—cheer-leading is about chanting the basics, whipping up enthusiasm, playing to the crowd, keeping it simple, doing back-flips in the face of disaster on the playing field.

George Bush just grabbed a national election from his Yale cheer-leading experience.

Four years from now we’ll likely have John McCain as the Republican candidate and he’s a formidable campaigner. The Democrats better find someone other than Hillary or Al Gore—someone who can arouse a crowd like Barack Obama and, win or lose, get a clearly defined message out there.

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