Listen up, John! Before it's too late
John Kerry's campaign is an airplane with no right wing. The fear of terrorists and the anger at our country's being attacked are the forces behind George Bush's reelection.
How is it possible that research shows– despite Bush being firmly in charge for all this time– that another terrorist attack would guarantee a Bush victory? It's the fault of one man. Not Bin Laden, not Carl Rove. John Kerry.
So this is to you John, from me. Every day you need to say, "We will get those terrorists. We will destroy by force of arms those who wish to harm us." Or to paraphrase McCain: "We will vanquish you."
By not wanting to say, mean, and emphasize the words, "We will get our attackers so that this never happens again," you will become another retired Democrat Northern So-So-Liberal grist-for-the-mill, too intellectual for our rough-and-tumble-world ex-candidate.
You fought your good fight 30 years ago, you're loaded with money, a citizen of the world. But this time, you are the metaphorical man in the water, and there is no rescuer other than yourself.
Say this: Ronald Reagan ran from Lebanon in 1983 when 241 of our Marines were savagely slaughtered. We abandoned our dead– and the people of a secular, modern country– to the savagery of the Syrians. It is an unspoken disgrace, and it's time to talk about its repercussions. Reagan and the Republican Cold Warriors also traded arms for hostages, funded Saddam Hussein and the Taliban, and thus just about created Al Qaeda.
Say: I was for our invasion of Iraq because I wanted the Commander in Chief to be able to then turn west into Syria and then to liberate Lebanon. Also, say Richard Clark's name in every speech. Make his resignation and allegations the centerpiece of the counterattack. His story is the story. Is he tragic or an American hero? You were on the Intelligence Committee. If you don't use that, no one is going to believe a word you say. Also, why did you vote against the first Gulf War, in one sentence?
Say: It's time to discuss a formal treaty with Israel regarding our mutual security. Perhaps even NATO membership. That would shake some trees and give people a sense of progress and confidence that you're not a moral relativist and that you are serious about stopping our wartime enemies.
On the Attack
Then hold your base and guard your back.
Say: The Federal Reserve is an antidemocratic institution, and it's time to have a dialogue.
Say: Social Security taxes are regressive because of the cap on income, and if we're funding our system through those taxes and deficits, then let upper income people pay more, not less, Social Security tax.
Say: We are spending $200 billion on Iraq, how about slave reparations here at home for descendants of slaves? Maybe Haliburton can kick in some?
Say: If we're going to talk about changing our Constitution, how about amending the Senate, which has no place in democracy? Each state gets two representatives regardless of population. Are states more important than citizens?
I Tried To Tell You
In late May, 2004– well before the release of the Michael Moore movie– I sent the following series of advisory emails to your campaign which are posted at the John Kerry Internet Town Meeting site:
"Bush launched that stupid missile to try to kill Saddam to start the war. Put our operatives in danger.
He didn't get his ass back to the White House on 9/11.
He didn't get Bin Laden.
He's in bed with the Saudis.
He didn't go to the 9/11 commission on his own."
Forget the intellectual stuff. Pound Bush. Like the General says in the movie Mars Attacks, when the earth is surrounded, and everyone's worried about their image: "Kill, kill, kill!"
Why are you getting tagged as wishy-washy while Bush keeps his hands low and is considered resolute? Cause you're letting him. Pound him. Now! These guys are soft– Cheney, Rove, Bush. Hit them.
We had the terrorists in Afghanistan, but instead of getting them, we let them escape and scramble and regroup. That should be part of your daily message. Not that Bush is too gung-ho, but that he didn't get the job done. He didn't focus on the task. John, you must get the ones who struck us, and will strike us. You must be the antiterrorism president.
The terrorists think they are winning in the long term. How many times have they struck to gauge our response? How does the public focus in our country embolden them?
How did Bush's responses, from the first moment, give these terrorist interests the same room we always gave them? These killers are the progeny of Nazism, forget their religion. They seek suicide as do all super-macho haters, but they scapegoat, as do all such sick souls. We do not need help and advice from Pakistan or from Saudi Arabia where the sickness lives through fear. Bush is afraid. That's clear; he is who he is, there's a clear line to his life.
You know, John, you would get the antiwar radicals, the pragmatic middle, the doubtful Repubs, if you started talking about getting the bastards who knifed stewardesses, blew up our military headquarters, and blew up the Towers.
Yes, even the antiwar surrenderists will vote for you, and not for Ralph Nader, if you are resolute about getting our attackers. We need a Churchill– and that means someone to fight without wavering. Do you have the stomach for it? That is the issue that Rove is hitting. Do you have the guts? Hit back now, John. What are you waiting for?
I had no idea of the content of Michael Moore's movie when I sent you that advice, but you should have known. You needed to get out in front of it to benefit from it. Now you're going to lose. So what? You'll pay less taxes that way, right?
Charlottesvillian Mark Gruber, a graduate of Cornell Law School, served as assistant attorney general for the state of New York. The stay-at-home dad plays in the band Snakebite Kit.