Saturday, January 08, 2005

Kerry Was Right To Stay Away

Kerry is taking a lot of heat in the blogosphere for not being in Washington during the challenge of the 2004 election. His absence not the way to judge Kerry's actions on election reform. He has already had a team of lawyers in to investigate, and we will hear more from him in the future. There simply was not enough evidence to prove election fraud sufficient to overturn the election results.

There are many issues to be pursued. Strategically this is best done as something totally separate from the type of challenge conducted in Congress.

Election reform must be pushed as an issue which Democrats, independents, and fair minded Republican can all support, without remaining a Kerry vs. Bush issue. The more election reform can be viewed as a question of who won the 2004 election, the more likely the media can portray it as a Quixotic attempt to overturn the election, and ignore the real issues. Those who voted for Bush are much more likely to support election reform if they do not see this as a Kerry vs. Bush issue.

With the 2004 election behind us, Kerry can return in the future and argue for issues such as reasonable waiting time, maintaining a paper trail, and prohibiting election officials from being actively involved in working for one candidate. For now, I'm happy to see him in Iraq, hoping he can return to take on Bush on Iraq as he took on Nixon over Vietnam and Reagan over the Iran Contra scandal.

While I sympathized with those who protested the election and wished them well, this was a side show which may have done more harm than good, and Kerry was very wise to stay away. For example, from Friday's First Read:

Only time and polling will tell, but we wonder if something happened yesterday beyond Democrats' clear discomfort with the dispute of the results, and with the GOP's arguable overzealousness in rejecting the claims -- that electoral reform moved a notch away from being an issue of concern to the general public, and one step closer to becoming viewed as a partisan Democrat issue touted by liberals and minorities.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a Democrat. I live in Texas. The majority of the people I know and have grown up with are extremely conservative Republicans; many of them worship Bush. I know how they think, how they rationalize, and how they attack and argue.

For this reason, I am very glad that John Kerry did not stand in protest of the Ohio vote. While I understand that it is important that we get as many strong voices in congress as possible to stand up for fair elections, it is even more important that we actually achieve election reform. This will only happen with support from Republicans as well as Democrats. If Kerry were to play a prominent role in seeking election reform right now, Republicans would claim that he- and the entire party- was “whining” or being a “sore loser.” Then the issue would turn into a Bush vs. Kerry debate in congress and the whole effort would fall apart. (Sadly, some Republicans are already trying to frame our efforts as whining over the outcome of the election.) With the election not so far behind us, and Ohio being the state the determined it all, Republicans would close their minds to election reform if they saw John Kerry at the forefront of the effort. They would even spin the issue and use it to further their assertion that Democrats are simply “obstructionists.” Not only would this destroy any hope of achieving election reform, but it would worsen the image of the Democratic party.

I know that by caring about counting every vote, but not publicly rasing his voice in protest, Kerry may appear hypocritical and cowardly. This is not the case. Kerry is a fighter. But he is wisely stepping aside right now so as not to prevent congress from making progress on this important issue.

It is vital to our democracy that we have fair elections. This is not a partisan issue; it is an American issue. Since the 15th amendment gave them the right to vote, many African Americans have been killed for that right. American soldiers are dying in Iraq so that Iraqis can have fair elections. We cannot afford to squander our chance at election reform just because we want Kerry to join the struggle.

John Kerry is not thinking of what is best for him, but of what is best for his country and his party. I still have faith in him and I look forward to supporting him as he fights for other issues in the senate.

3:59 PM  
Blogger IFK Editor said...

Thank you whoever posted that thoughtful well reasoned comment.

I would also add to those who question Kerry's commitment to voter reform.

1) the media barely noticed the "protest". It was psychological warfare at best to cheer up the left. If Kerry had been there what little coverage there was would have been about him and not electoral reform, which is supposedly what everyone cares about.

2) Kerry will take action on this issue. How about giving him the benefit of the doubt and directing your nasty temper tantrums at Bush. Last I checked he was the one ruining our country, not Kerry.

10:00 PM  

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