A debate is raging among many people I know about whether John Kerry is the right man to be running against George W. Bush, because he is described as unethical, an elite-in-populist’s clothing, and so forth. I’ve sat on the sideline in this debate about Kerry, because it is not the point.
Having had the country slip so far to the right, toward authoritarianism, any incremental improvement is essential to beginning the process of recovery of a politically tolerant nation. As evidence of how far gone American political sensibility is today, Senator John McCain’s refusal to attack Senator John Kerry is exactly the kind of sensible and tolerant position that we need, yet it is attacked by the right as a form of treason (sound familiar?). We’re dangerously close to the end of America, to an Enabling Act like the one passed by the Reichstag under the guise that it was a short-term emergency response to political and social chaos from the left (though, in fact, the chaos was manufactured by the Nazis), that allowed Hitler to take total control of a country that never voted as a majority in any election for Nazi rule.
The language and tactics of the right (justified here with accusations aimed at the center and left critics of Ann Coulter and dissected accurately here) are aimed at total victory over every sentiment and political advancement—moderate, liberal and progressive—of the 20th century. We must not allow that to happen under any circumstances, and certainly not because Kerry isn’t the best option available.
Arguing about whether we should support Kerry, when we know Kerry is better than Bush in a number of ways, though not all ways, is typical of Democrats and liberals, who love an argument more than anyone, precisely because we enjoy entertaining dissent. If anyone here seriously thinks Kerry would be worse than Bush, that’s a reason to refuse to help beat Bush; but, I don’t believe anyone in their right mind could make that case.