It's fitting that the last seven days of a presidential campaign fall during Halloween week. Scare tactics are the order for each day. The difference this year is the Republicans only have innuendo, while the Democrats can simply point to facts on the ground.
Bush's recent attack ad tried to cry wolf, but those dogs won't hunt. The real fear factor is Mesopotamia, where M is for Massacre, Mutiny, and Missing Explosives. In Iraq, everyday is the Day of the Dead. The tragedy is that this tragedy was not inevitable.
It is clear the Administration's handling of the occupation of Iraq goes beyond incompetence into the realm of negligence. As the situation went south in the Sunni Triangle, Bush punted, refusing to either increase the number of troops in Iraq or withdraw them. He did neither, preferring to dither on with a failed policy. Bush is not a war president; he's a war criminal president.
The art of political speechmaking is now so lost to the dark machinations of the spin doctors, pollsters and pundits that most Americans have never heard a live campaign speech of any particular consequence. Perhaps that is why the crowd of 80,000 people who rallied for John Kerry on Thursday in Madison, Wisconsin, fell so completely silent a few minutes into what turned out to be the most poignant and powerful election address of 2004.
The speaker was not a candidate. Rather, the words that cut through the rhetorical fog were those of a guitar player from New Jersey.
"As a songwriter, I've written about America for 30 years," explained Bruce Springsteen, after he finished playing the appropriately chosen song, "Promised Land."
Less than twenty-four hours after The Nation disclosed that former Secretary of State James Baker and the Carlyle Group were involved in a secret deal to profit from Iraq's debt to Kuwait,
As the right wing's antifeminist front, the sisters of the Independent Women's Forum have been such a hit in this country that they're now getting taxpayer money to take their act on the road.
If you live in the non-swing state of New York, I urge you to vote for John Kerry on the Working Families Party line (Row E). This is the most powerful way for New Yorkers to cast a progressive vote in this national election.
For those unfamiliar with New York's voting rules, here's a brief reminder: Kerry is on the ballot twice, as the nominee of both the Democratic and Working Families Parties. A vote on the WFP line for Kerry counts just as much as a vote on the Democratic line, but it sends a message about what you believe in. It's a vote for equality and democracy, and for living wage jobs, affordable housing, universal healthcare and an end to preemptive wars.
The Nation was an early supporter of the WFP when it was established in 1998. It's fair to say our early hopes have been redeemed, and we have faith that the WFP can become even more potent and effective (including expanding to some new states) if it continues to prosper. Help it do so by casting your vote for Kerry under the banner of the Working Families Party, Row E. (Click here for more info on the WFP.)
And In Our State, Support Barbaro and Soares on the WFP Line
Frank Barbaro, who's running for Congress from Southern Brooklyn and Staten Island, deserves your support. As I wrote in this space last July, Barbaro is a genuine working class folk hero and a lifelong fighter for social and economic justice.
In normal times, the 13th district is a safe Republican seat but the demographics are shifting and the four-term Republican incumbent Vito Fossella has amassed a shameful record while ignoring his constituents. As a result, even papers like Crain's New York Business report that Fossella is "facing the most serious challenge since he was elected in 1997."
Barbaro has wrapped up endorsements from all the unions (except for the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association), and just the other day Sarah Brady held a press conference on Staten Island to hail Barbaro as a "leader for common sense laws that prevent gun violence and make our communities safer."
Barbaro is running not just on the Democratic ticket but also on the Working Families Party Line, which sees in him an exemplary messenger for its core mission "to inject the concerns of working class, middle class and poor people into the public debate."
As Dan Cantor at WFP explains Barbaro's appeal: "If Paul Wellstone was a 78-year old Italian from Brooklyn, his name would be Frank Barbaro." To win on November 2nd, Barbaro needs support from smart and strategic progressives. Click here for more info on his campaign.
Meanwhile, in Albany, young activist attorney David Soares rocked the county in mid-September with his stunning landslide victory in the Democratic Primary for District Attorney.
A WFP nominee, Soares' race served as a referendum on the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws and his victory was a terrific accomplishment for the urban-suburban, black-white, gay-straight, grassroots community-labor campaign led by the WFP's Albany chair. The defeated Democratic Party incumbent, Paul Clyne, landed a spot on the Independence Party line and since then has been waging an ugly and negative campaign (along with the Republican in the race) to smear Soares for his activist past.
But, so far, not only is Soares leading in a three-way fight (according to the latest figures from an independent Albany Times Union/News Channel 13 poll) but reform of the Rockefeller drug laws--a key campaign issue for Soares--appears to be popular. A whopping sixty-six percent of respondents said Soares' reform stance was a plus. (This crosses party lines, with some 22 percent of Republicans polled saying they will vote for him because of his upport for drug law reform).
In the next few days, here's what you can do to assist Soares and the fight to repeal the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws:
1/ Support Soares by clicking here.
2/ Support the Working Families Party by clicking here.
3/ Vote for Soares if you live in Albany County and/or tell friends who live there to vote for him.