John Kerry is a dead man. Not inviting Hillary Clinton to speak, and then flip-flopping to have her introduce William Jefferson was a faux pas of Marie Antoinette proportions. Hell hath no fury like a pant-suited former first lady relegated to introducing her eight-timing (Pacific Time) husband. John Edwards, Kerry's new gravitas running mate, and former Partridge Family member, must have had his trial-lawyer-punitive-punishment-feelers on hiatus.
Where was Kerry's mind and what was he thinking? Perhaps Mr. Kerry wanted to distance himself from the Clintons. Perhaps he feared Sen. Clinton would steal his spotlight. Perhaps Mr. Kerry lacks good judgment. That deficit is genetic in liberals and Dems. Indeed, Mr. Kerry slighted more than Mrs. Clinton. He overlooked some of the Dems' brightest stars:
Michael Newdow. Dr. Newdow should be first up at the convention to lead the gang in the Pledge, sans "under G-d." This atheist attorney/physician, who hauled his young daughter's privacy into court to challenge that pledge, is smarting from his U.S. Supreme Court loss. The justices sent him packing when they realized he didn't even have custody of his daughter.
Ellen Johnson. Executive director of one of Newdow's favorite groups: the Godless Americans Political Action Committee (GAMPAC), a group that endorsed Kerry and Edwards last week. Visit them at www.godlessamericans.org . Johnson could deliver a barn burner with statements such as the Kerry-Edwards slate being "the best alternative to four more years of George Bush and Pat Robertson running the country." GAMPAC's website features this report from USA Today, "Voters who say they go to church every week usually vote for Republicans. Those who go to church less often or not at all tend to vote Democratic." Damn those churches!
Martha Stewart. Frequent White House guest during the Clinton years. Contributor of $100,000 of soft money to the Democrats in 2002 alone. Convicted felon who could repeat the amazing oration she offered on the court house steps following her sentencing, a diatribe the New York Times did not publish, "Perhaps all of you out there can continue to show your support by subscribing to our magazine, by buying our products, by encouraging our advertisers to come back in full-force." Or, her plea to the judge, "What was a small personal matter . . . became an almost fatal circus . . . of unprecedented proportions . . " Note to Kerry: Put Martha on a different night from Mr. Clinton repetitious!
Jack Grubman. The weasel financial analyst, who touted WorldCom even as it was restating its books, $9 billion downward, gave Democrats $125,000 in soft money in 2000 and 2002.
Haim Saban: The country's largest contributor to any party or candidate, including $3,000,000 to the DNC and $7,000,000 for its building fund. Mr. Saban, founder of the Power Rangers, supported Kerry during his Senate campaigns. He and other Sabans with the same address gave to both Clintons, Gore, Kennedy, Daschle, Dancer, Prancer and every other clown in the Senate. He could give some background on his Saban Center for Middle East Policy of the Brookings Institution. Why so many Center speakers from and events on Palestine? Why the "Iraq is going poorly" view of his Center? And how come Saban scholars are publishing in Salon.com?
Mr. Kerry's snub and then reinstatement of Sen. Clinton is more than his usual flip-flopping. Mr. Kerry is cursed with the judgment, maturity, and decorum of the Dems. The scenario played out as if Johnny passed Hillary a note SWAK during study hall. We look at their decisions, raucous events, those who align themselves with the Democrats, including Ms. Whoopi Goldberg and her foul mouth, and think to ourselves, for the media will not have it any other way, "There's just better judgment among Republicans."
Despite negative Bush and Cheney stories at a rate double the favorable Kerry coverage and the Iraqi monkey and Michael Moore gorilla on his back, Mr. Bush holds steady in the polls. Mr. Kerry has hardly made a dent because this election is not about the war, the economy, abortion, or the pledge. The election is about which team can best handle a crisis, something that most Americans believe is inevitable given the Gordian knot into which political correctness and no profiling have tied us when it comes to screening terrorists and preventing future attacks.
We pray that Sandy Berger, former Clinton, and now Kerry, national security advisor, is found blameless in the investigation of him for taking National Archives documents. If he is not, we realize our safety in the hands of Democrats means we are less important than their power retention and that quest reduces them to the shenanigans of swiping government documents. This election is about judgment, decisive action, and leadership despite whiney resistance. Our guts tell us we cannot back off in Iraq, and that terrorism is not contained enough to turn it over to the Dems' tomfoolery.
Judgment is as judgment does. The choosing, the choices, and the pool of speakers for the Dems do not bode well for those essential qualities of judgment, decorum, and maturity. Survival instincts take us to decisive leaders who do not backpedal when hot air threats abound.
Where was Kerry's mind and what was he thinking? He was thinking as all good Democrats do: with an eye to the poll-driven winds. The addicts of adulation shift and molt before our eyes. In an unsteady world, we prefer more steady-as-she-goes. The only deficit we're worried about is the judgment deficit and it will take decades for the Democrats to work their way up to a zero balance.
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JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State
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