Normally I wouldn't joke about another man's testicles, but Kerry seems determined to prove how manly he can be as an integral part of his campaign. Liberals have allowed themselves to be emasculated by the right-wing and are anxious to prove that they can be tough guys too. This is evidenced by Kerry prefacing the answer to every question he gets with the words, "I look forward to that fight." In his stump speech, Kerry often tells Bush to "bring it on" while his unfortunate crowd of supporters tries in vain to get excited. While I'm all in favor of liberals challenging the notion that they are wimps, those challenges ought to be accompanied by bold action on substantive issues. When it comes to the latter, Kerry fails miserably. His attempts to appear "tough" are merely hollow political posturing.
Kerry's lack of testicular fortitude was evident in a statement he recently released in which he endorsed the referendum against Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez despite massive irregularities in the petitions and how they were gathered. In typical right-wing form, he also endorsed some of the common lies about Chavez, saying he is guilty of "politically motivated incarcerations" and undermining democratic institutions using "extra-legal means," neither of which are true. The statement doesn't condemn the "extra-legal" means of the opposition, which is the same opposition that led a coup against Chavez in 2002 and proceeded to dismantle every aspect of Venezuelan democracy. Kerry's endorsement of their current efforts to take down the wildly popular Chavez is simply a cowardly capitulation to the right-wing.
Venezuela isn't the only issue Kerry has caved in on. In fact, sometimes it isn't clear if John Kerry wants to take the job of George W. Bush or if he wants the job of Scott McClellan, the current Whitehouse spokesman. He condemned the Spanish for getting rid of their lying, warmongering president. He has urged Spain's new leader to maintain the presence of Spanish troops in Iraq. In fact, he has called for putting more American troops in Iraq. He is even calling for more corporate tax cuts! Whose side is this guy on? Kerry's strongest criticism of Bush's foreign policy is that Bush alienated the French. That's it. I'm sorry to say it, but if this is the kind of "fight" Kerry is going to wage against George W. Bush then he is well on his way to getting his delicate, patrician ass kicked.
And please spare me the stories about John Kerry's wartime "heroics." Getting a Silver Star for shooting a frightened teenager isn't heroism. It's disturbing. I'm also not impressed by the cuts and bruises that Kerry endured to win his three Purple Hearts. If Kerry really wanted to be heroic, he should have acted upon his moral convictions. As author and Vietnam veteran Tim O'Brien said a while back, "Given that I was opposed to the war, the bravest thing to do was to go to jail or go to Canada. Just say no." Kerry couldn't have done the brave thing because it would have crushed his political ambitions. Despite his brief stint as an antiwar activist during the Vietnam era, he has distanced himself from the peace movement in this country, fearing that association with us would make him look soft.
What really makes Kerry soft is his utter lack of principles. He goes in whatever direction the political wind blows him. As a result, virtually nobody is excited about his candidacy. I asked a friend of mine who is a longtime supporter of the Democratic Party what he thought of Kerry winning the nomination and he said, "Well, looks like it's time to start polishing the turd." In other words, time to start playing up Kerry's alleged "strengths" in an attempt to make him look better to the American public than he actually is. You know you're in trouble when your own supporters are nonchalantly referring to you as a "turd." Kerry only won the nomination because liberals thought (for whatever odd reason) that his experiences as a soldier in the Vietnam War would make him immune to charges that he is "weak on defense." Obviously, that didn't work.
Personally, I don't see Kerry ever gaining enough momentum to win. If he wins it will be because Bush lost it for himself, not because voters found him to be an attractive alternative. Aside from being weak on the issues, Kerry is just a really boring and uninspiring person. Given how much attention the media gives to personality, Kerry better find one soon if he expects to win. Al Gore's monotony may have cost the Democrats the election in 2000, so what do they do? They nominate the one guy in the country who has even less charisma than Al Gore. Despite the botox injections, Kerry is still very wooden. As Gore Vidal memorably put it, Kerry looks "a lot like Lincoln, after the assassination." I've heard several comedians compare Kerry to a zombie, a mortician, and the grim reaper. Somehow I doubt people are going to vote for someone who reminds them of death.
Justin Felux is a writer and activist based in San Antonio, Texas. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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