Roman Around

combating liberalism and other childish notions

Archive for August, 2004

THE SHIFT

Posted by Andrew Roman on August 31, 2004

our next president

four more years

I was on the Circle Line boat to Ellis Island from Brooklyn’s Army terminal when I was overcome with a strange sense of hopefulness and optimism; unlike any I had felt throughout this entire campaign season up to that point.

En route to the short ceremony welcoming Vice President Dick Cheney to New York City on the Sunday before the start of the Republican National Convention, amongst all the spirited election year banter being tossed about by the nearly two hundred George Bush supporters on board, I was struck by how little I actually heard the name of John Kerry mentioned. In fact, when his name did come up, it was merely in passing or as an aside.

These people, braving near-90 degree temperatures and stifling humidity to hear Vice President Cheney speak along with Governor George Pataki and former mayor-Rudy Giuliani, didn’t much care what was happening with the Democratic nominee.

Not anymore.

Rather, they wanted to focus on President George W. Bush and his re-election bid. They wanted to discuss (and reinforce), with like-minded people, why they felt it was necessary to give the President four more years in office. Not once did I hear the words “flip-flop,” “swift boat” or “Viet Nam” spoken. Never did the terms “botox,” “atrocities” or “Lurch” come into play. Instead, the folks I encountered talked up the President’s record during his first term in office, citing everything from tax cuts to his handling of the war on terror.

Circling toward Ellis Island, with the majesty of New York harbor all around us, it was an incredibly buoyant and uplifting experience – both figuratively and literally. There wasn’t an inkling of anything anti-Kerry anywhere to be found. Instead, it was all about George W. Bush. It was incredibly positive. One gentleman from Staten Island I spoke with said, “I’m voting for Bush because I believe he’s the right man for the job. Plain and simple. It doesn’t matter who he’s running against.” Another said, “This is about voting for someone. Not against someone. I’m voting Bush, and that’s that.” There were American flags everywhere, pro-Bush buttons, chants of “four more years” and not a word spoken about the other guy, because it didn’t matter who that other guy was.

The Bush campaign may be hitting a decidedly positive turn that could carry them onward to a return venue at the White House. Recent polls are showing that Bush’s numbers are not only getting better, but that he has actually taken the lead in some key battleground states that were quite recently in the “toss up” column. While that is certainly welcome news to the Bush camp, perhaps more relevant is what’s happening at the grassroots level. Indeed, it is always a tremendously positive sign when the base supporters no longer focus on why NOT to go for the other guy, but start pushing the positives of their own.

The boat trip to Ellis Island was a perfect paradigm of this.

When the core is finally singing a candidate’s praises and pushing forth his strengths as the primary reason to vote for him, it is only then that those on the fence who have yet to make up their minds can come over. Kerry’s camp is nowhere near that point yet, and it may be getting too late.

Obviously, it’s natural to contrast and compare candidates, weighing the positives and negatives of each. But there comes a point where the finger pointing and mud slinging give way to an appreciation of the facts, whatever they may be. Whereas a couple of weeks ago, Bush supporters I spoke with often touched upon the shortcomings of John Kerry as part of the discussion as to why President Bush should be re-elected, the Ellis Island jaunt painted a different picture. At least in New York, the shift seems to be underway.

bushcheneywallpaper500Meanwhile, in Democrat land, it is abundantly clear to me that an overwhelmingly large percentage of John Kerry’s “supporters” couldn’t give two coconuts what Mr. Kerry stands for, what he is promising or even what he is saying. (Granted, all three have yet to be defined). Indeed, these people are not voting for John F. Kerry but against George W. Bush.

In July, an attempt was made by the Kerry camp to trigger that shift by focusing on Kerry’s military service in Vietnam at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. Not only was the attempt woefully unsuccessful, both Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards, realizing that their plan of action had backfired, resorted to attacking the President personally on everything from the so-called “seven minutes” of inactivity after the attacks on the World Trade Center to not denouncing the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth advertisements enough.

How do you expect an electorate to refrain from silly personal attacks when the candidate themselves cannot?

John Kerry, by not giving his core supporters anything else besides four months in Vietnam to use to qualify his candidacy for President, left them dangling in the political wind with nothing else but well-worn anti-Bush rhetoric. Attacks can only get you so far. The Kerry campaign now seems to be in a slight state of confusion. They cannot point to the accomplishments of their own candidate, so they look to the other side for things to say. Albeit negative, the dull hum of the Democratic mantra is: Bush, Bush, Bush.

If the Republicans aren’t talking about Kerry and the Democrats aren’t talking about Kerry, what does that tell you?

Not even a week ago, one young gal approached me on Broadway between 79th and 80th Street in Manhattan with the line, “Do you want to register to vote to help get rid of the President?” I stopped, turned to her very nicely, and asked her directly, “Why should I vote for John Kerry?” Her reply: “We’ve got to get rid of Bush.”

Oh, well why didn’t you say so? Slam dunk. Well thought out. No wonder you hate him so.

There is obviously some time to go between now and the November election. So much can happen during that window. However, in my every day travels in and around the city of New York, I have a feeling that I may continue to see more of this shift among Bush supporters. Meanwhile, the Kerry people, the pundits and the protestors are still modeling their anti-Bush summer wardrobe. Increasingly, as fall approaches, those who are supporting the President will find that they don’t need to push Kerry’s negatives anymore. They only need to look at the President’s record. Unfortunately the Kerry people are doing the same thing.

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MR. KERRY AND VIETNAM

Posted by Andrew Roman on August 25, 2004

he was in vietnam, you know

he was in vietnam, you know

Let’s approach this as a black and white issue. Mr. Kerry admitted that he had participated in atrocities – war crimes – during his tenure in Vietnam. Said Kerry: “There are all kinds of atrocities and I would have to say that, yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed … ” Yet, curiously, Mr. Kerry has never been brought up on charges for these atrocities. It seems to me that the Uniform Code of Military Justice is pretty clear about those in uniform who commit war crimes.

In addition to admitting participation in these acts, Kerry claims to have heard countless accounts from other veterans who themselves committed or witnessed atrocities, and that these events occurred “regularly.” That’s quite an accusation to be sure. It would, at the very least, seem to be something that an impartial, objective media might find worth exploring, particularly in light of the fact that Mr. Kerry wishes to be Commander-In-Chief of the United States Armed Forces – the very forces he slandered and accused of committing these atrocities. Sounds like a good story.

You can be sure that if George W. Bush had made the same claims in front of the Senate thirty-three years ago, every known news agency in the world would have their most slippery super-sleuths out and about trying to dig up something – anything – to support the accusations. Would the media have been more interested in investigating these claims of Kerry’s had he, say, admitted to embarrassing the VC by putting underwear on their heads?

On the other hand, maybe these claims of Kerry’s depicting war crimes committed by American soldiers and himself in Vietnam are exaggerated. Maybe Senator Kerry misspoke all those years ago. Perhaps these things never really happened quite the way Kerry said they did. Maybe he bad-mouthed his country and brethren-in-arms, under oath, for reasons far more selfish and calculating. Maybe he was just a product of his times – the protest culture, the anti-war spit-on-the-baby-killers crowd. Maybe it can all be placed in proper context by recognizing that his disenchantment and bitterness was fuelled (and seared in him) by the pivotal event of his young life – that is, hearing President Richard Nixon lie about the United States not being in Cambodia during Christmas, 1968, although Kerry knew better. (I’ll let that one go).

The fact is that no one denies that atrocities do occur during war. However, this isn’t about war atrocities in and of themselves.

The purpose here is not to attack Senator Kerry personally. He is, after all, a decorated combat veteran and I have never been anywhere near combat. I’m simply trying to illustrate a point here. These questions regarding Kerry’s service are being raised, not by right-leaning pundits and ideological magazine editors, but by decorated war veterans who, more than anyone else, can speak to these matters with the greatest credibility and authority.

you rang?

you rang?

This is really all about the integrity and character of the Democratic Party candidate for President of the United States who chose to make a four-month window of his life 35 years ago the focal point of his bid for the White House. For Kerry, his time in Vietnam is the great qualifier to lead the United States during this time of war.

As much as I’m loathe to criticize anyone’s military record – particularly those who bravely volunteered for combat – an uneasy truth is emerging that many, including Kerry, now wish we didn’t have to visit. For myself, and many others I’ve spoken with since this Swift-Boat controversy has exploded, the bottom line, brought on by Mr. Kerry himself and based on his own words, seems to be this: Either Mr. Kerry is a war criminal, subject to investigation … or he is a liar. Thanks to the way he and his people have decided to approach his campaign, there is no third option.

Either way, neither choice seems to fare well on a resume for Commander-In-Chief.

From Mr. Kerry’s perspective, some worms are best left in their cans.

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