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May 24, 2004
Bostonians Not Pleased With The Empty-Convention Tactic

John Kerry may be on the road today for his presidential campaign, and as far as some Bostonians are concerned, he should stay there. Beantowners aren't pleased at all to have spent a fortune on a nominating convention that won't nominate anyone, and both Boston dailies blast Kerry this morning. First, we have Adrian Walker in the Globe offering to write Kerry's non-speech for his non-nomination:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, delegates. Thank you, you suckers from ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and FOX, for attending our nominating -- pardon me, our four-day "unity conference." ... I'd like to say a few words about my good friend Tom Menino, the mayor of this great city. Mayor, all Democrats owe you a debt of gratitude for your tireless efforts in shaking down everyone in town to raise money for this fabulous shindig. People will say it was all for nothing, that nothing is really taking place here, and frankly, they're right.

Walker doesn't mince too many words in this column, and its only major failing may be that it sounds a little too much like something Kerry would actually say. Read the parts about "unity" and "taking a major step" and tell me that doesn't sound as vague as "involving the UN" and "we'll pay for health care through growth". Walker injects snide humor at Ted Kennedy's expense as well, predicting that the more conservative Massachussetts Senator will enjoy the pep rally from his Hyannis manor -- a piece of advice Democrats would do well to heed.

At the Herald, however, they take the more direct approach. In a staff editorial, the Herald yesterday blistered Kerry for suggesting that he won't accept a nomination at the convention, in language that makes clear the Herald's disgust:

This is beyond tacky, beyond crass and ultimately beyond pointless. That Sen. John Kerry and his advisers would even think about tinkering with the nomination process that the Democratic National Convention was designed to be - all in the name of the Almighty Campaign Buck - is so hideously cynical we can't imagine what they are thinking. ... hundreds of thousands of area commuters are already major-league grumpy about being asked to put their lives and their jobs on hold for a week so this Kerry nomination hoe-down can occupy the city of Boston, and you have a real fine start to the general election season.

Although the Herald doesn't mention it, Kerry's earlier assertion that he would not allow his presidency to become beholden to lobbyists certainly looks off-key while he figures out any loophole possible for chasing that Almighty Campaign Buck, too. The Herald mentions that the Federal Election Commission already questions the legality of a nominating convention without a nomination, especially in light of the $15 million in federal funding that the Democrats received to stage the four day pep rally. They advise Kerry to "pop this trial balloon," but the wonder is that after several days of this bad publicity in his own hometown and the center of his political support, the campaign still insists that the option remains on the table. Talk about tone-deaf!

Republicans, as the Herald also reports, threaten a different response. Normally each party refrains from serious campaign events during the other's nominating conventions, both out of respect for the process and as a reciprocal courtesy. On the other hand, if the Democrats insist on playing games with their convention, the Republicans plan on reacting to their disrespect for the process with some of their own:

President Bush's campaign yesterday threatened to hold four days of campaign rallies to yank the media spotlight from Boston's Democratic National Convention if Sen. John F. Kerry delays accepting his party's nomination. ... If Kerry opts for delay, the Bush campaign would seek to blunt media coverage of the July 26-29 Boston convention by demanding TV networks abide by federal laws requiring equal time for both parties, a Republican source said.

"It would be our expectation that our rallies receive the same coverage as the Democratic convention,'' a GOP official said. ``What happens if Kerry has 15,000 people in Boston for a speech and we have a Bush rally in Minnesota with 25,000 people?''

The Herald piece notes the support for Kerry's Machiavellian twist to the nomination process has within the Democratic Party, and how their leaders have adopted an ends-justifying-the-means approach:

"It's a brilliant strategy,'' said U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano (D- Somerville). "There's only one goal now: Beat George Bush, whatever it takes. ... Politics is a bloodless battle, it is not a genteel sport,'' Capuano said. "Those who play by genteel rules, generally don't win. The average guy in the street could not care less what Kerry is doing . . . it will be a coronation without the crown going on his head.''

How about it, Average Guy In The Street? Do you feel like voting for a candidate who routinely breaks rules whenever it suits him? Bear in mind that the Democrats deliberately chose an early date for their convention because they feared running out of money by the time the summer rolled around. Now, the party of campaign-finance reform demonstrates yet again that they write rules specifically for them to break. points this out in a staff editorial titled "Potemkin Convention" today:

This Kerry trial balloon exposes campaign-finance limits as a monumental farce. The Kerry camp is considering this maneuver so it can keep raising and spending money as long as possible without having to abide by spending limits that kick in once a party formally nominates its candidate.

Of course, the late July date was the Democratic Party's own choice--and it was selected precisely so it would let the nominee accept matching federal campaign funds a month earlier than President Bush, who will be nominated in late August. The assumption had been that the Democratic candidate would have run out of cash by this summer, but Mr. Kerry has been raising more money than he expected. In other words, Mr. Kerry embraced the rules when they helped him but now wants to ignore them when they don't.

When does the electorate finally realize that John Kerry is all hat and no cattle when it comes to his supposed integrity? Do we really want a rehash of all the worst aspects of the Clinton Presidency -- the parsing of words to rationalize behavior, the twisting of regulations and laws to justify unethical practices, and the lip-service treatment for all sides of a debate just to get elected? John Kerry stands for nothing except John Kerry, a character flaw well documented throughout 33 years of politics. The only people who support a man who stands for nothing are those that fall for anything.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 24, 2004 12:58 PM

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