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Posted: 9/16/2004 3:43:45 PM EST

Kerry's left turn scares Democrats

September 16, 2004

BY ROBERT NOVAK SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST

www.suntimes.com/output/novak/cst-edt-novak16.html



To the astonishment and dismay of Democratic politicians, John Kerry over the last weekend appeared to have forgotten his opponent for president. He did not seem to realize that he was running against George W. Bush, not Howard Dean. That was an understandable conclusion to be drawn from the Democratic nominee's course over four days.



Last Friday, Sen. Kerry abruptly returned to the safely buried gun control issue by decrying President Bush for permitting the assault weapons ban to end. On Saturday, he addressed the Congressional Black Caucus with a liberal harangue. On Sunday, Kerry rested. On Monday, Kerry was back boosting gun control, scolding Bush for letting the assault weapons ban expire at midnight.

Only two explanations are possible, and neither is reassuring to worried Democrats. Kerry could be making a conscious, though counterproductive, decision to reassure his liberal base. Or, he could be trapped by the calendar of events -- talking gun control because a deadline had been reached and talking civil rights because the Black Caucus invited him. Democratic strategists are particularly concerned by the latter explanation, suggesting a mindless campaign.

The anxiety created by Kerry's return to gun control is concealed by the facade of serenity among Democrats. Their actual concern was exposed by Democratic activist Paul Begala, who has been assailed for advising the Kerry campaign while appearing as my co-host on CNN's ''Crossfire.'' He said on Monday's program: ''Anyone who's worried that I'm secretly running the Kerry campaign can rest easy. ... As an avid hunter and gun owner myself, I think Kerry's move is a political mistake, because Republicans are now going to try to scare hunters.''

Kerry's emphasis on gun control contradicted not only Begala but also Begala's former boss, Bill Clinton. In his memoir, President Clinton names gun control as a principal cause of the 1994 Democratic election debacle. He asserts that ''the Brady Bill [for screening of gun purchasers] and the assault weapons ban inflamed the Republican base voters and increased their turnout.''

A consensus of Democratic leaders believes that in 2000, gun control delivered West Virginia -- and with it, the presidency -- to George W. Bush. That view is not limited to Clintonite self-styled centrists but extends to champions of the Democratic left. Last December, when former Vermont Gov. Dean was riding high for the presidential nomination, he declared: ''I am tired of coming to the South and fighting elections on guns, God and gays.''

Kerry advisers have recognized what Clinton and Dean were saying. That's why the aloof New England aristocrat emerged this year as a gun-toting outdoorsman. Anybody dedicated to keeping guns from their fellow Americans is not going to vote for Bush. Some officials of the National Rifle Association have told me that their membership is not entirely happy with the Bush administration, raising the prospect of defections to Kerry.

Beyond the gun issue, nobody thinks Kerry's problem is lack of support from the left. Yet, his Black Caucus speech touched all the liberal bases and then played the race card. He quoted W.E.B. DuBois, the black leader who ended his career by joining the Communist Party and going into exile, calling African Americans ''a nation within a nation.'' Reinforcing DuBois, Kerry pledged ''to end the division between the fortunate America and the forgotten America.''

One well-placed Democratic partisan telephoned Kerry campaign headquarters to ask why in the world the campaign was moving left at this critical point. He was told that they were not taking such an illogical step and that he should wait and see as the campaign unfolds.

That appraisal seems honest, but it is not reassuring to sophisticated Democrats. If John Kerry's course last weekend was determined by events that happened to be on the calendar, he has no victory plan. George W. Bush's potential weakness seems to be starting a conflict in Iraq that has cost the lives of over 1,000 U.S. troops and shows no sign of abating. It is not easy for a Democrat to exploit that issue, but raising the peril of terrorists buying assault weapons at gun shows in rural America is not a good start.

Copyright © The Sun-Times Company
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Link Posted: 9/16/2004 3:48:46 PM EST
the way the democrats have been running their campaigns lately, we may never see a demo in the white house ever again. lol, democrats, how outdated.
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 3:49:54 PM EST
This should be scary for Kerry, the parties and candidates tend to go toward the center as November approaches. The fact that he is going left will push those in the middle toward the right. Not a smart move. GWB just has to keep his nose clean and he will win. But desperate men will try desperate measures. I guess he is throwning his hail mary early.
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 3:53:44 PM EST
One word: Meltdown

The dems would have had a chance with someone like McCain or even Hitlery if they could keep their heads on straight, but I've heard hardcore Dems even state their disgust with Kerry.
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 3:56:41 PM EST
My only worry at this point is Iraq. If Iraq really goes to hell between now and November, that's the one thing that can hurt Bush. And the way the media is playing on this isn't encouraging. I am hoping Iraq gets back to the way it was in August...relatively quiet with few US troops killed and more scumbags taken out (like the Al-Sadr situation in Najaf).

The less violent Iraq is, the better for Bush. The more trouble in Iraq, the more problems for Bush. And you can bet those assholes over there know that too. They'll do everything they can to get Bush beat because they know, like we do, that if comrade Kerry gets elected, he'll pull out US troops when he takes office.
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 3:59:00 PM EST

I think Kerry's move is a political mistake, because Republicans are now going to try to scare hunters.


GOOD!!

Gun control isn't about guns, it's about CONTROL and the Second Ammendment isn't about hunting fucking ducks and deer. The ONLY way that we are going to get some real "grass-roots" support is for Jimbob and Cletus to get their heads removed from their asses and GET SCARED.

To FINALLY realize that the socialists want ALL THE GUNS, PERIOD.

Keep on playing it up John. Keep on making more lunatic bullshit statements, keep making the Joe-Sixpack deer hunters THINK about what you're saying and maybe, just MAYBE a couple of neurons will fire and a dim flicker of that lightbulb will happen.

Your handlers TOLD you it was suicide to bring Gun Control into the campaign and yet you did it anyway.

GOOD for us... BAD for you and your socialist friends.
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 4:00:26 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/16/2004 4:00:50 PM EST by stormwalker]
he's being told to do this, after all the clintons (hitlery) doesn't want to run against another democrat in 2008.

don't worry Skerry will NEVER make it into the white house. BET MONEY ON IT.
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 4:12:54 PM EST
How the hell can he turn left, he's already scraping the farthest left wall!!! He just ain't sayin it publically!!
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 4:16:50 PM EST
I was telling a buddy of mine yesterday that we might just be witnessing the WORST run presidential campaign in American history...........................................................COOL!
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 4:17:46 PM EST
I guess Kerry is just showing his true colors. He can see he's in serious trouble and in his panick, he's going back to his roots. His roots are far to the left.

You know, Kerry goes left so often, he'd make a good NASCAR driver.

Of course Tony Stewart would kick his ass as soon as he stepped foot inside a race track. LOL. And what the fans would throw at him would take several tractor-trailers to haul away, at least what didn't stick to him that is.
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 4:53:41 PM EST
W's worry is Iraq. The terrorists will continue to escalate their attacks as we approach the November election in hope of influencing voters. This has precedent: four bombs in Spain tipped the scales in their election and consequently led to a change in foreign policy with the withdrawal of Spanish and Honduran forces. The shortsighted media attention in the US and noncritical thinking of most people may well play into their hands.
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 4:55:06 PM EST

Originally Posted By CS223:
One word: Meltdown



Let's just hope it happens exponentially over the next month +
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 5:25:24 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/16/2004 5:26:16 PM EST by tangeant]

The anxiety created by Kerry's return to gun control is concealed by the facade of serenity among Democrats. Their actual concern was exposed by Democratic activist Paul Begala, who has been assailed for advising the Kerry campaign while appearing as my co-host on CNN's ''Crossfire.'' He said on Monday's program: ''Anyone who's worried that I'm secretly running the Kerry campaign can rest easy. ... As an avid hunter and gun owner myself, I think Kerry's move is a political mistake, because Republicans are now going to try to scare hunters.''


Don't worry Paul, Kerry's already hard at work scaring hunters!
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 5:52:10 PM EST
More good news from the left. Early in the summer I was actually worried about Kerry. Sheeeet.
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 6:04:23 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 6:21:27 PM EST

Originally Posted By Treadhead:
I was telling a buddy of mine yesterday that we might just be witnessing the WORST run presidential campaign in American history...........................................................COOL!

The Republican 1996 campaign was the worst to far.

Dole was so stiff and lifeless I wondered if the Republicans were paid to blow the election.
They had won control in 1994 because of Gun Control. 1996 was only slightly changed as far as the House and Senate were concerned. Add to it White Water and it should have been a shoo-in.

But I didn’t see a speck of life out of Dole until he hit the Talk Show circuit. Clinton did make a single mistake and Dole made plenty.

So far Kerry has made some mistakes. But whenever he Preaches to the Choir, he has made very few mistakes. We are raging on Kerry because of Gun Control. But he is getting many votes because many people WANT Gun Control. And we have to remember that. After all, if Kerry was in favor of repealing the 1986 Ban and Bush was in favor in stricter Gun Control, we would probably be having Fund Raisers for “Kerry for President”.
Link Posted: 9/16/2004 6:28:53 PM EST
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