May 4, 2004
Message to John Kerry: In Today's Television-Dominated World, Form and Image are Content
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
What was the most distressing comment of the past few days?
Was it when Bush declared that he had done such a terrific job on the anniversary of the Iraq War? "A year ago," Bush declared, "I did give the speech from the carrier, saying that we had achieved an important objective, that we'd accomplished a mission, which was the removal of Saddam Hussein. And as a result, there are no longer torture chambers or rape rooms or mass graves in Iraq."
Of course, Bush said this at the same time that photos and stories of Iraqi prisoners being tortured and humiliated by U.S. and British soldiers were circulating around the world. When Saddam's torturers moved out of Abu Ghraib Army prison, Bush's mercenary torturers moved right in. That gross, disgusting hypocrisy should have been enough to make us run out for the vomit bag.
But, Bush has done wonders in inoculating himself from charges of farcical statements. He has, as we have argued, made hypocrisy and lying so banal that it only makes reporters yawn at this point, even if they were inclined to expose Bush, which they aren't.
No, what most distressed BuzzFlash the past few days was John Kerry's excuse when supportive veterans wanted to know why he had allowed the Bush slime machine to put him on the defensive about his war record.
What was Kerry's response? "Americans aren't listening to all that junk," he said, according to the New York Times.
Excuse us. If John Kerry REALLY believes that, we are in BIG, BIG trouble.
Message to John Kerry: Yes, at least half of Americans DO believe that junk, and you better start believing that they believe it.
It's long been the hallmark of liberals that they disdain television, but most of America doesn't. And the Bush Cartel, through the corporate media, by and large controls the images that come across the television screen. And it is through images, not policies, that at least half of Americans decide how to vote.
National elections today are not so much about public policy as they are about the perceived character of politicians. That is why the Bush Cartel plays such a ruthless game of character assassination and drives up the negatives of its opponents.
John Kerry better understand that he has to win this election. He can't expect Bush to lose it. If he doesn't win by more than a million votes, the Bush Cartel is going to steal the presidency a second time. So Kerry can't just win, he has to win big.
The latest character assassination attack [CNSNews.com] on Kerry is a Bush Cartel group of veterans who are going to make the claim that Vietnam War hero John is "unfit to lead" the nation.
Form has become content in American politics. The Bush Cartel knows it. You don't have to be a hero. You can be a chronic coward, liar and failure -- as George Bush is -- as long as you can get the media to convey the IMAGE of leadership.
It won't matter if Kerry was a Vietnam War Hero and Bush was a grounded, AWOL, booze- and drug-using Chickenhawk, if Kerry doesn't act with the resolve of a Vietnam War Hero.
Leaders don't let themselves be defined. They define the opposition first. They put the opposition on the defensive. They convey the image of leadership through their actions. They attack before they are attacked -- and they don't let up until the last vote is counted.
To be fair to Kerry, he has to take on several opponents: Bush, the mainstream press, Ralph Nader, and a GOP government/media/think tank propaganda machine that would make Goebbels envious.
But overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles is the stuff of heroes.
You're losing the battle, John, when you let them spill the garbage can over your head and watch the garbage fall down your back. You're losing the battle when you think that the Bush character assassination strategy doesn't work.
Define or be defined, John.
Right now, you are being defined -- and you will lose unless you start playing the hero.
Because Americans aren't voting for history. They are voting for what they see on their television screens today.
And they want to see a fighter who can master his opponent.
They don't care how it's done, because they want a president who can protect them and provide them with security.
Get tough and SHOW that you're a hero and Bush is a threat to our national security. This country is at greater risk from terrorism now because of Bush. But the voters need to FEEL in their hearts that you will make America safer and more secure. They need to see that through a strong, aggressive leadership image on television -- today in 2004.
It shouldn't be hard to go on the offensive. The Bush Cartel is using the same playbook that the Bush Dynasty has used since Lee Atwater rode shotgun with George W. in 1988.
It's not as though the Kerry staff didn't know what was going to hit them.
Stop pulling your punches John. It's a recipe for disaster.
Show America what you're made of and what made you a hero in Vietnam, but do it now, in real time.
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
otherwise noted, all original