It is safe to say that Sen. John F. Kerry has finally shown his true colors. Throughout the primaries and the general election we have seen many forms of his character, but he displayed his true colors Friday in St. Louis, Mo., during the second presidential debate.
President George W. Bush was straightforward and simple while Kerry seemed nothing less than arrogant. His ineffectual and naÃ¯ve rhetoric created an environment that enabled Bush to excel. As a result, Bush exposed Kerry for who he really is.
Kerry has traveled long and hard, from the Senate floor right into a brick wall. He should replace his middle name of Forbes with Fraud because that’s all he is. Although he has enjoyed an extended career of indecision and ambiguity, he now has revealed his true self. Last Friday’s debate closed the chapter on this election.
There have been many ups and downs for both campaigns during this long election season — and the public is having a difficult time deciding whom to trust.
We witnessed no success for the Kerry camp after the Democratic National Convention, where he was supposed to take a large leap in the polls; and similarly, Bush has seen many disheartening results in his numbers due to the mistakes made in Iraq. Nevertheless, there are only three weeks left until Election Day and the true characters of the candidates are finally being revealed.
Kerry, while discussing his tax rollback for the wealthy, decided to be haughty in the hope of coming off as funny. It could have been a humorous Reagan moment — but it failed. While discussing his plan to raise taxes for those who earn more than $200,000 a year, he said, “Looking around here, at this group here, I suspect there are only three people here who are going to be affected: the president, me and (moderator) Charlie (Gibson).”
He was eager to be witty, but consequently came off as conceited. Yes, he was right in assuming that you have to know your audience, but you can’t demean them just to crack a joke.
He should have taken a look around and known that he wasn’t just talking to a group of college kids; there were people of all ages and backgrounds. Just because the debate wasn’t held in the snooty suburban areas of the Northeast, it was uninspiring of him to assume that people in Missouri don’t make a “taxable” income. Kerry is simply out of touch with the American people and obviously has no problem letting us know that.
It may be acceptable to say that Kerry has read a few more books than Bush or that he is more cultured. But being more refined does not give you the credibility to lead a country, especially in a time of war.
Bush is resolute where Kerry is inconsistent, Bush makes steady decisions where Kerry is unpredictable and Bush leads while Kerry is lost in a sea of misunderstanding. Although Kerry is a bright and scholarly politician, he does not have the stamina and steadfastness to pilot this great nation.
Bush, speaking about Kerry, said it best in the last debate: “He’s got a record. It’s been there for 20 years. You can run, but you can’t hide.”
After pointing out Kerry’s voting record, Bush concluded with a powerful one-two punch.
“They don’t name him the most liberal in the United States Senate because he hasn’t shown up to many meetings. They named him because of his votes. And it’s reality. It’s just not credible to say he’s going to keep taxes down and balance budgets,” Bush said.
The reality has set in and the fraud is now visible — ouch, that must hurt.
The decision is quite simple and it goes like this: Yes, we are in Iraq. Yes, we need to correct the mistakes we made in the past so they don’t occur in the future. But we do not need to change leadership in this unprecedented time of uncertainty. We cannot simply throw ourselves into a pool and hope to float.
Erik Raymond is a sophomore majoring in political science.