Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Using the sick to resuscitate the dead 

The media loves a circus and the latest Clinton-assisted Kerry rally in Philly gave our opinion-shapers the full elephant act, trapeze acrobats and a half a dozen clowns on tiny bicycles. Appropriately, the Dem love fest was held in Love Park, but alas for John Kerry, it turned out to be a rock concert where everyone came out for the supporting act. Australia's ABC radio provided this rather bizarre report:
"JOHN SHOVELAN: Philadelphia turned out today, perhaps as many as 50,000 people. But were they there for the Democrat candidate, Senator John Kerry, or to see the comeback of the party's star – former president Bill Clinton.

"MASTER OF CEREMONIES: The last duly elected President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton."
That must be the elephant part of the circus - as in "elephant memory." It's good to know that these guys never forgive, never forget, and never move on. Mind you, Bill Clinton himself was first "duly elected" with 43.3% of the vote, before cracking the magic 50% in his second go. Hopefully Dubya will emulate the improvement.
"JOHN SHOVELAN: The former president was drafted out of his convalescence to rouse the party's base, and in particular the black vote. And the rally appeared to have the desired affect on African Americans in the crowd.

"VOX POP 1: We need a change. Bush definitely got to go. Kerry's the man.

"JOHN SHOVELAN: How does Senator Kerry, do you think, compare to Bill Clinton?

"VOX POP 1: Ah, that's a tough one.

"VOX POP 2: Kerry shook my hand, as short as I am. Maxine Brown…

"VOX POP 3: She's never going to wash her hand again.

"VOX POP 2: … Delaware County. He, look, he shook my hand, short as I am. I'm telling you, we win, we win it.

"VOX POP 4: I got his little finger.

"VOX POP 2: We are winning. We are winning. We are on our way back to Delaware County.

"JOHN SHOVELAN: How does he measure up to Bill Clinton, do you think?

"VOX POP 2: I love, I love Kerry, see Bill, we love Kerry too. You can't put 'em against each other, but we love Bill Clinton, he's just in our hearts, do you know what I mean? But Kerry is our man for now. That's right, he's our man now.

"VOX POP 4: Bill can't run anymore, Kerry is our man. Alright."
A series of ringing endorsements if there ever were one. Boiling down to: wish we had Clinton running again; he's not, so that other guy will have to do. That takes care of the Democratic Party base - but what about the swinging middle ground? Or as "Newsday" summed it up:
"To the eyes of the Democratic faithful, it was the old Elvis with a touch of Lazarus rising thrown in, Bill Clinton trading convalescing for campaigning yesterday to help John Kerry capture some Comeback Kid mojo."
Which translates to: Kerry needs to borrow some energy from a guy who just got out of hospital after a quadruple heart bypass. All in a fine tradition of using triple amputees and quadriplegics as campaign props. The "Guardian" (of "where's Lee Harvey Oswald when you need him?" fame) thought that was a good thing:
"If anything, the newly muted Clinton helped Mr Kerry, who was next at the microphone. The candidate, 60, came across as vigorous and dynamic by comparison to the 58-year-old former president, symbolising the passing of a baton."
Others would call it desperation. Should the trend catch on, Kerry will start campaigning at cemeteries to appear lively (not to mention to shore up the Dem base), with George Soros to seem more middle-class down-to-earth, and alongside a weather-vane to underline his decisiveness and steadfastness. On second thought, scrap that last one.


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