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Hope is on the way

The morning after Sen. John Kerry accepted the Democratic nomination for President, we got an e-mail message from Vice President Dick Cheney. He must have watched Kerry’s acceptance speech and then worked quite late Thursday night to get his message written. He said the Democrats ‘gathered in Boston to attack our president and nominate the most liberal ticket in history.’ Cheney said they ‘spread their pessimistic message,’ and so he felt called to set the record straight.
As is often the case with the Bush-Cheney team, Cheney has got it wrong, and he has twisted the facts to suit his purposes. This is not the most liberal ticket in history and Democrats did not lack for real issues when it came to criticizing the sad cumulative record of George Bush and Dick Cheney. The convention in Boston did not sink to mere Bush-bashing. Sure, the Democrat speakers got in some good shots, most well-deserved, but attacking Bush was not the main goal.
John Kerry and John Edwards wanted to make it very clear to the American people that what they stand for is in many ways in sharp contrast to Bush-Cheney Republicans. There was nothing pessimistic about the Democrats’ idealistic message of hope, strength, equality, prosperity, fairness, cooperation and determination. There’s nothing pessimistic about wanting to defend America with a stronger military, going after the terrorists and trying to rebuild Iraq with the help of our allies. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve our fractured intelligence community and avoiding war unless it’s absolutely necessary. There’s nothing pessimistic about balancing the federal budget, raising the middle class, providing good health care, eliminating tax breaks for the rich, making college possible for those who want to attend, and restoring America’s unique and historic place of leadership in the world. There’s nothing pessimistic about bringing trust and credibility back to the White House.
And, in pointing out that Republicans say this is the best economy we’ve ever had and that anyone who thinks otherwise is a pessimist, Kerry skillfully pointed out that there is nothing more pessimistic than saying America can’t do better.
The Democrats consistently sounded positive, forward-thinking themes for an energized, enthusiastic and unified party, which hasn’t always been the case after other Democratic conventions. Remember the Chicago bloodletting in 1968?
Cheney said John Kerry and his allies will spend over $500 million in negative advertising. We don’t believe that for a minute. This wouldn’t be the first time Bush-Cheney-Rove has misled the country. This kind of statement sounds like something Rove or Richard Nixon dreamed up. As House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said, Democrats do not exploit fear to distract and divide. That’s a Bush-Cheney-Rove tactic. George Bush has already spent millions in advertising in a failed attempt to embarass Kerry, and Bush, a fabulous fund-raiser, is just getting started.
No, the negative advertising will come from the Republicans, and we fear it will be a deluge. We also expect the American public will get sick of it before November. Many people already are. Former VP candidate Joe Lieberman said Democrats will disagree with their opponents, not demonize them. We hope that will be the case all across the country.
And, oh, yes, Cheney included in his message an appeal for money. He needs money ‘to spread the President’s positive message and the truth about his record of accomplishment. You can make a contribution of $1,000, $500, $250, $100 ‘or even $50,’ in case you’re not a Halliburton multimillionaire.
Or you can give to the Democrats, who really need it.
Back to the Democratic convention. It was a positive, inspiring, amazingly unified affair, with great speeches by an array of talented political leaders and family members. It’s too bad network television really dropped the ball and chose not to cover most of it. The Democrats may not do the balloons and confetti just right, but they do not lack for leadership and good ideas. Hope is on the way.
Bring on the debates and turn off the political ads.