Afterthoughts by Dan Kelley
I wrote this in a rush so I could get it out before the election. While the writing was done in haste the reasoning behind it wasn't. Hopefully the inevitable grammatical errors, jumbled structure and inelegant phrasing will be outweighed by the cogency of the underlying arguments. Please forward it people who might get something out of it. Preferably cut and paste and add the names again so it doesn't come up as a forward.
The Illusion of Choice
By now you have received countless messages from the Democratic and Republican Parties and their surrogates. The bulk being lies and distortions meant to engender hate - not thought. Clearly, as the two sides work their faithful into a frenzy of personal animosity for the other candidate, the important issues of life and death have been artfully obscured.
And they must be. Otherwise, informed citizens would never allow themselves into being duped into Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee choices as they now are.
Don't be victimized again by candidates selected by the corporate-owned parties. Please consider the following depressing realities before you vote. Bush and Kerry:
-are staunchly for the war on Iraq. Both favor killing any Iraqis who oppose the rape of their country. To be fair, Kerry believes somehow that group rape is morally preferable to the selfish, unilateral rape espoused by Bush.
- have utter contempt for international law. While Democrats may fantasize that they are back an anti-war candidate that is hardly the case when Kerry continually tells us that we can “win” the war in Iraq.
-support virtually every bit of military spending proposed.
-invariably favor every significant aspect of the “free trade” agenda.
-strongly support the IMF and World Bank and the structural adjustment programs which they impose.
-favor the Israeli government under all circumstances.
-favor pouring more gasoline on the fire of Colombia's civil war and continuing the Cuban embargo.
-favor attempting to oust populist leaders in Latin America.
-favor a for-profit health system.
-favor expanding the prison industrial complex.
-favor the war on drugs (Kerry actually wants to expand it).
-favor the effective repeal of much of the bill of rights including the 1st, 4th, and 5th amendments.
-favor interfering in the elections of other countries for the benefit of American corporations, vis-Ã -vis the National Endowment for Democracy (sic) and the International Republican Institute.
-This list could go on and on but most importantly both will likely attempt to start wars in Iran and/or Syria if the domestic political situation looks at all amenable.
Frighteningly, the likelihood that Kerry would be able to get away with such a move is far, far greater. The reasons for this have to do with what Ralph Nader has called “the collapse of the left.” The most blatant aspect of this collapse is the overwhelming number of important “progressive” activists deliberately deceiving people into believing that a vote for John Kerry is a vote against the war. It will be far easier for a supposed “anti-war” president like Kerry to march his country to war than it would be for Bush who has exhausted his credibility here and abroad.
A recent encounter with Michael Moore at Kent State University demonstrates the current willful ignorance of the anti-war movement. Moore, a Nader supporter in 2000, went to great lengths to smear Nader to the delirious applause of a crowd which was certainly in opposition to “Bush's War.” At the Moore speech I held up a sign reading; “A vote for Kerry is a vote for the war on Iraq” along with a Nader sign. Moore began ridiculing a Nader supporter in the audience saying “then there's the one Nader supporter.” I pointed out to him that there was more of us present. He looked at me, saw my sign and said with great contempt: “Oh that's cute.” No arguments. No discussion. Just ridicule and evasion.
I managed to point out that it wasn't very cute for the Iraqi children who were torn apart as a result of the war that Kerry voted for and supported all along. I reminded the crowd that Kerry had lied to the American people about Iraq in a manner just as blatant as that of George W. Bush. Kerry told us that Iraq was developing nuclear weapons, that they had usable chemical and biological weapons, that they wouldn't allow inspectors into weapons sites and that they had kicked out weapons inspectors in 1998. It was clear at the time that he made them that all four statements were outright lies.
Had I been able to keep hollering without getting booted, I would have noted the fallacy of Kerry's statement that the President had reversed course and rushed to war after his admonitions. No such course reversal ever took place. Everyone in the government knew that the President was marching to war. All one need do is to examine how carefully the Bush administration managed the charade of a disarmament process. This is a crucial point. Before the war, the Bush Administration needed to create the impression that it was trying to avoid bloodshed with Iraq while at the same time continuing its inexorable march. It did so by simply stating over and over that it wished to avoid war while doing everything possible to publicly convey to Iraq that it was committed to going to war. The only way they were able to get away with this nonsense is because the Democrats didn't call them on it. If the Democrats had not been complicit in the pre-war propaganda, the utterly absurd contention by Bush that war was the “last alternative” would never hold water at this time. This treasonous silence by the other corporate party is the chief reason Bush has been able to get away with the war.
It is true that the administration did not state that war with Iraq was inevitable. But that is exactly the message we clearly communicated to Iraq. The Bush Administration simply made the most strenuous demands possible. It explicitly refrained from telling Iraq that if it complied with U.S. demands it would not be invaded. And the demands never stopped coming. When Iraq complied with the demand to allow inspectors to return with unfettered access, the Bush Administration simply added more demands and again explicitly refused to say that the US would not invade if Iraq complied. In essence, the U.S. was saying “Throw down your gun so I can shoot you.” It was also saying to North Korea and Iran to pursue nuclear weapons because we treat people with the real weapon of mass destruction quite differently than the strawmen we erect.
Examine the logic of yelling “throw down your gun” when you have drawn your gun on someone and clearly intend to shoot. Clearly, such a statement is not yelled if you suspect the individual actually has a lethal weapon because you are provoking them to shoot in self-defense. Rather, you say it to deceive onlookers into believing that when you murder your target, you did so in self-defense. If the onlookers are extremely stupid or totally oblivious, it might work. But it doesn't when someone points out the ploy.
The Democrats had far more than ample opportunity to point out the trick but, instead, helped the Bush Administration frame Iraq. The Democrats confirmed the core Republican lies that had allowed the murderer to kill his target.
“Yes, the victim did have a gun. I knew it for a fact. He was planning to kill me and had provided a gun and ammo to an enemy of mine who then shot my friend. Then, despite my exhortations he would not throw the gun down. If he dropped his weapon, I would not have had to fire.”
Kerry, however, has finessed the murder in the following way:
“I agree with everything the shooter said about his victim's behavior but he did not shoot the victim in the right way. Had he lined up a group of neighbors rather than just dragging his reluctant brother and cousin behind him, we would not be suffering the problems we now face.”
As the absurd process of deliberately maximizing Iraq's disincentive to cooperate with the inspectors continued, the Bush Administration began fraudulently claiming Iraq was not complying with inspections when it knew it was. To this day, Administration officials contend that we had to go to war because Saddam was in violation of U.N. resolutions when, in fact, the absence of WMDs makes a prima facia case to the contrary. It was clear in the months leading to the war that the “evidence” the Bush administration presented was absurdly weak just as every piece of evidence they provided regarding Iraq's WMD was obviously flawed.
A Disloyal Opposition
Why did so few people recognize the lies or - at the very least - the massive problems in intelligence when Hans Blix pointed out that all the intelligence the U.S. was providing was “garbage?” How is it so few realized the fraudulence of the intelligence before the war when the inspectors were telling CBS News that the intelligence the US provided was “garbage, after garbage. after garbage.” The reason is again clear, the putative opposition to the war (the Democrats) were, in fact, collaborators.
In the midst of the U.S. peddling their best, flawed information, the Bush administration went on the talk show circuit claiming that they were giving Blix good information. But time was growing short and as the false evidence was unraveling, the Bush administration needed to ratchet up the rhetoric. The Democrats proved willing accomplices.
Leading Democrats like Tom Daschle made it appear that the Bush Administration's case for war was unassailable. The time to truly make their case was then and they failed to do so. Even Dems who were ostensibly opposed to the war largely fell into line.
An opposition party of even marginal effectiveness would almost certainly have stopped the war. Imagine if the Democrats had insisted that Dick Cheney and others testify under oath to their certain knowledge that Iraq had reconstituted its nuclear weapons program and the specific intelligence on where the weapons were? Instead, as in the case of Kerry's lies about Iraq's nonexistent WMD, the Democrats choose to stoke the fire of war rather than opposing it. In doing so they allowed the war to happen and also destroyed their party's ability to forcefully rebut Republican lies during the presidential campaign. After all, they choose to further the obvious lies rather than to fight them - what they believed was - short term political gain. But those congressional elections which Gephart insisted would bring the House back to the Democrats, never materialized and they had given up their best arguments for the presidential campaign.
Had the Senate Democrats made a principled stand, the war would likely not have happened. But if it had, they would now be landsliding Bush and the Republicans because the American people would not have be making decision on the prudent of the war based extensive, carefully crafted framework of fabrications. Such an inept performance could only be pulled off with people like John Kerry, Al Gore and Hilary Clinton as the putative opposition. Senate Democrats only masqueraded as an opposing party. At the most critical time in modern history they simply laid down for their corporate masters as they do at any truly critical moment.
Michael Moore, however, refused to even address that sorry record of collaboration. I rhetorically asked Moore why Kerry had not only voted for the war but blatantly lied to us about Iraq. Moore's response was the predictable ad hominem attack on Nader supporters. He refused to even discuss Kerry's stance on Iraq. The applause was predictably thunderous and almost unanimous.
The audience reaction was even more disgusting in light of Moore's refusal to debate Nader on the question: “For whom should the antiwar movement vote?” That Moore is superficial and disingenuous whore has been clear to me for years but the refusal of the audience to demand any answers was what mattered. While Progressives love to deride Republicans in light of the University of Maryland study that shows the flawed GOP world view of U.S. popularity, Iraq's WMDs and Saddam connections to 9/11, they should not be so smug. Progressives also live in an Alice In the Looking Glass world where John Kerry is an anti-war candidate despite the facts.
Later, Moore would note that W had sent over 1,000 men to their death. Apparently, Iraqis don't count as people. This racist, insensitivity brought no apparent negative reaction from the crown - just the opposite in fact. And this is the group of people who are supposed to be the activists against the wars!
The reality that the anti-war movement bought into the “Anyone But Bush” movement was clear at the Democratic convention. While tens or hundreds of thousands of people turned out for meaningless “anti-war” demonstrations at the Republican Convention, about 150 to 200 people showed up to protest the war at the Democratic Convention despite the fact that a big turnout could have had a real impact.
Self-Deception as a Progressive Virtue
While the self-deception of Progressives is especially blatant on the issue of the war, it is even more manifest in several other areas. When it comes to trade, the Kerry record is even worse. As stated at the beginning, Kerry has invariably favored every free trade initiative. The only action he offers believers in fair trade (who comprise well over Â¾ of the US population) is overturning a tax break for outsourcing. A move that even his chief economic adviser admits is of minimal importance in motivating corporations to outsource. But this modest proposal has still had labor unions lining up to endorse an unrepentant free trader. Such behavior would be unbelievable were it not so customary.
Similarly a Kerry administration could and would pursue the same free trade agenda but far more effectively than a second Bush Administration. This would arguably not be the case were it not for “the collapse of the left” but it needs to be conceded that the left has in fact surrendered unconditionally.
Kerry is more dangerous than Bush. While Kerry's aims are almost precisely convergent with those of the Bush Administration, Kerry would clearly face fewer challenges in pursuing empire.
But Kerry is certainly much better on domestic policy contend his backers. This assertion is made despite the failings of his record and platform. Certainly domestic policy differences between candidates stand in more stark contrast. However, the distinctions fade when put in a larger economic and electoral context.
Many of the issues on which the candidates are ostensibly different are only for show. On the rare occasions that people discover that the parties are essentially the same, abortion is pulled out as the trump card. Republicans are against all abortions and Democrats are for abortion on demand we are told. Of course, neither statement is accurate as we will examine later in this article.
Having examining in depth Kerry's stances towards the war on Iraq it is should be clear above all else that the Democrats strategy of collaboration was not only ethically repugnant but - predictably - a political mistake. Certainly, 9/11 made a war on Iraq a viable possibility when the Administration conflated Al Quaeda and Saddam. Before then, there was no feasible possibility of starting a war as the Clinton Administration found in early 1998 when it attempted to do so (at the behest of Kerry amongst others it should be noted.) When the war was proposed in earnest after 9/11, the Democrats (by and large) were supportive despite the fact that they would be offered an obvious and utterly enormous chance to capitalize on the inevitable problems if they positioned themselves properly.
On final point should be made about Iraq. Some might argue that even though Kerry and the Dems collaborated in deceiving the public into believing a was necessary had Kerry or Gore been president neither of them would have started the war. This is flatly contradicted by the reality of what happened in early 1998 when the Clinton Administration began a public campaign to bludgeon the public into believing a war on Iraq was necessary. Two of the chief proponents of this move were Al Gore and John Kerry. Of course at that time 9/11 had not happen and as the Clinton Administration soon found out the public simply would not accept such a war.
Other Foreign Policy Issues
Commentators typically contend that Kerry is more in favor of multilateralism and that he and has more respect for international institutions. That such talk is taken seriously is indicative of the bankruptcy of political discourse. Such assertions are almost invariably made absent any specifics to back up the charges, and with good cause; if one were to run down the list of international issues in which Kerry would presumptively demonstrate his predilection for multilateralism one would quickly find that his stated and (thus far) pursued policy proscription are the almost indistinguishable from those of the Bush Administration.
On Israel/Palestine, Kerry is clearly, if marginally, worse than Bush. He has correctly boasted of always supporting anything labeled pro-Israel by AIPAC and he has at various times made statements absurdly claiming that Israeli and American interests are almost identical. With Kerry the extremely meager attempts to pressure the Jewish state into a more accommodating position vis-Ã -vis the indigenous population (the Palestinians) are likely to end.
It is also worth noting Kerry's positions towards the Middle East irrespective of his stance on Israel/Palestine and Iraq is, if anything, worse than Bush's. A while back the Kerry campaign issued one of it policy statements intended for an elite audience that indicated that a Kerry administration would emphasize combating terrorism over promoting Democracy. A translation into plain English would read; Those infrequent PR motivated attempts the Bush Administration made at promoting democracy in the Middle East will end. Rather, we will throw all our support behind entrenching dictatorships in the region.
What perceptive observers actually mean when they say that Kerry is more oriented towards multilateralism is that Kerry would garner more support from other significant powers because,
his personality will not galvanize opposition to US policy on the part of First World populations to the extent Bush's has. Thus, he will make it easier for First World governments to participate in the U.S. led exploitation of the rest of the world and
that Kerry will garner additional international support by cutting in other significant powers for part of the proceeds when we rape other countries - in reality this is Kerry's only real critique of Bush's stance on Iraq
If these propositions are true, they argue strongly against facilitating Kerry's rise
to the presidency if you are against U.S. imperialism. If you are for it, then you want Kerry because he might be able to carry it forward in a more sustainable fashion than Bush. This is best illustrated by Kerry's opposition to Bush's recently stated plan on scaling back troop deployments in Europe. No possible justification for such opposition could be offered other than reinforcing U.S. domination of Western Europe and thus the continued viability of the North Atlantic alliance - the cornerstone of post World War II U.S. domination and exploitation of the rest of the world.
Colombia is another area in which Kerry should frighten all of us. Since 1998 the U.S. has vastly stepped up its strategy of militarily supporting the government and the paramilitary forces in their battle against the guerillas. The predictable effect was a vast increase in the volume of political killings (roughly a doubling from 7 a day to 14 - as I remember.) Notably the chief architect of this strategy was Rand Beers, Kerry's chief foreign policy advisor. Further still, according to the excellent NarcoNews.com website, during his service in the Bush Jr. Administration, Beers perjured himself by absurdly claiming in a civil proceeding brought by victims of U.S. aerial anti-crop biowarfare, that the FARC guerillas in Colombia were linked to Al Queda. So a Kerry administration means a deepening US involvement in and escalation of the Colombian civil war.
On Venezuela Kerry's stance is similarly atrocious. Kerry wishes to see Chavez deposed which would return the majority poor population to utter subjection. But it would insure that the oil proceeds would flow to the rich in the U.S. On Haiti he seems somewhat better than Bush in that he criticized its “theological” hatred of Aristide but that seems of marginal importance given the entrenchment of the anti-Aristide coup.
Elsewhere in Latin America (and for that matter Africa and Asia) Kerry's pro-neo-liberal, pro-IMF stance is of primary importance. The only notable difference between Bush and Kerry in this respect is that Bush would likely be force into offering more debt relief and more foreign aid given the level of opposition to him that has developed throughout the world.
The only particularly important difference between the two candidates in terms of fiscal policy is that Kerry favors top marginal tax rates several percent higher than that enacted during the Bush Administration (I will argue later that this is perhaps the only real clear-cut difference of any real significance in the domestic arena.) The meaningfulness of this difference (which is truly significant in and of itself) will almost certainly be all but eliminated by the fact that Kerry will face Republican majorities in both the House and Senate and these majorities are only likely to grow in the mid-term election because Kerry and his people are unable to make strong, coherent arguments and can only win in the face of overwhelming failures on the part of Republicans. Big failures are not enough. Democrats need wars and record job losses and even then they only edge out Republicans.
The important thing to note in fiscal policy is that the parties have become two sides of the same coin. The Republicans cut taxes and raise spending (thus expanding the deficit) while the Dems raise taxes and cut spending in order to decrease the deficit. Predictably, the political benefits of this cycle innure to the Republicans. Thus, the cycle is perpetuated. The Dems have demonstrated no capability to overcome the logic underlying the cycle despite the fact that it should be possible. Again the reason is that the Dems effectively do everything possible to confirm the lies that support the Republican world view rather than construct an alternate conceptual framework with which public might be able to understand the issue. Briefly, for instance Dems agree that Bush “cut taxes” rather than stating that he “deferred taxes.” This, despite the fact, that every dollar of “tax cuts” he passed went straight into creating deficits that must be paid off eventually.
On monetary policy there is no apparent difference between the candidates. Both favor a management of the money supply that victimizes the poor and middle class by raising interest rates and slowing growth just as the majority of the populations starts to feel the benefits of economic growth. In Greenspan's talk this is called pre-empting “upward wage pressure.” In practice, this means since this policy was adopted a quarter century ago that the majority of the population has stagnated or lost ground while the wealthy have vastly expanded their wealth. Today, 13,400 households have the same yearly income as the bottom 96 million Americans and the top 1% has the same wealth as the the bottom 95%. The disparities in income and wealth have continued to grow over the last several decades under both Democratic and Republican administrations, although it must be conceded that the Republican exacerbate the growing chasm between rich and poor.
The Wedge Issues
Liberals like to claim that the Bush Administration is comprised of Bible- thumping theocrats. But it should be noted that Ashcroft is the exception for the administration, not the rule. There is a good chance he wouldn't be around for a second term anyway. The people who make money and war policy in the White House are almost certainly predominantly atheists (as they are in any administration).
Whatever W's eschatological beliefs it seems extremely fanciful to believe the fundamentalists affect foreign policy - just as fanciful as it is to believe that our ignorant and disinterested president really formulates policy. Certainly, the Bush Administration rhetorically does a great deal to appeal to the Christian Right but it is remarkable in the lack of substantive action the Administration has taken on its behalf. True, Bush ostensibly backs a constitutional amendment against Same-Sex Marriage - but it was DOA. Thus, his position is strictly meaningless. It signed a ban on “partial birth abortion” that it knew would be struck down by the Supreme Court. It then backed congressional moves to outlaw “partial birth abortions” knowing that federal courts would still see its failures to protect the health of the mother. Outrageously, it has provided funds to religious organizations as part of its “faith based initiates” including prisons. Kerry opposes such funding, so this might be one of the few clear cut differences.
The real concerns on so-called social issues (including the crucial issue of abortion rights) are questions of who sits on the Supreme Court. Supreme Court appointees are notoriously difficult to predict and this will be all the more true given that any administration will likely choose candidates who have taken very few public positions on controversial issues. Additionally, a second Bush Administration would be somewhat restrained in its appointments based on the need to preserve the balance on the court in favor of Roe v. Wade. Note that Bush has always noted that he does not have an abortion litmus test for judges. Wink, wink to Pro-Choicers. Pro-Life Republicans received little solace when the President raced to the aid of Pro-Choice Senator Arlen Spector in his tough primary battle against a Pro-Life Republican. The reason for the President's backing was purely power: Spector could be elected and Toomey could not and it is far more blessed to maintain power for tax cuts than to clearly fight abortion.
Finally, it should be mentioned that if Roe is overturned that decision could be quickly reversed by appointing more justices to the Supreme Court (there can be up to 15 justices on the Court.) This means that in the unlikely event that the court overturns Roe, the decision could again be reversed by the appointment of additional justices by the next president. This would be politically feasible because if Roe is overturned, tens of millions of women (and men) would be immediately turned into political activists (which would destroy the Republicans agenda as a whole). Still, the outside chance that Roe might be overturned deserves careful consideration given the great implications of such an event.
One can safely conclude that Roe is unlikely to be overturned regardless of who is elected and even if it were, it would very likely soon be reinstated. Even if it weren't, the matter would just return to the states. So the material difference would be far more limited than most would believe. In other words, the outside chance that Roe would be overturned under Bush and Kerry's advocacy of a top marginal tax rate several percent higher than Bush is almost the entirety of the substantive differences. These modest differences justifying the election of Kerry over Bush must be calculated against far greater possibility of very serious international malignancy on the part of a Kerry Administration.
In accessing Kerry it is worth making some assessments of his record on Vietnam. While I haven't bothered to research the issue in great depth (preferring to concentrate on Kerry's record on Iraq and other contemporary concerns), I am reasonably confident in making the following capsule assessment. Kerry was perhaps marginally against the war prior to his volunteering to go there as indicated by a speech he gave in (I believe) 1966 in which he criticized the war on prudential rather than moral grounds. Keep in mind that Kerry was the son of an elite diplomat, had attended Yale and was well into his 20's by the time he volunteered to go to war.
It stands to reason that, with this type of background, if Kerry were truly a man of good character and good judgment he should have realized that the war was unjust (not just ill considered) and should have refrained from serving and instead stayed in the U.S. to organize against the war. Admittedly, it is tough to access just how culpable Kerry should have been in realizing the injustice of the war at that time because I don't know in great enough detail what information Kerry could feasibly have accessed at the time. In any event Kerry clearly volunteered to go to war to facilitate his planned political career which speaks ill not only of his character but also his perspective and sanity.
There has been a great deal of controversy over what Kerry did while in Vietnam and I don't have space to explore it here. It is worth saying that whatever orders Kerry received his actions were clearly immoral, Counterpunch writers Jeffrey St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn contend that Kerry committed war crimes in the course of his swift boat service and that he was involved in ferrying assassins who were working the notorious Operation Phoenix mass-assassination program. Regardless of the orders he received, the conduct chronicled by Cockburn and St. Clair is simply horrendous and ought to disqualify anyone from ever seeking public office much less becoming president. In contrast W.'s decision to avoid spilling blood was quite obviously the more ethical decision even if it was based more on self-preservation than a willful decision to avoid killing.
Did Kerry redeem himself by subsequently speaking out against to war? I believe he did. So was Kerry's decision to very publicly oppose the war also a political calculation. Probably because most of his decisions in life were political. The really interesting and pertinent question is whether in the course of working against the war did Kerry get carried away and take actions which he knew would be detrimental to his political career but useful in ending the war. This is the most difficult question of any importance to answer about Kerry. Truthfully, I don't know for sure but Kerry certainly did not do go as far as many of his antiwar comrades who testified to committing atrocities at the Winter Soldier hearings (where he did not testify.) At maximum we can say that if Kerry's vehemence about ending the war did prompt him to take actions against his political best interests, they were momentary blips of altruism that stand in stark contrast to the rest of his public life. The bottom line is that Kerry's Vietnam era activity provides scant hope compared to the ethical accommodations of his Senate career.
Voting for Ralph Nader would likely have positive effects in that it could strengthen the hand of those who seek to turn the Democratic Party into a force for ordinary people rather than for the corporations. It could add to the long term viability of third party challenges, thus making the Dems more accountable to their base. If Nader gets 1% of the vote in swing states where he is on the ballot, the Democrats would likely calculate an antiwar candidate would likely garner 5% or more the vote in 2008 if a Kerry Administration remains in Iraq throughout its first term or if they continue to fail to oppose the Bush Administration's presence there.
If he gets 1/3 of 1% in the swing states where he is on the ballot, the Dems would likely conclude that they can continue to play to their corporate constituency with little worry of losing a decisive share of the progressive base even if they continue their support for the war and all their out support for militarism, the free trade agenda, etc., etc, etc.
In other words a vote for Nader is a vote to increase the possibility that there will (at some time in the future) be true, meaningful opposition to the corporate agenda. In reality given the strength of the case against corporate dominance all that is needed for such opposition to prevail is for it to gain the enormous soapbox of a major party. But the only way this has any chance whatsoever of happening is if a significant number of progressives declare that they will not simply settle for anything (as the idiotic 'Anybody but Bush' slogan indicates.) If one looks back at the primary it seemed clear beforehand that the Dems would not be dumb enough and craven enough to put a pro-war candidate but they did. In reality the choice that Kerry was the guy was made by plutocrats back in 2001 in just the same manner that W was anointed the front runner for the 2000 nomination all the way back in 1996.
How did this catastrophe of having a pro-war candidate happen? Mostly it has to do with the fact that virtually the only thing democrats cared about was winning. They were dumb enough to think nominating a pro-war candidate would help them do so. Had they thought they would lose 5% or more to an antiwar candidate in the general they never would have put up such a creep. Voting for Nader helps the build the process by which it can be made clear to the Democrats that they can't win without addressing our issues. If this were to eventually succeed in turning the Democrats into a true opposition party, victory over the Republicans would be child's play.