Why You Are a Democrat (2)
John Glenn is quite old now, over eighty, a seniority that fits the persona he adopts tonight: the truth-teller, damn the consequences. He says that the only issue on which John Kerry isn't ahead of Bush in the polls is national security, which is something a consultant wouldn't let a surrogate say: Don't call attention to the candidate's weaknesses for God's sake.
But John Glenn has something he wants said. That it shouldn't be so.
"Bush says he's a strong leader and says he's a strong leader and says he's a strong leader. He says it so much that some people are starting to believe it."
"You can't be a real leader if you just surround yourself with ideologues with a mission of their own."
He tells the shameful story of Fallujah: how the contractors were murdered and mutilated, and how the Marine commanders told the White House the worst thing to do was to respond with tit-for-tat vengeance. That the atrocity had actually earned America much Arab sympathy, but that this was squandered in a reckless siege of the city.
And that, next, when members of the interim govenrment threatened mutiny unless the Marines withdrew, Bush had the Marines withdraw--for purely political reasons, a military "strategy" that managed but to preserve the worst features of every available option. "To me this is not leadership. It is not leadership....Compared to that, John Kerry is a Rock of Gibraltar."
"Real leaders deal with reality, not bravado."
He speaks very quietly--no Kucinich, he--but the applause is thick, appreciative. This is what we believe.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in New York, delivered to your inbox.