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March 04, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-03-04

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 4, 2004




SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise notid, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of
the Daily's editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

"I'm optimistic
about America
because I believe in
the people of
- President Bush as part of a series of
new campaign ads that use images of
firefighters, American flags and the ruins
of the World Trade Center.

.. ~



f w




Talk of centrists' demise premature


he political blooper
award of the election
season thus far goes
to former Vice President Al
Gore for endorsing Howard
Dean. It was an incredible
miscalculation for such an
experienced politician. He
may have endorsed Dean
because he passionately
believed in the governor's platform, even though
that platform was almost a polar opposite of the
stances Gore dedicated his career to champi-
oning. Or, maybe, Gore's close loss to Bush
enraged him so much that he wanted to endorse
the angriest candidate.
More likely, Gore thought the Democra-
tic Party was heading left, and he wanted to
get on board before it was too late. Nixon
endorsed the conservative Barry Goldwater
in 1964 because that's the direction the
Republican Party was heading at the time,
not because Nixon and Goldwater were
ideological twins.
Gore probably thought he would endorse
Dean, who would win the nomination and
then go on to lose to President Bush. Four
years later, Gore would sweep in, win the
nomination and finally assume the presiden-
cy, which is rightfully his after all.
But Gore is not the only person who drew
this mistaken conclusion. The common mis-
conception of this primary season has been that
the influence of the Democratic Leadership
Council, the centrist organization within the
Democratic Party, has lost its influence. Led by
the rank and file, the party was rejecting the

likes of Bill Clinton, Bob Rubin, the old Al
Gore and Al From. The globalizers were not
bona fide progressives.
But John Kerry's rapid ascendancy
proves this view wrong. Kerry is indeed
from liberal Massachusetts, but on a num-
ber of issues, including the typical litmus-
test issue of trade, Kerry's views are in line
with the DLC's. He sounds like Bill Clinton
did in 1992 on this issue.
The DLC praises Kerry on its website,
saying, "As a charter member of the Senate
New Democrat Coalition, Kerry has often
rejected the stale left-right options that dis-
guise the real choices facing the country -
choices that are rarely reflected in mechani-
cal interest-group Congressional vote rat-
ings, but that are in line with the real
sentiments of the American people." It goes
on to call Kerry a "Blair Democrat," the
highest compliment for a centrist Democrat.
Gore and the other purveyors of the
conventional wisdom were right that the
Democrats are angry at Bush. Their error
was in believing that this anger would lead
them to the open arms of the fiery Howard
Dean. Ironically, (well, it's not that ironic
when you think it through), this anger led
these Democrats to a centrist candidate
with an impressive military record. This is
because the Democrats are so angry that
most of them decided that they wanted to
get rid of the source of their anger, the
president. They decided to go with a can-
didate they felt could win. I guess there
really is a difference between Bill Clinton
and George Bush.

Even liberals are starting to catch on to the
American political truism that only a moderate
Democrat can win a national election in the
current political climate. The American people
don't elect protectionist, dovish presidents.
The elections that followed Sept. 11 were
embarrassing for Democrats. I would like to
draw your attention to the sight of James
Carville with a trashcan over his head, as the
Democrats were humiliated in the 2002 elec-
tions. But there have been some bright spots
recently. Mary Landrieu held her Senate seat
in Louisiana. Mark Warner was elected gover-
nor of Virginia, and Bill Richardson was
elected governor of New Mexico. And of
course Jennifer Granholm is the top dog in
our own Great Lakes State. What they all
have in common is that they are members of
the DLC. Don't forget what happened when
the DLC allowed potential presidential candi-
dates to speak at its summer convention:
Everyone and his great aunt showed up.
Sure this primary season featured pandering
to the left, but there's nothing unusual about
that. In fact, the debate remained pretty moder-
ate throughout. John Edwards thought he could
make progress with a protectionist, populist
agenda. The primary voters liked it, but were too
wise to cast their ballots for Edwards. And when
the economy starts to pick up again and jobs are
created - whether that happens next month or
next year - the anti-trade sentiment will dissi-
pate. Kerry is about to start his dance to the cen-
ter, and I guarantee you, that's where he'll stay.


Pesick can be reached at


Elections amount to
media popularity
contests, offer no choice
Every four years people put themselves
through a year-long circus as a way to
delude themselves that electing a different
president will actually bring about change.
For over two centuries, the pattern has
repeated itself, with only a small handful of
elected officials actually making significant
deviation from the plans of their predeces-
sors in office. This is due largely to the fact
that elections amount to little more than
media-driven popularity contests, rather
than elections based upon merit and effort.
As Super Tuesday draws to a close, it is
unfortunate for the American people that
the media chose to anoint the Democratic
nominee for the presidency following a
come-from-behind, surprise victory in
rural Iowa. For whatever reason, the media
took it upon themselves to place the deci-
sion of the sparsely-populated agricultural
communities of this small midwestern
state onto a pedestal that is supposed to be
reflective of our nation as a whole.
The man they now treat as a media dar-
ling, was only six months ago viewed as
too liberal to defeat the incumbent Presi-
dent Bush in a general election. Now, he is
being painted in a different light by the
media, one that shows him as the bringer

of hope for this nation.
Watching Kerry change stances on a
weekly basis, depending on the makeup of
the community in which he is campaigning,
sickens me quite frankly. This is despite the
fact that many of the policies and issues that
he campaigns on this week were ideas taken
from the other candidates. This will likely
change as we shift from Super Tuesday to
the South, because industrial trade agree-
ments mean little when trying to get elected
in the South. His failure to take a firm posi-
tion on anything is all too reminiscent of the
last New England liberal to run successfully
for the nomination.
The Democratic Party has failed itself
again. It has failed to capitalize on the resur-
gence of membership and new voters that
Howard Dean brought to the table. It failed to
support a proven warrior for the working class
in Dick Gephardt. And most recently, it failed
to nominate a man in. John Edwards who had a
plan for changing America, but was not given
the opportunity.
The point is likely moot, as Osama bin-
Laden will probably be miraculously
arrested about a week before the November
election, sending Bush's approval rating
through the roof. So, when the Bush-
Cheney war machine rolls through for the
next six months, shredding the Kerry cam-
paign to bits, Democrats should think to
themselves, "When will we learn?"
LSA senior
Co-chair, Students for Edwards

Jesus not exempt from
lampooning; captions not
as serious as others think
The Daily has always used photo captions
to cleverly lampoon films. That is what photo
captions are for - for the editors to drop clever
one-liners to supplement the reading. The wit in
the use of quotes from other movies is usually
quite hilarious, even more so if the movie itself
wasn't very good.
To think that just because Jesus is a reli-
gious figure he is somehow exempt from this
lampooning when he is featured in a film is a
ridiculous assertion. That's like saying you
can't criticize the president when there is a war
going on. The only thing more ridiculous is the
assertion in yesterday's letter to the editor
(Caption inappropriately makes light of
crucifixion, 03/03/04) that the Daily somehow
"did a disservice to the University ... by mak-
ing us all look ignorant and hypocritical." I was
personally unaware that the dignity of our
entire university rested on the laurels of the
photo captioning in the Daily, but with this
knowledge, perhaps in the future I will take
these matters more seriously.
LSA sophomore
1r.,m~ny An cHGA,0A ,~4





The Iraq war and occupation damage our education

It's very easy for students at the Uni-
versity to feel isolated from the political
drama of our day: Blood spilt in the sandy
reaches of the world can seem a little dis-
tant. However, the Iraq war, subsequent
occupation and the rising tide of mili-
tarism in America have direct effects on
the lives of students, and we need to start
paying attention. Aside from the tragedy
of citizens our own age, many of whom
are reservists trying to pay for college,
dying in a foreign land for dubious rea-
sons, students here bear the costs of war.

which biases research and restricts intel-
lectual freedom. The University, for
instance, was recently engaged in a bid-
ding contest for an army biowarfare
research center. It increasingly seems that
if researchers want grants, they must tie
themselves to corporate profit or help con-
struct weapons of war.
Further, as tuition rises and manufactur-
ing jobs disappear, underprivileged students
are forced into the military system to pay
for higher education. Enticed by promises
of college and money many young people
- particularly those from minority commu-
nities with few remaining avenues of oppor-
tunity - enlist or join the reserves. In

sought by both federal prosecutors and the
military itself. Perhaps most frightening are
government investigations of student infor-
mation through new secret "intelligence"
courts, which no one has the legal right to
know about. The courts that oversee these
warrants are required to give their approval
without knowing who is being investigated or
why. As result of the Patriot Act, there is no
appeal and no oversight to prevent abuse of
this system, as happened during the 1970s'
COINTELPRO, and there is no reason to
believe it is not being abused.
Students bear the costs of war - in the
quality of their education, in their tuition dol-
lars and their civil rights. It is both in our
self-interest to onnsemilitarism and 2a

V ~I4J~~4 ~

r cAill 4F1k: A3 Cktli ' fiils7


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