I understand that John Kerry is anxious to "begin the healing," but I think he's seriously overestimating my role in his campaign.
On Friday I received a friendly email from Kerry addressed, "Dear Shawn," with the following message:
I want to thank you personally for what you did in the election -- you rewrote the book on grassroots politics, taking control of campaigns away from big donors. No campaign will ever be the same.
Wow. I really had no idea anyone outside my immediate family and friends believed my writing carried so much weight, never mind JFK himself. Here I am, someone who spent the last two years calling Kerry a daffy, opportunistic, shallow, dishonest politician, and he sends me this kind note. I am chastened. The tears are well up.
You moved voters, helped hold George Bush accountable, and countered the attacks from big news organizations such as Fox, Sinclair Broadcasting, and conservative talk radio.
Huh? I'm not sure I remember that part of the campaign. I recall his staff throwing me out of a Carole King concert and, also, chatting about his decision to respond to Howard Dean paddling him like a red headed stepchild in New Hampshire by serving free chili. Certainly I've worked to hold George Bush accountable, but never to John Kerry. Maybe he had the wrong Shawn? (Later I would hear he sent this message to nearly three million other folks, and cry for the second time in 24 hours.)
And your efforts count now more than ever. Despite the words of cooperation and moderate sounding promises, this administration is planning a right wing assault on values and ideals we hold most deeply.
Didn't Kerry just demand we all "work together for the good of our country" in his concession speech? Nevertheless, Kerry is being consistent. He did, after all, vote for working together before he voted against it. (I know, I know. That was way too easy.) He never promised anything less. "In the days ahead we must find common cause," Kerry told supporters on November 3. That's right, days. He didn't say anything about weeks.
Healthy debate and diverse opinion are being eliminated from the State Department and CIA, and the cabinet is being remade to rubber stamp policies that will undermine Social Security, balloon the deficit, avoid real reforms in health care and education, weaken homeland security, and walk away from critical allies around the world.
It's true. During the campaign Kerry always made it clear his cabinet would be filled to the brim with people who disagreed with his polices. Um…wait a second, I can't find that in my notes. Maybe it didn't happen. Oh, that's right. Kerry was the guy who locked his own running mate in a media black-out box so as not to lose any of his own thunder and glory. Kerry's Senate colleagues clearly gave him the nickname, "Live Shot," for a reason. But we now have Kerry's own unassailable word that once president he would gladly have allowed himself to be shown up by subordinates. This new found modesty must have been in one of the multitude of secret plans. This much is clear: If Bush was interested in healing America he would just let Kerry choose the cabinet. Then the secretaries would definitely argue with Bush. Why not? Oh, that's right. You only get to set the agenda when you win.
Regardless of the outcome of this election, once all the votes are counted -- and they will be counted -- we will continue to challenge this administration. This is not a time for Democrats to retreat and accommodate extremists on critical principles -- it is a time to stand firm…And we must fight not only against George Bush's extreme policies -- we must also uphold our own values.
Extremist positions like what? Like that you lost? This line seems to suggest that Kerry isn't convinced he came in second yet. Maybe he's just jealous of Al Gore. The Florida debacle made a Gore a romantic martyr figure forever. It's no wonder he didn't want to run again. Kerry has to just deal with being a loser -- there's much less romance in that.
I won't bore everyone with the mid-section blubber of Kerry's letter where he starts banging the drum for universal healthcare. It's pretty sad. Not only is Kerry still fighting George W. Bush, he's still doing battle with Howard Dean and Carol Moseley Braun, too. This guy doesn't know how to let it go. He's giving new meaning to his favorite refrain, "Bring it on!"
This is the beginning of a second term effort to hold the Bush administration accountable and to stand up and fight for our principles and our values. They want you to disappear; they are counting on that. I'm confident you will prove them wrong, and you will rewrite history again.
Like I said, John, I don't think you meant to send this to me. But it's unlikely anybody is on the edge of their seats waiting breathlessly to see if your supporters disappear or not. They've shown their power to not get you elected, despite the best-funded, most indignant Democratic Party in decades. Not exactly the stuff of Republican nightmares. Who are they going to "prove wrong"? And when, pray tell, would you like to seem them "rewrite history again"? Perchance in 2008.
Here is what I want you to know. I understand the strength, commitment, and passion that are at the core of what we built together -- and I am determined to make our collective energy and organization a force to be reckoned with in the weeks and months ahead.
Ugh. Somebody get Teresa on the phone. It's time to stage an intervention. Look at the exit polls, my friend. You inspired, if anything, an extreme lack of passion. Nobody voted for you. Rather, 56 million people voted against George W. Bush. That's too bad for your voters, but worse for you. They only have to live through four more years of George Bush. You have to be John Kerry for the rest of your life. And, in case you haven't heard, you won't be running against Bush in 2008. You better take personality enhancement classes if you want to run against Arnold or John McCain in the next go-around. (You remember John McCain, right? He's the guy you praised at every turn and attempted to entice into joining you on your ticket. Good luck countering those commercials.)
Let's roll up our sleeves and get back to work for our country. Thank you, John Kerry.
Sure, sure. But I just have one question I'm reluctant to ask: Does this mean you're going to be on television constantly for the next four years indignantly deriding every press release to come out of the White House? Yeah, that's what I thought.