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[Opinion] Kerry Returns

Posted January. 24, 2004 23:49,   


Skull and Bones. This is the common denominator between John Kerry, a Democratic presidential contender who came in first in the Iowa caucuses, and President George W. Bush. Evidently, there is little in common between the two politicians. However, when at Yale, both were members of this secret society consisting of spoiled rich kids.

Surely, they took opposing courses after graduation. Setting himself apart from Bush who started a war although he himself has a dubious military record, Sen. Kerry made a name as an anti-war Vietnam veteran. He risked his life many times in the battlefield, he was at the bottom in opinion polls, but he finally scored the first victory. He is Kerry, the comeback maker.

We are asking Americans to think about that because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? The statements he threw in 1971 at members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hit the cord of the nation’s psyche.

With his prudence, culminated in his history of risking his life for the country and his opposition to unilateral diplomacy and support for national security, he is perceived as a fatherly figure among Democrats. He is said to be an Abraham Lincoln without the beard – and good looking, albeit in a slightly odd, Jay Leno way.

What captured the public attention in the caucuses was Howard Dean’s ending in third. Although Dean has gained support online, traditional Democrat supporters and Vietnam veterans – genuine grassroots voters – chose Kerry. Dean’s yells and overstated physical gestures in campaign speeches became a subject of jokes: “Cows in Iowa were worrying about the mad Dean disease.” Some said “Date Dean, but marry Kerry.”

Kerry’s victory in Iowa does not guarantee the nomination of him as the Democratic presidential candidate. Given the political attitude of the Iowa public, the caucus results have their own importance. When asked about Al Gore four years ago, they usually answered, “I don’t know him well. I saw him just three times.” I envy Iowans, who cheered for Kerry’s return and hosted the caucuses like a party although the presidential elections are long down the road.