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RFK, Jr. and the Stolen Elections of 2004

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Message Larry Sakin
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. recently published a well-written, documented report on the so-called stolen elections of 2004 in Rolling Stone Magazine. Although there are number of disparities between what Kennedy wrote and the material he offers as evidence, I'm going to say for the sake of argument that Kennedy has proven that Republicans did indeed steal the national elections. Which brings me to the point of this article: how is that going to effect the midterms this year and the presidential election in 2008?

Many states have passed laws to improve voter integrity, demanding a printed record of a person's vote. But the machines to ensure this process aren't ready yet, and no one knows if they will be ready in time for November's midterms. In the meantime, there is a larger issue looming this year which could very well keep Republicans in power.

No, it's not the Federal Marriage Act. Neither the Senate nor the House can muster enough votes to even bring these Bills to the floor. It's the gutless campaign rhetoric of Democrats running for open seats in both House and Senate.

Much like in 2004, Democratic candidates have shown themselves incapable of asserting a responsible position about anything. They're jumping all over President Bush's record, hoping that his low favorability ratings will be the major factor in getting them elected. And while Bush deserves to have his record of incompetence blared across the nation's airwaves, Democrats have to do more in order to persuade people to jump on the bandwagon with them.

To say Bush has done a lousy job in Iraq and "we Democrats can do better" really won't cut it. If Democratic candidates wish to succeed, serious attention must be given to Iraq, Iran, foreign policy in general, the economy, voter integrity, healthcare, taxes, corporate power, corruption, and privacy rights, among other problems this country faces. Americans want leaders who are genuinely committed to change, not a bunch of wishy-washy, say what we think you want to hear pitchmen for elected office. Otherwise, people will vote for THE SAME folks they voted for last time""because without a definitive opposition, people will believe that all politicians are the same, and will vote for the names they recognize over the ones they don't.

And while the 2004 election debacle deserves a well-funded investigation, we cannot continue to let Democratic candidates off the hook by continuously pointing fingers at Republicans and say "they cheated" when they win again. There must come a point where we understand that without an effective game plan and message to promote it, Democrats will be viewed as the weak sister of the political arena.

It's very easy to believe that Bush's and Congresses poll numbers is a sign that change is just around the corner. But don't fool yourselves. The Republicans have remained in power for twelve years despite very low opinion from the rank and file and they'll fight hard to remain in power. So along with strong, committed policies, Democratic candidates need to prepare themselves for the onslaught of Rove-style attack ads, swift-boating, grandstanding, outright viciousness that comes along with Republican politics these days. Instead of standing around looking shell-shocked when a Republican operative accuses a Democratic candidate of everything from supporting sodomy to committing war crimes in Iraq, candidates will have to sling the mud right back. Trying to remain "above the fray" will cost Democrats dearly. Shakespeare wrote "All is fair in love and war." Well, Republicans have made campaigns a war.

Perhaps Kennedy's article will lead to a more comprehensive review of the inconsistencies involved with the 2004 elections, but I doubt it. The article has been out for close to a week and it's received little to no notice from the mainstream press. All the more reason to make sure we have courageous Democratic candidates who speak to the needs of the American people and refuse to be eclipsed by the potential shenanigans of a political party desperately clinging to power.
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Larry Sakin is a former non-profit medical organization executive and music producer. His writing can be found on Mytown.ca, Blogcritics, OpEd News, The People's Voice, Craig's List and The Progressive magazine. He also advocates for literacy and (more...)
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