John Kerry - Superhero:
In the vicious end of days in this campaign, so much gets lost in the caterwauling of the media. Here's something that's happened in the last couple of days: John Kerry has found the last piece of the puzzle, the final cause to push to the end of the battle. If you've listened to Kerry since the dual revelations of the missing 760,000 pounds of high-powered explosives from a known ammo dump and the coming request for an additional $70 billion dollars for Iraq and Afghanistan, Kerry has become the man we've all heard about - the unstoppable crusader for what's right against however powerful the forces of evil may be. Kerry has been tough-guy posturing for most of the campaign, and it's been a ludicrous sight. How many animals must be hunted and killed in order for a Democrat to look strong on defense? As Bradley Whitford said on Bill Maher's show last week, "How many times does a guy have to be shot in the ass running across rice paddies in Vietnam in order to look tougher than the cheerleader from Andover?"

Here's the deal - what's been missing from the entire Kerry campaign is just how tough a motherfucker John Kerry really, actually is, and it's got jackshit to do with hunting geese and killing the Vietcong. Kerry is a superhero, the kind of valiant son of a bitch who doesn't give a rat's ass about his own life in order to make the lives of others better. It's his post-Vietnam life that makes him a superhero. You don't know how much a superhero the man in the cape is by his origins. You know a superhero by his deeds. And if Kerry loses, it'll be because his campaign refused to acknowledge just how kick-ass Kerry has been since his final purple heart (and if Kerry loses, adviser Bob Shrum, who, in essence, said the public was too stupid to understand Kerry's accomplishments, should be strung up by his balls and batted around like a pinata by the Democratic party leadership until he bursts open and showers everyone with his innards).

Yeah, yeah, this is gonna be a down-on-the-knees-Kerry-supportin-hummer of an entry, but the Rude Pundit keeps talking to people who sigh and say, "I guess I'm gonna vote for Bush" because they can't bring themselves to vote for Kerry. They see him as weak. They see him as a flip-flopper. In other words, they see him as the projection of self that Bush has imposed on Kerry. In other words, these voters are too blinded by the glow that emits from the crown on Bush's head to believe that they own the democracy.

Kerry vs. Nixon: When Kerry helped organize the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, he was directly confronting a hegemonic ideology in the country that said the people must blindly follow their leaders. Kerry, villified at the time with incredible viciousness, did not back down from charges of treason and heresy. Check out the end of the book The New Soldier, which Kerry co-wrote and edited in order to talk about what the young men returning from Vietnam had confronted in the name of "freedom" from Communism. The book is, ironically enough, mostly reprinted on an anti-Kerry site. Kerry writes, "We are asking America to turn from false glory, hollow victory, fabricated foreign threats, fear which threatens us as a nation, shallow pride which feeds off fear, and mostly from the promises which have proven so deceiving these past ten years." Change "ten" to "four," and you get the idea. The rest of the essay is stunningly humble, and it is simply a call to be citizens with eyes and ears open, to allow that maybe the powerful are more concerned with keeping power than with admitting error. And it is horribly, frighteningly prescient. What people forget about Kerry's protest days is that he was defending the lives of soldiers and that he was right.

Kerry vs. Reagan: When Kerry faced down the Reagan administration in his dogged pursuit of the Contra-drug connection, he was a freshman Senator taking on one of the most popular Presidents in American history. Instead of backing down from repeated threats to his political career, Kerry had his staff stay on the case like a viper injecting venom into your leg. They would have had to cut off his head in order to get him to stop, and he stayed on it until he revealed that the Reagan administration allowed the Contras to smuggle cocaine into the U.S. in order to fund their CIA-led "war" against the legally-elected Sandinistas in Nicaragua. (And thus helping to cause the crack epidemic.) Kerry was called a conspiracy theorist, said to be interfering with other drug cases, and impugned throughout the media. But the part that rarely got told is that he was right.

Kerry vs. Bush I: When Kerry went after the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, which was involved in laundering the Contra drug money, funneling money from the U.S. to Saddam Hussein (when he was our beloved dictator), and supporting illegal arms trade with terrorists and drug lords (including Afghanistan), it was his first chance to take on the Bush dynasty. When Bush I was in power, the administration and the CIA overlooked the crimes of BCCI, possibly because the bank was intimately involved in the financial dealings of the Bush family. Kerry had already kicked ass on the savings and loan scandals of the 1980s, so why not fuck with George H.W. Bush if 41 was fucking over the good of the country and the world? He brought down BCCI, and he cut off a vital funding source for terrorists. Again, Kerry was bucking the will of Democrats in Congress, as well as a Republican administration, in order to do what he knew was right.

Listen closely and tell anyone you know who is still thinking about voting for Bush: has Bush ever, personally, faced down anyone other than with a chant of "Drink, drink, drink"? Has he ever gone against someone who was really, truly powerful in order to place the good of the people above his own good? No. Heroes do that - they don't care what's in their way - they will face down evil, no matter how powerful. And they don't bother with those who are too weak to fight. It's why the latest news from Iraq fanned the fire: those in charge have screwed us over again, and Kerry's ready to bring the superhero costume out. Call him "the Winter Soldier."

Kerry's done a fuck of a lot more than pull a guy out of a river. And the fact that America doesn't know that says a great deal about how we negotiate our desolate political landscape.