Greg Palast: Johnnie Been Good?
JOHNNIE BEEN GOOD?
by Greg Palast
[Boston] The millionaires are dancing now. The balloons are falling on John Kerry, John Edwards and their nuclear families.
They're playing "Johnnie B. Goode" over the loudspeakers. Democrats are hopping up and down like JFK never went to Dallas; like Bill Clinton didn't blow it for us; like there's a chance to bring the boys home alive; like America can crawl out of Dick Cheney's bunker and look at the sun again.
But has Johnnie Kerry been good so far?
He told us tonight about some poor bastard in Ohio whose job evaporated when his company unbolted the equipment and sent it south. Hey, Johnnie, didn't you vote for NAFTA?
I applauded when he said the White House should stop treating teachers and school kids like fugitives from justice and help them out. But, Johnnie, didn't you vote for George Bush's "No Child's Behind Left" assault on public education?
Then there was that little story meant to show us all he is a Man for All Seasons, above party politics. "I broke with many in my own party," he said, "to vote for a balanced budget, because I thought it was the right thing to do." No, John, it wasn't. It was craven political cowardice, going with the anti-government hysteria that put a knife into the heart of the programs you cried over tonight.
He told us the sad story of the poor homeless guy huddled in front of the White House. Is this the same John Kerry that voted for Clinton's welfare "reform"? That put a five-year limit on food stamps, making child starvation the law of the USA. At least Ronald Reagan offered ketchup as a vegetable.
Kerry made good use of the cash he saved on feeding the poor. "I fought to put a 100,000 cops on the street." Hey, thanks, John.
But my absolute favorite of the night was when Kerry told us, "Saying there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq doesn't make it so. As President, I will ask hard questions and demand hard evidence."
But, as Senator, you didn't. No questions asked: you just closed your eyes and voted for the lie. I know it, and you sure as hell know it.
And you mentioned a time or two tonight that you served your country. Got yourself a medal for it, too. I'm sorry, but shooting a Vietnamese teenager in the back who was defending his country doesn't make you a hero.
Yesterday, my buddy Michael Moore and I held a press conference in Boston. Some joker of a reporter asked Mr. Fahrenheit about Kerry's gung-ho keep'm-in-Baghdad position. Michael fudged and fidgeted. I felt bad for him as he faked the answer, "President Kerry would not have sent us to war." But as Senator, Kerry did.
I've got an easier job than Michael: as a journalist I don't have to defend any candidate. Nevertheless, I know that my Democratic Party friends will want to ship me to Guantanamo for asking, "You believe in Kerry, but does he believe in you?"
Remember, comrades, I'm only asking questions, here. I'm sorry if the answers make you uncomfortable about your favorite rich guy.
I know what you're going to say. "Isn't Bush worse?"
By a long shot. Asking if Kerry is as bad as Bush is like asking if a slap in the face is as painful as a brick to the skull.
But don't you get tired of being slapped around by privileged politicos on hypocrisy hyper-drive -- then having to applaud? It can't be pleasant, no matter how many pretty balloons they drop on your head.
Greg Palast will appear this Sunday on ABC TV, Channel 7 New York, at noon, with Gil Noble, "Like It Is." Noble will preview Palast's coming film, "Bush Family Fortunes," with music by Moby, available September 28 on DVD.
Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, 'The Best Democracy Money Can Buy' and 'Joker's Wild: George Bush's House of Cards' regime change deck.