News Analysis

The Republican convention was filled with gaps and lies and the anti-Bush coalition should take note of them and not be demoralized by corporate media spin.

John Kerry came out swinging in Springfield, Ohio, at a midnight rally of more than 15,000 at the close of the GOP convention. Kerry challenged Bush and Cheney, calling them “unfit to lead” because they lied on Iraq, have not made the world safer, and have a dismal record on jobs, health care and energy.

The Republicans wrapped themselves in the tragic Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, offering the nation war, fear and division. They kept all their religious right-wingers and neo-conservatives off stage. They couldn’t trumpet Bush’s record on the economy and jobs, democratic, civil, immigrant and women’s rights, education and health care so they offered nonstop fear mongering and Kerry-bashing.

The Bush-Cheney campaign is very concerned about the impact of Michael Moore’s film, Fahrenheit 9/11, that exposed George W. Bush as a greedy and uncaring rich guy; a clueless commander in chief, sitting like a deer in the headlights in a Florida classroom for seven minutes Sept. 11, 2001, after he had been informed of the attacks; the lying, cheating member of the Bush dynasty who stole the 2000 election. They scrambled to recast his image as a “compassionate conservative” who can be trusted with the nation’s security.

Republican zealots weren’t at the podium, but they found an equally raving one in Democrat Zell Miller. His speech was so full of distortions and lies that even conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks admitted Miller “stretched the truth.”

In his acceptance speech, Bush did not mention Osama bin Laden. He did mention Saddam Hussein but he was silent on the fact that every reason he gave for the war was false. There was no connection between Iraq and Sept. 11. There was no imminent threat to the U.S. from Iraq and Hussein. There were no weapons of mass destruction. The torture at Abu Ghraib badly damaged Bush’s claim that the war is “bringing democracy” to Iraq.

Bush booster John McCain agreed with the Democrats on national security. The Democrats, he told the GOP convention, argue military force alone cannot end terrorism. International cooperation, better diplomacy, effective law enforcement, intelligence and methods to stop money laundering have to be employed. “We agree,” he said. But Bush has bungled every one of those goals.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the woman-groping “terminator,” made one of the most glaring convention gaffes when he scorned those who are pessimistic about the economy as “economic girlie men.”

Evidently, the 45 million people without health care coverage, the unemployed, underemployed or those working low-wage jobs — are all “girlie men.” The GOP elite cannot identify with struggling Americans so they belittle them. Almost nothing was said about top election issues such as jobs, health care, constitutional rights, women’s and civil rights, and getting the troops out of Iraq.

In his acceptance speech, Bush did pitch a domestic plan. He called for 7 million new homeowners and an “ownership society.” But home foreclosures are up. In hard hit Ohio, they shot up 26 percent last year as homeowners faced job loss, predatory loans or other hardships.

Without proposals for good jobs and health care Bush’s plan is hollow. But his threats to pass a flat tax, to make a permanent tax cut for the rich, and to private Social Security are very real. Those items, plus more wars and a possible draft, are in the making if Bush gets another four years.

The Republicans projected an air of invincibility, but they are highly vulnerable. The election will be won or lost in the trenches, through door-to-door work, neighborhood by neighborhood, workplace by workplace, and person to person. The more than half a million anti-Bush protesters who filled New York streets Aug. 29-Sept. 1 buoyed the election fight back and put the Republicans a bit off their game.

Kerry and John Edwards went on a Labor Day offensive. Huge crowds greeted them in rural and urban settings.

While Bush accepted his nomination, the AFL-CIO mobilized more than 15,000 union members to go door-to-door, reaching a million union households. Bob Schmetzer, 57, a union electrician from Beaver, Penn., took part in the neighborhood walks. He didn’t back up one bit from the Republican onslaught. “This is the most important election I’ve ever seen,” he said. “The group leading our country has really trashed the country.”

Everyday people are rising to history’s challenge to defeat the ultra-right Bush administration. Clever convention scripting is not deterring them.

Terrie Albano is editor of the People’s Weekly World and can be reached at talbano@pww.org.

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