Tuesday, September 14, 2004


By William Fisher

Dear Senator Kerry:

I am a student of international affairs and a political news junkie. I have a pretty good idea of what’s going on in the world, so it’s not me I’m worried about.

It’s the American voter.

They’re getting snookered. They’re being misled – again. They’re being told that things are betting better in Iraq, when clearly they are getting worse. They’re being told we’re going after ‘terrorists’ in Iraq, when in fact we have created their largest and most successful recruiting office. They’re being told there will soon be elections in Afghanistan, yet not being told that the Bush Administration is failing to get the international community to fulfill its promises to protect the polling places. They’re still being told that there was a connection between Osama Bin Laden, Al Quaida, Saddam Hussein, and 9/11, when there is no credible evidence to back up that claim. They are being told that resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian issue is a high priority for the Bush Administration, when it has been on a distant back-burner for many months. And they are still being told that if we ‘stay the course’, freedom and democracy will magically start springing up all over the Middle East, when the truth is that America is so disrespected in that neighborhood that anything we touch is destined to go sour.

Senator, I don’t care what you did or did not do thirty-five years ago, and I don’t give a hoot if Lt. Bush never showed up for National Guard service. All of that is ancient history and a huge and dangerous distraction for those who will cast their ballots in November.

I know the ‘average’ American voter can’t afford to spend hours and weeks studying the issues. For better or worse, about all a politician can try to do is to get their attention. And, like it or not, that means using the fewest possible words to talk to the voters in a way that is direct, honest and, most important of all, unambiguous. Enough nuance: The voters aren’t getting it!

I know you’re in a tough spot, having voted to give the President the authority to take us to war. And then saying you would have done it again if you knew then what you know now. You’ve made your job tougher still by saying you’re going to ‘internationalize’ our effort in Iraq, when you must know that there is not the remotest chance this will happen.

What the American voter needs to know is what you would do now, in Iraq and elsewhere, and exactly your plan to get us out of the mess Mr. Bush got us into.
No one else can do this job. You wanted to be the candidate, and now you’re there. You are running in the most consequential election since the Great Depression. How it comes out will decide the direction of the United States for generations to come. Only you are in a position to influence the result.

You and your advisors need to figure out how to do that and how to do it now. Because it will soon be too late.