When I recently looked into my crystal ball, trembling as I was from the scare tactics, I still saw the same smirk I saw when I made my prediction back in the spring. That's when I likened the presidental campaign to the most famous horse race in the world, the Kentucky Derby. In that column, I said Bush would win nationally by a nose, a very long one, a la Pinnochio. In Kentucky, he will lap the Democrat.
I'm really not that confident of my pick because I think a lot of the unwashed and unpolled masses - the cell phone generation of youngsters whom pollsters cannot reach - will go for Democrat John Kerry. But, in the name of consistency and stubbornness, I'll stick with "W."
This election is supposed to turn on what that group of fence-straddlers do. Those are the proudly indecisive folks known as the "undecided" that the media treat with way too much attention and respect. But, in addition to the unpolled kids out there, I think the election will also turn not on what the "undecided" do but on what the uninspired do at the last minute. Sure, there are a lot of people who passionately hate Bush and an equal number who passionately love him, but there are many of us who have decided to vote for either man but do so with "lesser of two evils" enthusiasm.
I am one of the many uninspired. Sure, I have decided to vote for Kerry, but mainly because he is not Bush. For all of his articulateness, suaveness, debating skills and command of the facts, as fed to him by his handlers, Kerry is really an empty Brooks Brothers. To check out his unimpressive record after nearly 20 years in the U.S. Senate, you need a microscope. He's known much more for the millions he has married - twice - than the important legislation he has authored.
And the efforts of this upper crust elitist to reach out to us poor, dumb folk have been laughable.
Kerry, a man who represents a party which regularly supports the separation of church and state and blasts evangelical Christians for trying to establish a theocracy, recently has been seen preying for votes in black churches. Funny how these white liberals only darken the doors of black churches every presidential election year.
Kerry, a man who represents a party which regularly likens gun owners to red necks in pickup trucks, recently was spotted in a borrowed camouflage outfit at a store asking, "Can I buy me a hunting license here?" I needed to get me a spoon with which to gag myself.
But I'm buying Kerry over Bush because at least there is hope that somewhere between the flips and the flops will be a foreign policy whose first resort is not war and a domestic policy whose first beneficiary is not big business. There is something about Iraq that triggers something in the Bush men that defines their presidencies. And, if Jeb Bush follows brother "W" and daddy George H.W., I don't doubt that he will find some reason to go into Iraq. That country has become the Bush boys' b-word.
* U.S. Senator - Republican incumbent Jim Bunning.
Remember that microscope I used to look at Kerry's record? I need it for the Bunning record also. Bunning is like Kerry in another way: he is the junior senator in a state where the senior senator - Mitch McConnell in Kentucky and Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts - does all the action, gets all the publicity and sucks up all the political oxygen.