Short on Ideas, Long on Spite

In case anyone doubted Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie when he said:

. . . I think history will show that this field has taken presidential discourse to a new low. . . . The kind of words we’re hearing now from the Democratic candidates go beyond political debate. This is political hate speech. And I think that the American people will reject that approach. They appreciate the president’s strong and principled leadership and the fact that he has a positive agenda, and they have, frankly, nothing but negativity and pessimism and protest to offer. (NBC’s “Meet the Press,” September 7, 2003)

check out a few of the more recent examples from the past week.

September 4, 2003:
Democratic Debate Sponsored by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus

SEN. JOHN KERRY (Mass): What we know now is that being flown to an aircraft carrier and pronouncing the words, “mission accomplished,” does not end a war. And the swagger of a president who says, “Bring them on,” does not bring our troops peace or safety.

REP. DICK GEPHARDT (Mo.): This president is a miserable failure. He is a miserable failure.

GEPHARDT: This president doesn’t get it. He’s a unilateralist. He thinks he knows all the answers. He doesn’t respect others.

GEPHARDT: [T]his president has to lead, and he is not leading. He’s a miserable failure on this issue, and he must be replaced in the election.

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (S.C.): Well, you know, the president goes around the country speaking Spanish. The only Spanish he speaks when it comes to jobs is, “Hasta la vista.”

EDWARDS: [W]e need to stop President Bush’s war on work.

KERRY: [G]ood things happen when George Bush is on vacation, folks. In fact, I think the only jobs created in the United States of America by George Bush are the nine of us running for president of the United States.

KERRY: I think it would be wonderful to have a president of the United States who could find the rest of the countries in this hemisphere.

GEPHARDT: This president is a miserable failure on foreign policy and on the economy.

GEPHARDT: Why would we want to keep anything of the Bush tax plan? It’s a miserable failure.

HOWARD DEAN: [I]mmigration is a hot topic because people, like the president, use code words like “quotas” to try to frighten people into thinking they’re going to lose their jobs to somebody who is a member of the minority community. And for that reason alone, the president ought to go back to Crawford, Texas, with a one-way bus ticket.

September 8, 2003:
Democratic Candidates’ Remarks to the Service Employees International Union Conference

EDWARDS: You know, I used to think things were bad when George Bush the first, was president. This George Bush is making his father look good, isn’t he?

EDWARDS: I was asked the other day, “Senator, don’t you think that George W. Bush has been bought and sold by big corporate America?” I said, “No, I don’t think they had to buy him.”

KERRY: I was thinking as I came in here today that the only jobs that George Bush has created in this country are the nine of us running for president of the United States.

KERRY: I’ll tell you what, the people that I meet across America don’t just find themselves angry about trickle-down economics; they’re tired of being trickled on by George W. Bush.

KERRY: I’ll tell you a story, 5,000 years ago, Moses said, “Hitch up your camel, lift up your shovel, mount your ass, I will lead you to the Promised Land.” Five thousand years later, FDR said, “Light up a Camel, lay down your shovel, sit on your a**, this is the Promised Land.” Today, George W. Bush will lay off your camel, tax your shovel, kick your a**, and tell you there is no Promised Land.

KERRY: [T]he one person in the United States of America who deserves to be laid off is George W. Bush, and we’re going to do it.

KERRY: This president lives out a creed of greed. . . .

KERRY: We’ve been misled, we’ve not been told the truth and we deserve a president of the United States who knows the meaning of the words “last resort” and tells the American people the truth.

CAROL MOSELEY BRAUN: And so while the thieves at Enron and WorldCom and Global Crossing took this money and ran — by the way, with this tap and a wink and a nod from their pals in the White House, I might add.

DEAN: This president has declared war on working and middle-class people in this country.

DEAN: This president used the word “quota” five or six times on the evening news when he was talking about the University of Michigan affirmative action program. The University of Michigan has never had a quota system, even the most conservative Supreme Court since the Dredd Scott decision didn’t agree with him on that one. But every politician in America knows, and every pollster knows, that the word “quota” is a race-loaded word that is designed to frighten people into thinking that they may lose their job or their place in university to a member of a minority community. This president played the race card, and for that alone he deserves to go back to Crawford, Texas.

GEPHARDT: This president is the worst president of the five that I have served with. He must be replaced. He’s doing a terrible job. He’s wrecking the country. He’s a miserable failure. He’s a miserable failure.

GEPHARDT: This president has declared war on the middle class. He’s declared war on working people. He’s declared war on labor unions. He doesn’t care about what’s happening to people in this country.

GEPHARDT: This is a disaster, folks. He’s got to go. He’s a miserable failure.

GEPHARDT: This president, and I’ll say it again, is a miserable failure. You can go to my new Web site,

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (Conn.): And I got to tell you, the nightmare of George W. Bush’s presidency is a lot worse than even Al Gore and I warned. We’ve got to deny these folks a second term in the White House.

SHARPTON: Well, I come to tell you tonight that this president has given working-class people a bad check, and it has not been returned marked insufficient funds . . . it’s been returned marked stop payment.

September 9, 2003:
Democratic Debate Sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus and Fox News

SHARPTON: And what they have attacked is the civil liberties of Americans. What has changed with the PATRIOT Act and the Anti-Terrorist Act is the liberties of Americans are now under attack, not the terrorists that did such a vicious and despicable act.

DEAN: We cannot lose the peace in Iraq. . . . This is a battle for terrorism all right. It’s a battle that was created by the president of the United States who ignored the greater danger in Iran and North Korea and Al Qaida at home to do it.

KERRY: This president has turned his back on 200 years of tradition of our country in foreign policy. . . . And it’s extraordinary, it’s an act of negligence of remarkable proportions, because this president began this war on his schedule.

SEN. BOB GRAHAM (Fla.): We cannot trust this president with a blank check.

GEPHARDT: This president’s foreign policy is a miserable failure. He has failed the American people…

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (Ohio): [T]he president misled the nation.

GRAHAM: Yes [the president intentionally misled the American people].

MOSELEY BRAUN: You know, strength in the war on terrorism is not represented by bravura and bullying and striding around the world stage pushing people around. It’s not represented by the kind of showing off that we’ve seen. . . .

REV. AL SHARPTON: . . . I would not act like a gang leader like George Bush did saying, “Let’s get on,” when I got troops on the ground.

GEPHARDT: Well, first, I think we’ve got to ask a question and that is how many Americans have to lose their jobs before George Bush loses his?

LIEBERMAN: George Bush is the most fiscally irresponsible president in the history of the United States of America.

LIEBERMAN: No community has suffered more from the fiscal irresponsibility of George W. Bush than the African-American community. Hey, it began before he was president in the denial his team carried out in Florida for African-American voters who were trying to go to the polls and help elect Al Gore and me.

EDWARDS: Here’s what we ought to do, we ought to go over to the White House and hang a big warning sign on the door of the White House that says, “This president is hazardous to your health.” That’s what we ought to do.

SHARPTON: [President Bush] talks about loving the troops. He loves them when they’re on the battlefield. But when they come home, he doesn’t love them.

MOSELEY BRAUN: This administration, on the other hand, has pandered to fear and frightened the American people at every turn.

DEAN: [T]he president of the United States essentially played the race card when he used the word quota to describe the University of Michigan affirmative action program. And for that reason alone, he deserves a one-way bus ticket back to Crawford, Texas.

SHARPTON: We are witnessing a nonmilitary civil war. It started with the recount in Florida, it went to the redistricting in Texas, now it’s the recount in California. From the recounting of the votes to the redistricting to the recall, it’s a rejection of the American people.

KERRY: This is the biggest say-one-thing-do-another administration in all time. The president says one thing about children, does another, one thing about taxes, does another, about housing, about the war, about — goes to Goree Island, spends a few minutes, behaves like Abraham Lincoln, goes to South Carolina, behaves like Jefferson Davis on the Confederate flag.

DEAN: And in the two and a half years into this presidency, you would be hard-pressed to find a majority in any country in the world where people wanted to be like Americans again.

LIEBERMAN: In 2000, Al Gore and I went all around this country and warned the American people about George W. Bush. . . . Let’s be honest about this, the presidency of Bush has been a worse nightmare than even Al and I warned America about.