Apparently, Mr. Kerry is right. Veterans are too stupid to understand that somebody in a wheelchair and wearing a bunch of medals -- regardless of political and social expertise, regardless of actual campaign promises, regardless of any real qualifications -- is actually a better choice than somebody with experience and a platform they can actually support.
Peter Roskam is running as a Republican, and his record shows a strong bent toward independent business interests, has voted fairly solidly for environmental concerns (without going to extremes), and had stood by most of his earlier campaign promises when he was elected to the IL state legislator. He has also presented his views on Iraq, on a strong national defense (it's not as if they were entirely separable...) and thereby garnered support from many vets who see defense as probably the primary issue of each election. His opponent, Tammy Duckworth, has no record and appears to have been following the throng of Democrats with their plans for surrender. She believes, according to the AP, that "invading Iraq was a mistake but, now that American troops are there, withdrawal should be tied to an aggressive training plan for Iraqi police and armed forces." (So, what are they doing there, right now, anyway? holding forth cotillion?)
The uproar over the VFW group's not standing behind Duckworth is being sold as a veterans' group betraying a disabled vet, instead of a PAC choosing a candidate based on their own enlightened self-interest. That's not going to cut it much longer.
"I'm one of you, you should vote for me!" does not a platform make. If I were told that my district had, as one option, an overweight, middle-aged, bipolar, asthmatic, moderately handicapped, cat-loving artist of moderate talent who was running on a "vote for me, I walk with a cane, and I like kitties, too!" campaign, and as the other option a 45-year-old man in fine health and with nearly twenty years of experience at actually getting things done in business or in politics... well, let's just say the kitties might glare at me for a day or two. When I vote, I'm looking for an advocate -- not a sister or a Mini-Me -- in Washington, Springfield, and City Hall.
The Democrats from top to bottom need to start relearning that, or they'll never regain the center votes.
And somebody there needs to cut back on the hypersensitivity, too. According to the last graf of the AP article,
Roskam has said the military needs to “finish well” in Iraq, and he caused a stir during a debate when he said the district wasn’t a “cut-and-run district” — something Duckworth supporters termed inappropriate because of the loss of her legs.That's just too much. He's talking policy, and they're all about hurt feelings over a commonly-used term. Crank down the touchy-feely a few notches, or you'll lose even more support. I know it pretty much killed the rest of Duckworth's arguments, for me. If she can't beat 'em in debate, crying, "Owie owie owie!" until mommy comes running doesn't instill much confidence that she can withstand the pressures of Congress and the public eye, where eventually no holds are barred.
(For the record, I'm not in the district these two are battling over. I've got Zinga and Hare to mull over. It's like choosing between a pet rock and a chicken bone for Christmas. Yeeesh.)