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Jewish World Review July 30, 2004 / 12 Menachem-Av, 5764

Tom Purcell

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Explaining political conventions to Iraqis | "It's wonderful to see Iraq moving towards its own Democratic Republic!"

"Yes, we are very excited. In fact, this week we pay very close attention to the Democratic convention to learn more about how a Democratic Republic works."

"Oh, brother."

"Tell us, what is the purpose of the convention?"

"In the old days, delegates from every state would come together, debate their party's platform and determine who their presidential candidate would be. In the past, conventions were used to clarify what a party stood for. But now they are designed to conceal what the parties stand for."


"Look, here's how it works. Most Democrat and Republican voters have already made up their minds. Democrats hate President Bush and will vote for anyone to get him out of office. Republicans are terrified that a big-government Democrat will raise taxes and derail the war on terror, so they'll vote for Bush."


"At this point, then, the votes of Democrats and Republicans don't matter. Sure, both parties need to rouse their base and get them to vote, but what the parties are really after are the coveted independent voters."

"Independent voters?"

"Yes, the slackers who still haven't made up their minds. This election is so close that the independents will determine who the next president is. Both parties are bending over backwards to try to win their votes."

"And they try to appeal to these independent voters by speaking clearly about what their party and candidates stand for?"

"So na´ve. No, they do so by concealing what their party stands for. Democrats are pretending to be in favor of the military, they claim they'll wage a better war on terror, and they say their policies will help grow the economy and create more jobs."

"But Democrats have traditionally cut military spending, they have treated terrorism as a criminal offense and not as a war, and they favor higher taxes, which have never been known to grow the economy."

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"Now you're catching on. The fact is that the core of the Democratic party is comprised of environmentalists, trial lawyers, unions and so on, and these groups are keeping mum about what they really want to accomplish if Kerry makes it to the presidency."

"Very clever."

"The truth is Republicans are no different. They're trying to get the independents to vote for them, too. During their convention in August, they'll say they're for more spending on social programs and education and the issues that Democrats traditionally have stood for. To be sure, President Bush has spent billions on such programs, and Democrats still accuse him of being a right-wing Republican."

"So let me get this right. Conventions are where Democrats pretend to be Republicans and Republicans pretend to be Democrats?"

"For the most part."

"And conventions are where everyone pretends to really like each other and get along really well, with the hopes that they can get their guy into office and then push their real agendas?"


"And that is why everyone is bending over backwards to praise John Kerry, even though just a few months ago during the primaries they were pointing out his flaws and calling him a liberal and saying he wasn't fit to be commander in chief?"

"Bingo. It is also why hardly anyone watches the conventions anymore. Americans are smart enough to know when a bunch of highly paid political operatives are trying to pull the wool over their eyes."

"This information is all very interesting to the Iraqi people as we grapple with the concept of a Democratic Republic. On behalf of my people, I have just have one more question about the Democratic convention."

"Go on."

"We watched speech by Ted Kennedy the other night and found it very entertaining. Tell me, is Ted Kennedy a highly skilled comedian hired to provide comic relief?"

"Yes, that is correct."

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© 2004 Tom Purcell