Breitweiser for V.P.

Breitweiser for V.P. March 4, 2004

One of the main attributes John Kerry should be looking for in a running mate should be the tenacity and courage to stand up to President Bush and fight for the public. Kerry also needs someone who will be perceived as "tough" on national security in a post-9/11 world.

I recommend Kristen Breitweiser, a New Jersey "housewife" whose husband Ronald was killed at the World Trade Center. With little formal power, she has battled the full force of the Bush White House for more than two years — and I don't think anyone would dare tell her she was "soft" on terrorism.

Plus, hey, it's been 20 years since there's been a woman on the ticket.

The downside — apart from New Jersey not being a swing state — is that Breitweiser would be unlikely to accept the offer. Although the post would grant her a platform from which she might finally be able to get some answers, she's adamantly opposed to the politicization of what happened on Sept. 11, 2001.

Here, for instance, is what she told Salon's Eric Boehlert in response to reports that the Republican Convention in New York City might stage some of its events at Ground Zero:

It's totally inappropriate. … The president won't testify before the entire 9/11 commission, he won't testify under oath, and he fought the creation of the commission for one year. So for him to have the audacity to even think of going to Ground Zero is absolutely deplorable. That's sacred ground. That's solemn, holy ground where my husband and 3,000 others were murdered. It doesn't belong to politics.

One can only imagine her response, then, to President Bush's new advertising blitz which, The New York Times' Jim Rutenberg reports, includes lots of imagery from the terrorist attacks:

Three of the four commercials unveiled feature images of the smoldering and charred shell of the World Trade Center still standing; one also shows firefighters emerging from the wreckage carrying a stretcher draped with an American flag, presumably covering remains.

Calpundit has the video, you can watch the ads for yourself here.

It seems like the Bush administration is actually embracing some of the proposed slogans from TBogg's recent contest, such as Curt Marwitz's suggestion:

"Bush & Cheney: Keeping America Terrorist-Free Since Sept. 12, 2001"

Or this from Rogue Planet:

"Bush/Cheney, Keeping Us Safe: Terrorists will not attack us and kill 2800 innocent people on our soil and destroy the WTC and smash the Pentagon more than once on our watch!"

I realize that by this point I shouldn't still be surprised, appalled and flummoxed by the way the Bush administration embraces its most horrific failure as its proudest success, but, well, I'm still surprised, appalled and flummoxed.

As David Pototari, co-director of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, says to Salon's Boehlert:

"It's a symbol of failure. … The president is charged with defending this country, and literally nothing was done during the two hours of attack to defend the county. I've never been able to understand how Republicans have turned this tragedy into a victory."

The good news, Philip Shenon reports in The New York Times, is that the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States is not meekly accepting the president's attempted brush-off:

The independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks is refusing to accept strict conditions from the White House for interviews with President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney and is renewing its request that Mr. Bush's national security adviser testify in public, commission members said Tuesday.

The panel members, interviewed after a private meeting on Tuesday, said the commission had decided for now to reject a White House request that the interview with Mr. Bush be limited to one hour and that the questioners be only the panel's chairman and vice chairman.

Shenon also reports, however, that:

Commission officials said that if the White House continued to insist on limitations on the interviews with Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, there might be little that the panel could do to force the issue and that the commission might have to accept the White House's terms.

Little they can do? The panel needs to realize that it has at its disposal enormous moral clout. Media in this country may be corporatized, incurious and lazy, but we still have a free press and if this panel wanted to make some noise, by God, it could really make some noise.

If the panel wants to force the issue, all it needs is a telephone, a microphone or a megaphone and the judicious use of a few of the following key phrases: "shirking"; "stonewalling"; "uncooperative"; "refusal to answer"; "acts like he has something to hide"; "has us wondering what it is he's afraid to talk about."

That would force the issue nicely. As another 9/11 widow, Lori Van Auken, tells Boehlert:

If you're proud of your actions, you explain what happened. … If you're not proud, you do it behind closed doors with two commissioners for one hour.

All of which brings us to today's question:

The Family Steering Committee of the 9/11 Independent Commission would like to ask President Bush:

Is it normal procedure for the Director of the White House Situation Room to travel with you? If so, please cite any prior examples of when this occurred. If not normal procedure, please explain the circumstances that led to the Director of the White House Situation Room being asked to accompany you to Florida during the week of September 11.

(As I said, some of the FSC's questions are rather provocative. They're trying, you see, to "force the issue.")

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  • Kevin Carson

    You’re right on about the panel making some noise. If they wanted to, they could bend George Bush over and make him squeal like a pig.
    The chickenshit union where I work is always telling me that something or other is a “management prerogative,” and “not a bargaining issue”: “We can’t do anything about it.”
    Well, they might not be able to do anything about it officially. But they could unofficially, sure as hell. All the local president would have to do is say, “Look. I know this technically falls under your prerogatives, and you don’t have to deal with us on it. But you need our good will. And if you don’t play ball with us on this, you won’t have our good will in the future. The next time you really need something from us, we’ll fuck you with everything we’ve got because of this.”
    More generally speaking, the power to generate bad publicity is seldom used as effectively as it could be. Imagine, for example, if all the GOP congressmen who objected to the extortionate tactics of Tom “The Hammer” Delay were to form a GOP anti-hammer caucus, and held a Capitol Hill press conference every time Delay tried strongarm tactics on him. Imagine if they started showing up for town hall meetings in the cities of his own district, and issuing press releases to the local newspapers–or maybe doing a direct mail campaign in his district. That greasy, creepy, red-faced goon would soon be crying for his mama.

  • Luke Francl

    It seems Bush-Cheney might really catch hell for these ads. Combined with stonewalling the 9/11 commission, it’s just inexcusable.
    BushOut.TV has collected comments about the ads from the left, right, and mainstream media if you’re interested in more commentary on the ads.

  • Isabeau

    Terrorism-free except for the domestic wackos with the cyanide bombs.
    But then they’re probably Republicans.

  • Grave mistake 2

    Seems some of the families of victims aren’t too pleased with President using images of 9/11 in his reelection advertisements either: “It’s a slap in the face of the murders of 3,000 people,” Monica Gabrielle, whose husband died in the…

  • Daddy-O

    Mr. Slacktivist, you are my favorite writer blogging on the Internet today.
    But the title of this thread just scared the bejesus outta me. I must be taking this whole Kerry-VP thing way too seriously. But I am.
    Off-topic completely, I have this to share:
    “God told me to smite him. And I smote him.”
    –George W. Bush, speaking about Saddam Hussein, to Mahmoud Abbas in 2003
    Ashcroft Hospitalized With Pancreatitis
    ha ha

  • mark

    hey daddy-o
    Ashcroft Hospitalized With Pancreatitis
    ha ha
    GET REAL, idiot.

  • Daddy-O

    Why don’t you tell me exactly what it was about my comment that made you call me an idiot, mark?
    Let me preface any answer you might give by saying one thing: If Ashcroft were dead or dying, I wouldn’t have thought the irony of the events amusing. Since he’s going to be back on his feet any day now, and even Saddam wasn’t killed when Bush “smote” him, I found real humor in the exposition of the religious insanity rampant in the Bush Administration, top to friggin’ bottom.
    That said, it appears I’ve rubbed more than one person the wrong way with this joke.
    Looking forward to your answer.