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Democrats: Got balls?


During the past week John Kerry’s campaign misfortune has been chewed over by all the usual suspects—who also served up advice for what Democrats must do in fielding a winning candidate. Clinton’s former labor Secretary Robert Reich claimed that technocratic policy talk needed to be eschewed in favor of the language of morality. The boys over at echoed a similar refrain, citing the importance of Gods, Guns, and Gays inside the national psyche


The boys over at echoed a similar refrain, citing the importance of Gods, Guns, and Gays inside the national psyche. Meanwhile Paul Krugman at The New York Times beat yet again that tired, old mule of how the Dems must more effectively rally their base.

Obviously at a loss, The Nation’s editors resorted to vague generalities about the need for politics of “conviction, passion, and substance.” Arianna Huffington mined the same platitudinous vein, declaring that a return to the “generosity of spirit” which characterized JFK and FDR was the order of day. And channeling a literary muse, Professor Camille Paglia, argued, with all due seriousness, that a humanist message delivered in “poetic” language was the key which might unlock the White House doors.

What a steaming load of horseshit.

What John Kerry needed, and what the Democrats horribly lack, are balls. The simple courage to hang the polls and tell the public the straight story. To give them their medicine, no matter how nasty it may taste at first. When things are “fucked up,” say so openly and not just to a Rolling Stone interviewer. If personally attacked, challenge the accusers immediately and forcefully with withering contempt. Temper that frankness with an ounce of self-deprecating humor, a dash of laughter at the expense of the sitting President and the national press Corps, and voila, you have a winning recipe.

For decades now the Democrats have been afflicted with an insidious disease I’ve come to call SWNS, or Sudden Withdrawal of Nutsack Syndrome. This nasty disorder not only finds a suitable host in politicians, but among professionals of all trades.

Last year actor Johnny Depp was felled by a serious case of SWNS following a conversation with the German magazine Stern (wherein he compared America to a broken toy and a dumb puppy with teeth). Showing up at a press conference several days later, a noticeably pale Depp, his register several octaves higher, delivered an apology and rebuttal of his reported comments, which he claimed were “taken out of context.” In John Kerry’s case, the disease took a strange course in that his ample nutsack (which swaggered so noticeably in the early 1970s) didn’t suddenly withdraw but was instead willingly handed over to castrated poll junkie Bob Shrum, who thought they looked better pickled in a jar on his nightstand.

SWNS is one affliction, though, that never seized John F. Kennedy, and the Democrats would be wise to rediscover, on a highly personal level, the balls of the 35th President, rather than continuing to invoke the intangible mythic dream of Camelot. If JFK were running for president today, he’d whip the public with one frank observation from the outset. America is FAT. And, with 60 percent of Uncle Sam’s brood now supersized, we are seriously jeopardizing the country’s future, while failing miserably in our responsibilities to the young.

Back in the early 1960s Kennedy was already fearful of how out-of-shape Americans had become, writing an eloquent essay for Sports Illustrated called “The Soft American” in which he detailed the growing crisis. As Commander-In-Chief, he tried to stem the flabby tide by furthering the development of the Presidents Council on Youth Fitness and championing physical education in the schools.

Needless to say, Jack would be horrified at today’s bloated state of affairs—having strongly believed that physical “fitness is the basis for all other forms of excellence” (including the prowess to make smart decisions on Election Day).

D.A. Blyler is the author of the novel Steffi’s Club. His essays have appeared at, The Korean Herald, Bangkok’s The Nation, and other international and online publications. A lecturer at Rajabhat University Rajanagarindra, he makes his home in Thailand. His latest novel can be purchased at



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