In last night’s speech, John Kerry failed to take my advice that he distance himself from Michael Moore. Perhaps he thinks that Dale Earnhardt’s support of Moore means that Moore’s message plays well in middle America. In any event Kerry seems to be following Moore’s advice.
Here’s an excerpt from Moore’s July 26 speech in Cambridge:

The Democratic Party of 2004 is not the Democratic Party of 2000. The threat that you posed in 2000, they got the message. And it was carried on by Howard dean and Dennis Kucinich and others in this year. And they helped push the Democrats toward where the majority of Americans that liberal progressive majority, is at.
You did a great thing and now, they are in a better place. You have to admit that. Even Al Gore of 2004 isn’t the Al Gore of 2000. He’s moved! And all you have to do, if you think the Democrats this year are the same as the democrats four years ago, ask yourself this question. Do you think john Kerry will ask Bill Clinton not to campaign in Arkansas for him? Hum? I don’t think so. So my appeal to the Nader voters, to the greens out there, is that we have a different job to do this year….
I think that when it comes to that day people will know what to do. But I would not have the Democrats spending any time attacking Ralph Nader. All right? That is the wrong way to go. What the Democrats should be doing, and I have heard Kerry say this, is we need to give, we need to give those who are thinking of voting for Ralph Nader, a reason to vote for John Kerry. That is the right answer.
When I was in Cannes with the movie, I showed it to the American students whose were working there. There were about 200 of them. At the end of the movie, I asked them, let me just ask you a question, how many of you are college-aged student, how many of you are thinking for Ralph Nader? Nearly had a lot of them raised their hand. I invited Kerry’s daughter, Alexandra, to come and sit in the back. They didn’t know she was there. And she witnessed this. And we went out to lunch afterwards and she was shocked. How could they, after watching this movie, for two hours, with the message of the movie that seems to be that Bush must go, that nearly half of them would say they are still considering voting for Ralph Nader?
I think I saw one poll recently that said 12% of 18-25-year-olds are planning on voting for Ralph Nader. And I said to her, I said you have to tell your dad that, you know, because they, some of the kids that gave their reasons and they spoke with all that great honesty that comes out of an 18 or a 19-year old. Right? Because there’s [beep] right? When you are 18 and 19. And they call you on it really quickly. I said you need to tell your dad that the way to deal with this is to take the strong stand that needs to be taken. The majority of Americans are already with you. Don’t be afraid. Speak out on these issues. Speak out about health care in the right way. Don’t put ads on TV that say we will provide health care for nearly all Americans. Don’t do that. Stand up for something. Don’t be afraid. Don’t try to be the hamburger version of the Republican Party. And I think he got that message. And I think that from what I’ve heard in recent weeks, I got to say this and I’ve said this to everybody here who’s been asking me about the war.
One thing I do know about Kerry, he will not invade a country like George W. Bush did. I believe in my heart of hearts ? that this man, because you know, when you have been shot three times and you have been in that situation and you know this ? if you have family members whose have been to war, if you have parents who were in World war II, my dad always says to me, he was in the Marines in the south pacific and he said, you know, if you have been there, you never want to see anybody else go there. And you want it to be the last resort. And so in my heart, I trust that when he says that. In closing, I just want to thank you for everything that everyone here has done. We are all in the same boat together….
I am glad these rallies are taking place, because, you know, I don’t know how the press will write about these gatherings of these rallies…. This is not a niche of the Democratic Party. The things that the people in this room believe in is where the American public is at. Especially where I believe a large chunk of that 50%, that non-voting public, is at. And it’s going to be our job to get them out on November 2 and that’s what we are all going to do. Thank you very much for being here. Thank you.

Now for some comparisons.

One thing I do know about Kerry, he will not invade a country like George W. Bush did.


I will bring back this nation’s time-honored tradition: the United States of America never goes to war because we want to, we only go to war because we have to.
…..And on my first day in office, I will send a message to every man and woman in our armed forces: You will never be asked to fight a war without a plan to win the peace.
….. I know what we have to do in Iraq. We need a president who has the credibility to bring our allies to our side and share the burden, reduce the cost to American taxpayers, and reduce the risk to American soldiers. That’s the right way to get the job done and bring our troops home.
…..Here is the reality: that won’t happen until we have a president who restores America’s respect and leadership – so we don’t have to go it alone in the world.

Here’s Kerry on the American flag:

That flag doesn’t belong to any president. It doesn’t belong to any ideology and it doesn’t belong to any political party. It belongs to all the American people.

Well, who said it belonged to any president, political party or ideology? Michael Moore, that’s who!

I don’t know what it is with right-wingers and Republicans. They seem to have hijacked over the years the word “patriotism”, the American flag, these things.

Similar statements were voiced earlier by Moore:

For too long now we have abandoned our flag to those who see it as a symbol of war and dominance, as a way to crush dissent at home. Flags are flying from the back of SUVs, rising high above car dealerships, plastering the windows of businesses and adorning paper bags from fast-food restaurants. But these flags are intended to send a message: “You’re either with us or you’re against us,” “Bring it on!” or “Watch what you say, watch what you do.”

I honestly can’t recall Republicans or war supporters ever saying that the flag belonged only to their president, their party, or war supporters. Flying the flag became very popular after September 11, and while flag waving did wane, neither Kerry nor Moore (who’s really the champion of this idea) have shown that this happened because Republicans “hijacked” it. Surely they’re not suggesting that Republicans made network correspondents stop wearing flag lapel pins, are they?
Then there’s the Kerry-Moore Saudi theme.

I want an America that relies on its own ingenuity and innovation, not the Saudi royal family.

I too want a self reliant America, but does the country really rely on the Saudi royal family? Michael Moore thinks the Saudis control the Bush administration, somehow via bin Laden (even though he’s waging war against the Saudi royal family).
The fact is, Saudi oil accounts for only nine percent of American oil consumption. Hardly control.
What gives here? Another thinly disguised jab at Osama Bush?
Might Kerry have been listening to Moore’s pronouncements about Saudi and Disney? Again, Moore:

You know the old saying that the rich man will sell you the rope to hang yourself with if he can make a dollar off it? That will eventually be their undoing. But this time it didn’t happen. This time a film made for a very small amount of money that will now make, you know, at least a quarter billion dollars around the world by the time it’s done, the greed didn’t motivate them to release this film. I couldn’t figure it out for the longest time and it took a Canadian journalist to finally do the story and thank god for the Canadians, you know?… The Canadians really do like us. They just wish we would read a little more and ? but it took a Canadian journalist to write that perhaps one of the problems that Mr. Moore had with Disney is the fact that the Saudi world family owns almost 17% of Euro-Disney. And that in 1994, Prince Walid, one of the richest men in the world, and a member of the Saudi Royal Family, wrote Michael Eisner and Disney a check for over $300 million to bail out Euro-Disney. And the people that helped put the thing together to bring the two together was a company called the Carlyle group.

I know this craziness goes in circles, but why would the “Saudi-controlled” Miramax underwrite the film in the first place?
There are so many contradictions inherent in Moore’s Saudi conspiracy claims that (hardly a bastion of Bush support) posed a few good questions:

The stated implication is that Bush is more loyal to the Saudis than he is to America.
Huh? Here are some questions for Moore: If Bush is so ?in the pocket? of Saudi Arabia, why is he Ariel Sharon?s strongest backer? Why, when he had Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah down at the Texas ranch a few years ago, did he flip off the Saudi?s peace plan? And most important, why did he invade Iraq?since Saudi Arabia was strongly opposed to the U.S. invasion of Iraq? Why did he launch his Iraqi adventure over Saudi objections, with many of his advisers chortling that Saudi Arabia would be ?next?? Why did he stock his administration with militant neocon crusaders who see Saudi Arabia as the main enemy? Why, Michael?

I won’t hold my breath for answers from Moore. He’s one of those guys who sees his beliefs confirmed by anything that happens.
John Kerry loves to invoke the boat as a grand metaphor:

I learned a lot about these values on that gunboat patrolling the Mekong Delta with young Americans who came from places as different as Iowa and Oregon, Arkansas, Florida and California. No one cared where we went to school. No one cared about our race or our backgrounds. We were literally all in the same boat. We looked out, one for the other and we still do.
That is the kind of America I will lead as President: an America where we are all in the same boat.

Compare with Moore’s closing remark about Kerry:

if you have family members whose have been to war, if you have parents who were in World war II, my dad always says to me, he was in the Marines in the south pacific and he said, you know, if you have been there, you never want to see anybody else go there. And you want it to be the last resort. And so in my heart, I trust that when he says that. In closing, I just want to thank you for everything that everyone here has done. We are all in the same boat together

Are Kerry and Moore in the same boat? I have a sinking feeling that they are.
UPDATE: Arnold Kling puzzles over Kerry’s new isolationism, which of course constitutes a policy flip-flop on Kosovo and Haiti. (Via Glenn Reynolds.) Well, here, from 1999, is Moore on Kosovo:

Now, it is time for all of us to stop Clinton and his disgusting, hypocritical fellow democrats who support him in this war. It is amazing to watch all these “liberal” congress members line up behind the President. In a way, I’m glad it’s happening, if only to show the American people there is little difference between the Democrats and the usually war-loving Republicans.

Things are different now. The party (and Kerry) have moved to Moore’s way of thinking. I don’t think Kerry has to formally hire Moore as a foreign policy consultant to prove it, either.
MORE: Moore-Kerry linkage in this video.
EVEN MORE: If it seems unbelievable that Senator Kerry might take foreign policy advice from his daughter via Michael Moore, consider this Newsmax report:

Alexandra Thorne Kerry was just 16 years old when she persuaded her father to vote against the first Gulf War.

Newsmax lists as their source a 1996 interview by the Boston Globe of Alexandra’s mother, Peggy Kerry.
If it’s true, Alexandra would seem to have a real influence on her dad’s foreign policy.
Which means Michael Moore might very well be right about Kerry getting the message.