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May 06, 2005

Kerry 08 Can Wait

James Joyner gets Kerry's problem right:

Clinton has shrewdly focused on her Senate duties first, not only building chits within her party but demonstrating that she was more than a show pony. Kerry would be wise to do the same if he wants another shot at the brass ring.

Kerry's problems, unfortunately, are innate. His every action comes across as that of a striver, a comer, an opportunist. It's not just that he lacks the effortless ascendence of yesteryear's wasp's and aristocrats, but he's also missing the self-evident social consciousness that distinguishes do-gooders. So when our inboxes fill up with his proposals to extend health care to the young or increase military pay, they seem less the ideas of a committed reformer and more a pre-plotted path Kerry's hoping will lead him to the White House. That's not his fault, at least in a conscious sense. I've no doubt Kerry does care for children, veterans, and society's least and needy, but his pre-2004 lack of distinguishing domestic initiatives makes the sudden swarm of Ted Kennedy-esque programs seem more than inauthentic, it makes them appear calculated.

I like John Kerry. I think he would've been a great president. But he was never a very good campaigner. Triumphing in Massachusetts doesn't quite transfer to other areas of the country, and his efforts during the presidential campaign, aside from the debates, were more competent than inspiring. But his new strategy, campaign straight from one election to the next, is actually making him look worse, not better. If he wants to stand out, he's going to have to pass some legislation, take some brave but unpopular stands, or dominate a pressing issue. The constant e-mails and ADD-fueled policy shop, however, are actually hurting his chances.

Update: Hiya Slate/Note folks. Beer's in the fridge, chips are on the table.

May 6, 2005 | Permalink


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More Kerry DLC-ish posturing instead of leading:

Democrats' platform shouldn't back gay marriage, Kerry says
By Rick Klein, [Boston] Globe Staff | May 6, 2005

BATON ROUGE, La. -- US Senator John F. Kerry said yesterday that he believes it's a mistake for the Massachusetts Democratic Party to include a plank in its official platform in support of same-sex marriage, saying that such a statement does not conform with the broad views of party members.

Kerry, who opposes same-sex marriage but supports civil unions, said in an interview with the Globe that he would prefer that the party not mention gay marriage in its platform, because Democrats continue to disagree on how to handle the issue.

"I'm opposed to it being in a platform. I think it's a mistake," ..."I think it's the wrong thing, and I'm not sure it reflects the broad view of the Democratic Party in our state."

Boston Globe


He says this in Baton Rouge, but not in Boston or NYC.

Yeah, he was for gay civil equality before he was against gay civil equality. Sounds sort of like his position on Iraq.

Kerry is dead meat, IMO.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | May 6, 2005 3:16:34 PM

I basically agree. But let's encourage Kerry, since that way Hillary will focus on him as her biggest obstacle, allowing one of the other D candidates (one that has a better chance of winning) to outflank them both.

Posted by: Duck Bill Platypus | May 6, 2005 3:26:14 PM

Kerry should follow Ted Kennedy's lead and distinguish himself as an elder statesman.

Posted by: fasteddie | May 6, 2005 4:16:32 PM

Duck Bill, good idea. Edwards could use having both of them in the race, since he's the real deal, and they're not.

Posted by: Drfranklives | May 6, 2005 4:21:04 PM

Maybe instead of encouraging either Kerry or Sen. Clinton we should consider a D candidate who might actually have a chance with a large portion of the electorate? Sure, that's pretty much an imaginary figure right now, but that doesn't mean he or she isn't out there.

Kerry will flounder horribly next time around, especially since he's still running an anti-bush campaign. Unless Jeb steps up, '08 will not be won on an anti-Bush push.

I love Sen. Clinton, would love to see her as president, and would do almost anything to see that happen. Unfortunately, a lot of people in this country not only don't love her - they hate her. They hate her with the kind of vitriol usually reserved for the Yankees and deposed despots with a lot of shoes. While she could win the nomination, I'm not sure she can win the election.

The best thing either of them can do to win a Democratic presidency is help us find someone else.

Posted by: Brew | May 6, 2005 4:40:06 PM

Dean wasn't even an asterisk at this point four years ago, and there's still no reason to even discuss who the Democratic candidate is as long as Diebold's counting the votes. This is a fun parlor game, but seriously, folks.

Posted by: Kimmitt | May 6, 2005 5:55:27 PM

I don't know that Hillary unelectable to a sizable majority of the country. I could certainly be persuaded to support Hillary (unless the Republicans ran Guiliani, then he's my guy.) I can't see myself ever voting for Kerry or Edwards (Bresden is another possibility though)

I am pretty conservative on most issues, but number one for me is the war on terror. Hillary strikes me as being tough enough to lead the country in that effort, and although I disprove of many of her other positions I wouldn't worry about them too much. I like the idea of a split between control of the White House hand Congress anyway.

What I won't compromise one is a leader of the executive who is able and willing to act forcefully when needed. Hillary strikes me as that type of person. I expect that a lot of people share my view in that, people who voted for Bush last time around.

Posted by: Dave Justus | May 6, 2005 5:57:27 PM

I am pretty conservative on most issues, but number one for me is the war on terror. Hillary strikes me as being tough enough to lead the country in that effort, and although I disprove of many of her other positions I wouldn't worry about them too much.

Dave, I've had this conversation with people (including Ezra) before, and I think you're on target. If you were Bin Laden, is there a single person on earth you'd rather have as a blood enemy less than Hillary Clinton?

"Clinton '08: Just Look What She Did To Vince Foster!"

Posted by: Daniel A. Munz | May 6, 2005 7:12:22 PM

"Maybe instead of encouraging either Kerry or Sen. Clinton we should consider a D candidate who might actually have a chance with a large portion of the electorate? Sure, that's pretty much an imaginary figure right now, but that doesn't mean he or she isn't out there."

Brew, I think that person is out there - Wesley Clark. While everybody was fawning over Edwards' primary win in his birth state of SC, there seemed to be a collective effort to ignore Clark's second place finish in NH and win in OK.

The national security credentials are there, the cut-and-paste and ellipsis orgy his opposition had with his writings and Congressional testimony notwithstanding. And he's similar in position on most issues to both HRC and Kerry.

Posted by: Lewis Carroll | May 6, 2005 9:22:36 PM

Kerry was an awkward patrician because he was a middle class kid who got a good education and married money. W is a patrician who does a much better job of faking bubbahood. However, W isn't running the next time around. At best we can hope to hang W around the GOP candidates neck -- sorry it won't be Sen. Frist.

I would hate to see HRC run because I can't bear to listen to them beat her up any more. On the other hand she does continue to lead "most admired woman" polls, has a strong following within the party, and is a known commodity. There are no skeletons in her closet, because everything in her closet was emptied out on the lawn for the whole world to see. She's as clean as she can be and even truly religious unlike the pseudo-religion of Fearless Leader. Besides, people who know them say that Bill's telling the truth when he says she's the smarter one.

Jeb won't run. He's a Catholic with a rumored zipper problem. The fundies don't trust the RC and the RC shouldn't trust the fundies.

Posted by: J Bean | May 6, 2005 9:38:43 PM

The rhetoric sucks. "War on Terror". "War on Drugs". Repug propaganda so effective it's taken over. Wake up. Options and original thinking might even give J.Q.Public the idea there are people out there with worthwhile ideas...not just slogans and rehash.

Posted by: opit | May 7, 2005 12:33:54 AM

Kerry - Could someone resurrect Andy Warhol and get him to tell Kerry that his 15 minutes are over. If he does try to run against Hillary expect all sorts of embarassing things to be revealed (including why he still hasn't signed his 180).

Hillary at war - I can't stand the woman but I think she would be an effective war leader, I certainly wouldn't want to be uner her control.

Hillary's electability - limited, very limited. Nothing will energise conservatives more than having Hillary to vote against. I also think she'll struggle in the Great Lake states among traditional Dem voters.

Dems best candidate - I've come to think of this being some sort of Red state combination - one of Bayh, Salazar, Lincoln and Landrieu together with one of Brederson, Richardson, Schweitzer and Sebelius. Weird troll disinformation you might think but remember Clinton/Gore - a Red state Gov together with a Red state Senator.

Posted by: Boethius | May 7, 2005 6:00:57 PM

Clark - Forget all about him (like I just did). Ike went from being Commander of NATO in Europe to President. What in comparison has Clark done these last few years? If he wants to go into politics let him get elected Gov of Arkansas or something similar. After all I don't think anyone is claiming he's the equal of Ike or that the political system is the same as 1952.

Posted by: Boethius | May 7, 2005 6:05:59 PM

I don't quite follow the logic that since Clark was SACEUR just like Ike, but didn't go immediately to the presidency, he therefore can't become president.

And yes, people who know about such things have claimed he's the equal of Ike, or at least similar:



"For the record, I never served with Clark. But after spending three hours interviewing the man for Maxim’s November issue, I’m impressed. He is insightful, he has his act together, he understands what makes national security tick – and he thinks on his feet somewhere around Mach 3. No big surprise, since he graduated first in his class from West Point, which puts him in the super-smart set with Robert E. Lee, Douglas MacArthur and Maxwell Taylor."

"But if he wins the election, don’t expect an Andrew Jackson field-soldier type. Clark’s an intellectual, and his military career is more like Ike’s – that of a staff guy and a brilliant high-level commander. Can he make tough decisions? Bet on it. Just like Ike did during his eight hard but prosperous years as president."

I admit that he doesn't think like the typical politician, but perhaps that could be as much advantage as disadvantage.

Posted by: Lewis Carroll | May 7, 2005 11:32:09 PM

Bah. Kerry was a hired gun; he was nominated to take out W, not because anyone thought he would be a great president.

He didn't get it done. I see no reason to give him another shot. More to the point, I know of exactly zero Democrats who disagree with me.

Posted by: Tony the Pony | May 8, 2005 5:57:59 PM



Posted by: TJ | May 9, 2005 12:54:17 AM

Boy the pundits sure love to hear themselves talk.

Kerry's either trying too hard, or not trying enough.

I'd rather he try too hard for the sake of our country.

Keep fighting Johnny.

Posted by: IFK Editor | May 10, 2005 4:09:07 PM

Let's see, where to start? Hillary cannot be nominated, and if nominated cannot win. Only fools continue to chase this mote in the dust. Wesley Clark? Are you nuts? Some people, most people, will remember he said abortion is OK right up to the moment the baby (or fetus, if you think along those lines) appears to the outside world. The only hope Democrats have is that someone, largely unknown up to now, will magically appear with charisma and cred. But don't bet the milk money on it.

Posted by: Jerry | May 10, 2005 8:12:55 PM

Oh, I forgot Kerry. It's been 100 days now since he said he would release his military records, which a growing number of people suspect includes a dishonorable discharge. Kerry is a cinder. Not even his mad wife can possibly believe he's got a shot.

Posted by: Jerry | May 10, 2005 8:15:04 PM

What precisely makes you think Kerry would have been a great president?

Granted, anybody can surprise you, like the ballsy guy who's in there now and gave little enough sign he had a pair his whole life up till then. But Kerry has spent a life not being out in front on anything, not standing for anything, making the safe moves (like marrying fabulous wealth)-- what can you point to in his life that makes you think he'd have done anything but dither and talk big in office?

I may sound like a rabid rightwinger that way, but it was the very fact of my inability to answer that question for myself that got the first vote for a Republican presidential candidate I ever cast.

Posted by: Mike G | May 10, 2005 11:45:00 PM

I have a soft spot for Phil Bredesen...

Posted by: Auros | May 11, 2005 1:46:50 AM

Enough already with ClintonWife and the Sons of the Son of Prescott Bush. And good riddance to that heiress-marrying serial goldigger from MA.

Giuliani or Bredesen would be much better than any of the above.

Posted by: thibaud | May 11, 2005 4:03:41 AM

I'm with ya, Mike G. Millions of us are in the same boat.

Posted by: thibaud | May 11, 2005 4:04:52 AM

Kerry would have made a great president? What are you smoking? He is, and would be, a disaster. There is not a shred of sincerity in his body or mind. In fact, only in Massachusetts could someone like him be elected to anything.

Posted by: David T | May 11, 2005 8:45:04 AM

I guess this is a polite way of admitting that Kerry is a huge phony and a diehard panderer with a monstrous ego. Watch lefties tiptoe up to the truth...carefully, carefully...

Posted by: Udolpho | May 11, 2005 10:45:41 AM

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