The Kerry problem
Listen to him, and consider whether he would make a good... a good... zzzzzzzzz...
OK, here's the problem I have with John Kerry as the Democratic presidential nominee:
This is not a startling revelation of any sort. But sometimes the most obvious factors are, indeed, the most important. And as a man whose ability to electrify and audience, compared to the other remaining Democratic presidential contenders, is second to just about all, the fact that Kerry has now convincingly won both Iowa and New Hampshire is a measure of either Kerry's other considerable talents or the fact that Iowans and Granite Staters don't get out much.
More and more Democrats are concluding, as polls suggested participants in the first two states had, that electability -- the ability of a candidate to beat Dubya -- is their most important criteria, trumping any and all of the usual issue litmus tests.
But Bush would cream Kerry.
With the exception of Joe Lieberman, who could be out by the time you read this, and Gen. Wesley "Dr. Strangelove and Mr. Hyde" Clark, I really am neither alarmed by, nor particularly passionate about, the prospective policies of the remaining major candidates. As a president, Kerry would doubtless be serviceable -- not great, but a massive upgrade on what's now being inflicted on the world. Problem is, he can't get from here to there.
Whether we like it or not -- and I hate it -- there can be no doubt that a large chunk of the electorate these days factors personality heavily in its decision as to whom to support. Even worse, it's not even the person's actual personality -- for all I know, Kerry might be a perfectly pleasant fellow -- as how it projects on TV. I hate this, because policies are policies; a candidate can direct the public's attention to or away from the good or bad ones he's chosen in his career, but they are what they are. By contrast, most peoples' personalities could be polished to a highly likable gleam by the political equivalent of Madison Avenue. Even if you think that leaders' temperaments are an important part of the course of world events, it's easy enough to fake it.
Unless you've got, as a candidate, a Walter Mondale, or a Michael Dukakis, or an Al Gore. Or a John Kerry.
Try to imagine courtroom whiz John Edwards one-on-one in a debate with George Bush. It would be the sort of one-sided slaughter the President of Mars so richly deserves. Dean would say two stupid things and 20 brilliant ones. Clark, whatever his other faults, radiates enough crackle to have leaped into national prominence as a TV pundit, for goodness sake.
Kerry would... umm... would... zzzzzzz...
Don't give me that "flinty New Englander" and "stoic Midwesterner" stuff; one of the most ebullient guys I've ever known was Minnesotan to his core. And my sweetie is from coastal Maine; I like her personality just fine. So how do Democrats find these guys? Why do they keep picking them? And why, when electability is clearly their most important criterion this year, are Democrats still so willing to pick someone as personality-impaired as John Kerry?
This is a particularly brutal form of electoral suicide when the opponent will be a president's son who's been worth millions from the day he was born, but has already proven he can convince much of the country that he's jes a regular ol' guy. With coattails. Try to imagine anybody riding to office on John Kerry's coattails.
Much has been made of the apparent delight of Karl Rove and company over a possible matchup with Howard Dean -- but Kerry can't be much better. Bush would spend six months repeating five words: "Massachusetts. Liberal. Senator. Washington. Insider." Voters will supply two more: "Stiff. Boring."
Madison Avenue, as I noted, can polish almost anything, but it's pretty hard to polish mashed potatoes, and it's pretty hard to graft a mass media personality onto a candidate whose very core refuses to have one. For the Democrats, still smarting from the self-inflicted wounds of Al Gore's botched candidacy, not much could destroy the party's future more effectively than allowing Dubya not one but two free passes at four years of world-wrecking, simply because his opponents were both automatons.
Gore was a good example of the failed efforts of America's best personality surgeons to graft media likeability onto someone without any. The result was one of the world's great plastic personality surgery disasters, with so many failed remodels that by November Gore wound up, in voters' minds, as the personality equivalent of Michael Jackson's face.
But of course, he has Gore-Dole Disease, and seems intent on coming off as dreary as possible even when he has plenty of rennaissance man attributes and, for a guy who will be crucified by Rove's minions and the mainstream media as a limo liberal, still has a resume of accomplishments that makes George W. Bush look like the incompetent "career figurehead" he is.
It's why, even with his poll victories in the first two Primaries, I still think he will have a hard time beating W unless he starts really pepping up his public persona and taking bigger chances on some of the criticisms of Bush even if he did vote for the damn Iraq war (and oddly enough, NOT the more justifiable Desert Storm one 10 years ago).
Hey, bit, watch what you say about this guy. You'll probably have to jump the Clark ship soon and support him.
Quite frankly, I would prefer the democratic candidate to be anti-war from the git-go. This way we could see which side the American people support.
Kerry is the ultimate arm chair QB. I fought for my country in Vietnam, but in the aftermath, I was against it. I voted against increasing our intel capabilities, but after 9/11 I want stronger intelligence. I voted for the Iraqi war, but now I'm against it.
Yeah as for Clark he's no superstar but CNN did pay him to do TV commentary. If he had Kerry's height he would be ideal. If Kerry had Clark or Edwards' cheekbones he might be more ideal. Would still need a personality transplant though.
remember when he went to Pats Steaks and ordered a cheesesteak with SWISS? :blink: :o
a real man of the people :lol:
the real bottom line is how these guys play in the south. I've said it before i will say it again, no one from the heartland or south is gonna vote for a Mass Liberal over a Texas Republican.
Before Lyndon Johnson, the prevailing wisdom was that nobody from the South could get INTO the White House. Now people are resigned to appeasing regionalism and only letting guys who pretend to be Southern by buying a baseball team, oil company, governor's seat, and cowboy ranch from Texas get in there.
If all Kerry did was take the same states Gore took and add like TWO of WV, Ohio, or NH he could win, even giving Bush Florida without a stupid deadlock and crappy voting machine shenanigans.
Kerry has bigger problems in overcoming his image than he does in owning up to his New England heritage, and they aren't fatal if he takes some pages from the Dean, Clinton, and Clark playbooks should he get the nomination.
Originally posted by Come Back to NY+Jan 28 2004, 05:43 PM--></span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Come Back to NY @ Jan 28 2004, 05:43 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'><!--QuoteBegin--tailgators@Jan 28 2004, 05:12 PM bit, jet set...
Have you seen any of Kerry's recent rallies on C-span? The guy is on fire and he really connects with the audiences.
Believe me when I tell you Bush is gonna have his hands full. I can't wait!
neither can I [/b][/quote]
I second that !.............
Kerry is far more dangerous to Bush than most realize, IMO. I would still consider Bush the favorite (as most incumbents are) but Kerry is my no means a walkover.
His voting record is inconsistent and quite liberal (even relative to Ted Kennedy's). Additionally, he's going to have ahard time lecturing Bush about poverty when he is by far the richest guy in the Senate. He was also the Lt. Governor to Dukakis, which doens't help him.
But he's sharp and seems to be a decent, normal man. He may not be "inspiring" enough but that may not matter - the Dem base is energized due to their hatred of Bush and Bush is continuing to alienate his base with his nanny-state free-for-all "Don't worry, we'll pay later!" approach to domestic policy. It may very well come down to which base is simply more energized and comes out to vote.
Jet Set - IMO, it was precisely his vote against Desert Storm that prompted Kerry to vote to authorize this current war. He realized his mistake in 1991 and didn't want to have the problem of being a guy who goes against the President during war time hanging around his neck while he ran for President. That earlier war was popular and successful and Kerry did not want to make the same mistake twice.It's why Hillary voted for it, Gep, Edwards, Lieb - all of them don't want to appears soft. Dean was never forced to vote and Kucinich is irrelevant.
However, Dean got momentum, so Kerry voted against the $87 billion, which puts him in the awkward position of voting to send troops to die, yet voting AGAINST aiding them.
Originally posted by jets5ever@Jan 28 2004, 05:07 PM Jet Set - IMO, it was precisely his vote against Desert Storm that prompted Kerry to vote to authorize this current war. He realized his mistake in 1991 and didn't want to have the problem of being a guy who goes against the President during war time hanging around his neck while he ran for President. That earlier war was popular and successful and Kerry did not want to make the same mistake twice.It's why Hillary voted for it, Gep, Edwards, Lieb - all of them don't want to appears soft. Dean was never forced to vote and Kucinich is irrelevant.
However, Dean got momentum, so Kerry voted against the $87 billion, which puts him in the awkward position of voting to send troops to die, yet voting AGAINST aiding them.
Yup, I agree with all of that. And that IMO is part of why so few U.S. Congressmen end up having a chance in hell anymore -- their voting record on Federal bills is there for constant scrutiny, especially if they are still holding that post at the time of their election. It's much easier for state Governors to deflect charges about where their state ranks in this or that category by citing some other positive stat.
I don't think Clark can get it done, Bit. Too many inconsistencies, too stiff on the campaign trail. That doesn't mean I don't like and admire the guy. I do.
Kerry is the man. He has the stature, the grasp of the issues and the mainstream party credentials. He's a genuine war hero who will stand up well against the guy who played dress-up on an aircraft carrier.
Still, 5ever is dead on about which base gets more energized. If the Democrats pull together - the young Dean voters staying on board, Gephart delivering the union vote and (though I HATE this) Sharpton energizing black voters, Dubya is toast.
On the other hand, if they pick each other apart, like usual, Dubya cruises to re-election.
He should pick Edwards for VP. That'll help in the south.
BTW - the way Dubya is coming undone on issue after issue, Rove won't have TIME to smear Kerry. He'll be too busy putting out "Dumbo eruptions*."
*I'd attribute this properly if I could remember which talking head said it.
Originally posted by bitonti@Jan 29 2004, 12:58 AM bob he's a mass liberal... how many Mass Liberal candidates must the GOP bury before people wisen up? for them its like shooting fish in a barrel.
bit...Do you still think that Chad was gonna be out for the whole 2003 season?
Everyone had Kerry buried weeks ago and now look. Believe me when I tell you John Kerry will take the fight to George Bush and will campaign around the whole country and he'll be the best president of our generation!
The Clark campaign is "dead man walking". The people took a good look at him and as Gertrude Stein might have said "There's no there, there."
BTW...In case anyone hasn't noticed the wheels are starting to come off over @ the White House. 40 Republican members of the House of Representatives met last week in Maryland and they've decided to block the president's budget. Bush is in the fight of his life, from both sides.
Lastly, won't it be refreshing to have a president who can speak in coherant sentences?
This is a decent article...Sowell is a brilliant, brilliant economist:
Thomas Sowell (archive)
January 29, 2004
The so-called "debates" among the Democratic candidates in the primaries are not really debates -- and that is a real shame. In a real debate, opponents could question each other's statements -- and there have been a lot of questionable statements made already in this young political season.
Senator John Edwards, for example, has included among his rhetorical flourishes poor children going to bed hungry at night in America. In reality, obesity is even more common among low-income people than among high-income people.
Whether Senator Edwards doesn't know any better or doesn't care about the facts, his statements could have been challenged in a real debate -- or even in a no-holds-barred press conference. But, in the fashionable format of a pseudo-debate, where "going negative" is taboo, irresponsible demagoguery not only goes unchallenged but becomes the norm.
Meanwhile, Senator John Kerry has pictured the United States as lagging among industrial nations by not having government-provided medical care for everyone. In a real debate, someone could have pointed out that we also differ considerably from those other countries in how quickly you can get to see a doctor and in not having to wait months for surgery.
We also differ in having our much-denounced pharmaceutical industry produce a wholly disproportionate amount of the world's new life-saving medications. In a real debate, someone could point out the connection between incentives and results -- and how so-called "obscene profits" are preferable to something truly obscene: needless pain and suffering and preventable deaths.
When Senator Kerry argues for a higher minimum wage, someone in a real debate could point to evidence from around the world that higher minimum wages mean higher levels of unemployment. There is a reason why economists say that there is no free lunch, even though politicians get elected promising free lunches and calling them "rights."
So long as elections -- whether primary elections or general elections -- are just contests in rhetoric and personalities, the reality of what has actually happened under various plausible-sounding schemes gets lost in the shuffle. And so long as media pundits treat politics as just a contest among politicians, there is no need for them to let the voters know the facts.
Perhaps the most dangerous political spin that goes unchallenged in either the candidate "debates" or the media pundit discussions is the image that Senator Kerry is someone we could rely on when it comes to military defense, since he was a decorated war hero in Vietnam.
John Kerry the war hero deserves all the credit that he earned in battle. But, if he becomes a candidate for President of the United States, we will not be voting on what he was, but on what he is and has been in the decades since then.
Senator Kerry, like many other liberals in Congress, has for years voted to cut spending for the military and the intelligence agencies -- even though these same liberal politicians are now loudly demanding to know why no one knew that the September 11th terrorist attacks were coming.
There is no free lunch when it comes to gathering intelligence around the world or defending this country. The budgets of the intelligence agencies and the military have long been a tempting target for liberal politicians trying to find money to finance giveaway programs to buy votes. But their policies have helped make America a tempting target for terrorists.
The liberal organization Americans for Democratic Action has given Senator Kerry an even higher approval rating as a liberal than they gave to Senator Ted Kennedy. It takes one to know one. If anyone knows what a liberal is, the ADA should. Yet Kerry has tried to wave aside "labels."
Like every other liberal Democrat running for president since the 1960s, Senator Kerry is trying to avoid having the voters recognize him as the liberal that he is and has been for decades -- anti-military, pro-quotas, pro-taxes, pro-illegal immigrants, and pro-teachers unions that have ruined our schools. What Kerry did more than 30 years ago is not the issue. What he has been doing since then is.
Originally posted by jets5ever+Jan 29 2004, 10:19 AM--></span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (jets5ever @ Jan 29 2004, 10:19 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin--tailgators@Jan 29 2004, 09:08 AM Gee 5-ever thanks for posting another article by that simpleton!
Thomas Sowell is a hack, and that column is just chock full of divisive talking points.
Weak very weak!
You enjoy flaunting your ignorance, huh? [/b][/quote]
Whatever, be as nasty as you want.
It must gall you how often I'm proven to be correct.
Thomas Sowell is a hack, so I'm not surprised that you enjoy reading his columns.