Wednesday, November 01, 2006

John Kerry: Just shut up

I'm not a Don Imus fan, but he's right: John Kerry just needs to shut up. As I've said before, Kerry is still an idiot, and his comments to college students that if they don't study, they'll end up in Iraq just confirms it. Why the Democrats ever thought he was a suitable alternative to Bush still boggles my mind. What's amusing, though, is now many Democratics seems to be having those same thoughts. (See here.) What's also amusing is that the lesson Kerry seems to have drawn from the "Swift Boat Veterans" in 2004 is that any attack calls for an immediate and violent counterattack. I think this shows Kerry has a learning curve, in the sense that that is what he should have done (but didn't) in 2004. However, that this incident is a completely different kind of problem for him shows that the learning curve isn't too steep. Rapid nasty counterattacks are great if your opponent has made ridiculous and false accusations about you and you want to stop them from gaining traction; but if you are the one who stepped in the dog poop, they won't do.

In this sense, I think Kerry offers a good lesson for Democrats in what (not) to look for in 2008 presidential candidates. The first and most important lesson is to pick a candidate who actually won an election in a state with a large number of Republican voters. Massachusetts is not such a state. Fidel Castro, from his hospital bed, could run as a Democrat in Massachusetts and, if he were the only Democrat on the ballot, he would win. Bill Clinton, by contrast, came from a state (Arkansas) that goes either way. This has several advantages: first, it means the candidate knows how to appeal to a broader base and has the political skills to keep it from looking like obvious pandering. But perhaps more importantly, it means the candidate has enough touch with the broader electorate that that person automatically sees a red flag before saying something really stupid. If you are only used to Massachusetts voters, I can easily see how you might think Kerry's "botched" joke was funny. And, indeed, tell that joke to a bunch of Amherst students, and you'd probably get a lot of laughs. But you just come off looking like an idiot to the rest of the country.

Interestingly, what does this mean for Barack Obama? After all, he does come from a state with a sizable number of Republican voters. That said, he only won after his Republican rival self-destructed in a divorce scandal involving a beautiful cyborg ex-wife, and was replaced by an insane carpetbagger from Maryland. Does Obama have what it takes to take on a real opponent? Right now, nobody knows.

On the other hand, will Kerry's comments have an effect on the Republicans' chances of retaining the House next Tuesday? I kinda doubt it. Bush is still the face of the Republican Party, but Kerry is no longer the public face of the Democrats.


Anonymous said...

Funny how he claimed to be talking about Bush, because when they released his academic transcripts Kerry actually did worse at Yale than Bush did! Wouldn't make much sense to insult somebody for being stupid or uneducated when they did better than you at the same school, right?

Anonymous said...

The true idiocy of Kerry is that he continues with the explanations. he served in Vietnam. He can't even insult Bush without sticking his foot in his mouth. Then, instead of apologising immediately, he tries to blame his faux pas on the Republicans.
The truth is, the neo-cons are narrow-minded business school types who believe that, like Carter in the 70's that being on the side of right is going to result in success. The world is more complicated than that.

lizzy larceny said...

Obama's republican rival was married to Posh Spice?