Mostly rational politics, with occasional rants about how a few crazy Republicans are ruining the country.
Support The Jaker
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
John Kerry: Don't run in 2008
David Yespen points out the case for John Kerry in 2008. Let me tackle point by point (my comments in italics)
• He came close, oh so close, in 2004. Bush got 51 percent. Kerry got 48 percent. Only 120,000 more votes in Ohio, and you wouldn't be reading this column.
Is that how you'd like to win? George Bush 2000 style? We cannot be happy about a candidate who ran against someone as incapable as Bush but still lost. Kerry did not convince the swing voters that he was worthy of a change
• Kerry's been vetted. He's been through the crucible once, and the lessons he learned would be useful again.
There was nothing he learned that could be improved upon. His main selling point, the military thing, didn't sell. He will always be the target of accusations of flip flops, and subject to his senate record. There are plenty of other candidates who have been publicly vetted also: Gore, Clinton, Edwards come to mind.
• He was a classy loser. Unlike Al Gore, who skulked off to grow a beard, Kerry withdrew quickly and honorably.
This, to me, is a negative. He had no chance to change his image or offer someone anything new. If he runs in 2008 he will be the exact same package as in 2004. Gore now has distance from his Senate record, further distance from Clinton, and outside of Washington perspective to bring to bear.
• Kerry understands why he lost. Strategists in his camp say if he does run again, the campaign will be more nimble in responding to attacks than it was in 2004. He won't be isolated from key Democrats seeking to offer advice.
Kerry has also given his opponents a clear read on his weaknesses. It will be easy for people to tap into the public's previous understanding of him. Kerry cannot remake himself entirely.
In short, I think Kerry should take his loss and accept it. He's a smart guy, and he was somewhat unlucky, but he's not the best guy for us going forward.