Wednesday, May 05, 2004

A view of Kerry's "problem"

Many of my Bush-hater buddies are, like me, dismayed at John Kerry's performance so far in his campaign to unseat the entrenched, well-funded incumbent. I've got a whole essay, so far not reduced to writing, on the subject. But this quote is a good start.

"The result, as some of his supporters concede, is that [Kerry] comes across as just a generic Democrat. No one can finish the sentence 'I support John Kerry because...' except to say '...he is not George Bush.'

"If the election is just a referendum on Mr Bush, none of this may matter. Mr Kerry is raising huge amounts of money—a record $55m in the first quarter—which may be all that is necessary if the Republicans defeat themselves. But there are big risks to running a message-free campaign. It could depress Democratic turnout. It lets Mr Bush define Mr Kerry. And if he wants to fulfil the Democrats' pledge to 'take back the country', and seize the political initiative, Mr Kerry will need a governing strategy on inauguration day. To do all that, he needs to start imposing what he stands for on the party. That is the opportunity fast disappearing."

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