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Thursday, May 27, 2004
You Don’t Say?

By Steven Taylor @ 8:54 am

“I think it’s important to show them you have a plan. If you don’t have a plan, I don’t think people are going to have much confidence in you."-Senator John F. Kerry, last week.

In fairness, Kerry went on to say

“But I have a plan. I have a specific plan about manufacturing jobs, a specific plan about how we’re going to fight for a fair playing field, a specific plan about science, technology investment. A specific plan about health care.

“I think you have to run an affirmative campaign, and I think you have to - I have to - show America that I have a plan for the country,” Mr. Kerry said. “And I do have a plan. And that’s what I’m doing.”

I do notice a rather glaring omission in that list (hint: it is a word ending in the letter “q").

Further, while it is clearly the case that I am not a fan of the Senator’s, as a political analyst I honestly have to say that running on what is essentially a recycled list of standard Democratic issues. It simply isn’t enough. Indeed, it isn’t very different than Dole’s run in 1996: basically a combo of standard Republican issues (taxes, defense, etc..) and statement to the effect that he would be a better President than Clinton had been. This is a hard enough sell under normal circumstances, and we are hardly in normal circumstances.

One thing that is especially interesting is that there appears to be no grand strategy for Kerry’s campaign apart from “Kerry should be President, not Bush". Where is the vision? Where is the rationale for why Kerry would make a better leader than Bush? Instead, the piece notes a debate between:

Some party officials say that with three new polls showing President Bush more embattled than he has ever been, Mr. Kerry’s wisest course would be to take few chances and turn the election into a referendum on a struggling president. “People have won a lot of campaigns by just saying, `It is time for a change,’ ” said Mark Penn, a Democratic pollster.


But other Democrats warn that such a strategy entails risks of its own, banking on the proposition that Americans would be willing to fire an incumbent during war time and replace him with someone they know little about. “I don’t think anybody in their right mind is going to run for president on a strategy of `people hate the other guy and that’s enough for our guy to win,’ ” said Douglas Sosnik, the White House political director for President Bill Clinton.

It is this lack of an argument for why Kerry should be President that I think will start to damage him late in the summer/early in the Fall when people start really paying attention. Will swing voters want to elect a man to the presidency who doesn’t really seem to have a good argument for why he should be president (or when he should accept the nomination) in an era of such international turmoil? I have my doubts.

Certainly thoughtful Republicans have issues with the President, but I find it hard to believe that thoughtful Democrats are imbued with rock-solid confidence in Senator Kerry.

Source: Democrats Wonder if Kerry Should Stay on Careful Path

Filed under: 2004 Campaign

Click here to go to the main page.


  1. Your right. Selling us out to Iranians in exchange for bogus Iraqi WMD information which got us into the occupation from hell with absolutely no exit strategy other than relying on the afformentioned fraud really isn’t enough of a reason to vote against Bush. It’s far better to stick with an incompetent that you know than replace them with incompetents that you know nothing about.

    Why change horseman in mid apocalypse?

    Comment by Hal — Thursday, May 27, 2004 @ 11:15 am

  2. I didn’t say I expected thoughtful Democrats to vote for Bush, or not to vote for Kerry. However, I do think you have to admit, Kerry is hardly setting the world on fire in terms of demonstrating vision and leadership. I would have to think that many, many Dems will simply be voting against Bush, rather than for Kerry.

    A legitimate position, by the way.

    Comment by Steven — Thursday, May 27, 2004 @ 11:21 am

  3. However you have to love the adivce that Gore gave to Kerry this week.

    To quote the end of the ap story “He (Gore) said that Kerry should not “tie his own hands” while campaigning by offering any specific proposals for how he would handle a situation that is “rapidly changing and, unfortunately, rapidly deteriorating.”

    Comment by Rob M — Thursday, May 27, 2004 @ 12:07 pm

  4. If I may take off my snarky persona for a moment, I must say that I completely agree with you. Our binary system has some strong advantages but one of the major disadvantages is that a no doesn’t necessarily mean a yes for the other side. If Bush crosses the event horizon, Kerry’ll win in a landslide of electoral votes. Which will mean absolutely nothing.

    In my darker, more sober moments (I know, hard to imagine, but I do have them), I believe that swinging the pendulum hard in the opposite direction of Bush is just as big a mistake as Bush is. And if Kerry does win in a “landslide", the press will likely flip and then perform the same mistakes they made with Bush.

    Maybe it’s a non-sequitor (I know, hard to believe I’m making one), but I’m reminded of the quote:

    The opposite of a lie is almost always another lie. The opposite of a great truth is almost always another great truth.
    Still, on the other hand, Kerry’s strategy of laying low and letting Bush self destruct is a very good strategy. It’s just a very pitiful state of affairs we have when this is the case. We lose a great deal and put ourselves at risk when we can’t have real debates and the best strategy of the opposition is to hide out and simply be the last man standing in the rubble of the body politic.

    Well, got to put my snarky mask back on.

    Comment by Hal — Thursday, May 27, 2004 @ 12:25 pm

  5. All fair enough.

    Comment by Steven — Thursday, May 27, 2004 @ 12:29 pm

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