Maintaining Optimism in the Face of Reality. Occasional observations on the state of the world, society, business and politics. Usually anchored by facts, always augmented by opinion.

New Republic's Good Advice to Kerry: Stay Away  | e-mail post

The New Republic's editors have a message for John Kerry: please drift peacefully into obscurity. Or in their words:
Kerry certainly does deserve to retain a role within the party. That role ought to be the same as it was before he ran for president: second-most influential senator from Massachusetts.
Ouch. These are your supporters John. This is all in reference to the idea of Kerry possibly seeking to head the DNC and even considering a run in 2008. While the latter is laughable, the former would be even more damaging to the Democratic party.

While this is very good advice to Kerry, and essential to the Democrats working to shape any kind of future whatsoever, I doubt Kerry will go away willingly. Rather, Democrats will need to simply ignore him.

It was on election day that his true narcissism came through in flying colors. I was listening to MPR in the afternoon, and in their news summary they had a clip from Kerry after he cast his ballot. What did he have to say? [BostonChannel]
"I don't think anybody can anticipate what it's like to see your name on the ballot for president," he said after voting. "It's very special. It's exciting."
He sounded like a little kid. Much of Kerry's life seems to be marked by a striving for popularity and attention. Indeed, this was the fundamental contribution to his chief negative characteristic: an inability to exhibit any deeply-held principles or beliefs. If he actually did have any, his need for approval and popularity would have outweighed his interest in expressing them.

I have read several on the right suggest that Dean's ascendancy to the head of the DNC would signal a leftward shift in the party that would render the party irrelevant for years to come. I disagree. I genuinely believe if any of the Dems running in the primary could have beaten Bush, it was Dean.

A Dean/Gephardt ticket would have been politically very powerful. Certainly it wouldn't have attracted me to it, but I think it would have helped mobilize a lot of voters. Gephardt is great with blue-collar midwestern Democrats, Dean could have mobilized people on the left. And Dean as a Governor and Gephardt as an experienced legislator (not a one-term senator) would have provided much better credibility to the ticket in terms of experience.

While it wouldn't have solved Kerry's lack of executive experience (as I discussed in "The Buck Stops Where?"), a Kerry/Gephardt ticket would have been more powerful than having Edwards along for the ride. I think Kerry would not have picked Gephardt, however, because Gephardt strikes me as we man of some commitment to his beliefs.

I think the best move for the DNC would be getting Bill Clinton to head it. He's a great fundraiser. It would also keep Hillary from trying to run in 2008, which I think would be a very bad thing for the Democrats.

Oh, and if you're confused why I, as one who leans Republican, want to see the Democrats do what is smart, it's because I think the competition is raised, and both competitors improve, when each is playing at the top of their game. While the self-destruction of the Democratic party might be a good thing for Republicans running for office, and make their campaigning job easier, I don't think America would be well-served by it. Great politicians don't come from districts or states where the battle for the office is really only fought in the party nomination or primary.

e-mail post | Link Cosmos | [Permalink]  |  | Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Well, I'm very surprised to say that I have to agree with you, on nearly everything, even though I lean heavily Democratic. I don't have as much of a negative view of Kerry as you do, but I would have loved to see Dean on the ticket. Gephardt was also someone that I liked as well, for the same reasons you mentioned. He always came across as very genuine and kind-hearted, and I think that would have played well in this campaign. Unfortunately, Dean, much like McCain, speaks his mind and is unpredictable in some ways, which is why he didn't get the nomination. Some kind of cross-party ticket would have been awesome, too, but that's a pipe-dream.

Since I also don't vote solely along party lines, I would like to see at least 2 magnificent candidates running for every public office. It is a shame that some members of the Republican party are gloating as they are because the lack of competition is not good for our country, and as citizens running for political office, I wish they would embrace competition and real discourse rather than simply wanting to win. Of course, both parties are guilty of this bad behavior.
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