In an amazing example of just how much this day is a ‘slow news day’, one of the top stories on Google News is that John Kerry has announced that he would not seek a presidential bid for 2008. Shocking! Not that he isn’t running, I think that was a no-brainer, but that anyone thought he would or cares that he isn’t.
John Kerry is, IMO, one of the largest political failures in American History. At a time when he was running against an unpopular president during an increasingly unpopular war, the Democratic Party in their wisdom offered up such a lame and barely warmed-over collection of political minor league candidates in 2004 that John Kerry, the king of them all, landed on top to represent the Democratic Party as their presidential candidate.
The victory should have been a slam dunk. What resulted was one of the worst run and inept campaigns in recent memory, including the campaign of Dukakis who was not in any way offered a winnable race to begin with. From coming across to the American people as more of a rich white republican than even the most stereotypical republican can claim to achieve, to looking like a deer caught in the headlights when presented with criticism of his time in Vietnam that he has been fighting against for thirty years as if they were new charges, there is little that one can point to in the campaign that could be seen as a positive or successful strategy. At no point did it ever look to me like he had any real ability to wage a national political campaign.
In fact, one prime example of this ineptitude comes from one of the reasons he was thinking about running in 2008. It turns out that he still has MILLIONS of dollars socked away from his 2004 campaign. Excuse me!? Wouldn’t that money have been better spent in 2004 than 2008? Why would you walk away from that campaign thinking you had spent enough or done enough to win going into election night when everyone else was calling it a dead heat!?
Then, to add insult to injury, he proved recently when botching a joke that he just doesn’t have what it takes to appear as a warm compassionate leader. Even after this remarkably bad event, not just that it occurred but his and his staff’s inept handling of the whole thing, did anyone besides Kerry and his staff think he had a snowball’s chance in hell of getting any support for a 2008 bid?
It turns out it was his own former supporters that finally convinced him not to run.
But Mr. Kerry faced severe obstacles in trying to capture his party’s nomination for a second time. For one thing, many of his supporters had made clear that they would not join him again should he try to run, with many blaming him for making mistakes in 2004 that cleared the way for Mr. Bush to win even as he was saddled with an unpopular war and a public that had turned largely against him.
The country deserved a better offering from the Democratic Party, a leader who could have gone against President Bush and done so in a way that would have put us on a more productive, less intrusive, path. Someone who had a vision and wanted to lead us to it, not just win the White House and do whatever it took to get there. Americans could smell which way Kerry’s wind was blowing at it was one of personal goals not altruistic ones. That he will not be running is not only good news for the Democratic Party but America as a whole.
Thank you, Mr. Kerry; you’ve finally done something politically positive for this country.