But Maybe He'll Make It Up In the Swimsuit Competition

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New at Reason: Nick Gillespie ponders John Kerry's uncongeniality.

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  1. Yeah, those sound bites are a bitch. Especially when they come out of your own mouth.

  2. joe said – This election is about, “I don’t like Bush, but is Kerry any better?”

    Is that what it’s about for people who don’t dislike Bush? There are a few of them you know.

  3. Todd, people who like Bush are going to vote for Bush. People who hate Bush are going to vote for Kerry. That’s not what the campaign is about.

    Doug, back atcha, Bush boy. Fool me once…

  4. People who hate Bush are going to vote for Kerry.

    Um, no. There are some of us out there who will actually vote for other people entirely.

  5. People who hate Bush are going to vote for Kerry.

    Um, no. There are some of us out there who will actually vote for other people entirely.

  6. True, but you’re a tiny fraction of a minority, too small to make any difference in how the campaign will play out.

    Sorry.

  7. joe,

    I (like millions of other Americans) don’t have the time (or inclination) to “research” his career (how many ever years that might be) and then ‘know’ the man!

    What I want him to do is “tell us where he stands and what he will do about some of the major issues”. That is not too much to ask, is it? He has 6 months to do that. I hope that is enough.

    I am happy for you that you followed his entire career, and I am sure you are better informed about him than most of us are. How about all of the other politicians? Should we follow their entire careers too (before we support/oppose them)? That may be the ideal thing, but people have jobs (despite what the News says) and need to work. There may not be a one sentence policy positions for each issue; but so far I have found Kerry unclear.

    My impression is –
    He will increase taxes on the top 1%.
    He will go to the UN (although he didn’t explain how he would be more successful than Powell – now that we know of the corruption at UN) on Iraq war (and other such matters)

    Is there anything more that has been clearly stated?

  8. “..they’re the crookedest, lying crowd I’ve ever seen…”

    That’s good enough for me.

  9. I don’t share your confidence that a politician can convey accurately through a modern campaign what he will be like as president. Recall the distorted picture that emerged of Al Gore last time, how the entire “liar” meme basically fell apart with the slightest inspection.

    Frankly, it is the politicians whose ideas can be accurately conveyed through the modern political/media machine that worry me the most.

  10. That’s what they said about the Green Party, joe. And now GWB thanks them in his prayers every night. John Kerry would be wise to court my vote.

  11. ACtually, joe, considering what the Greens managed to do last time, John Kerry should be out there courting my vote, and people like me who are all too willing to vote third (or fourth, or fifth) parties. But he won’t, because he’s an arrogant prick.

  12. Actually, he won’t, because every vote he could pick up among the fringes would cost him 2 or 5 or 10 in the middle.

    Where he can get votes from small, eccentric factions without offending the mainstream, I’m sure he will.

  13. Joe:

    You know, the fact that someone like you, who has “followed Kerry his entire career”, hammers basically two talking points about the man ad nauseum in Hit and Run comments — he chaired some investigative Senate committees and his views don’t fit on a bumpersticker — doesn’t speak well of Mr. Heinz.

    With friends like you, who needs enemies. 😉

    While I haven’t followed his entire career, he has been my Senator for as long as I’ve held an interest in politics, and I’ve got to say he strikes me as a pretty mediocre Senator and a mild jerk.

  14. As opposed to our sitting president, a failed oil driller (even with Saudi money), tongue-tied playboy, dropped-out weekend warrior, Court appointed prez who’s never cast a public vote on anything. Not to mention the last 3 years of criminal incompetence.

    ABB, baby.

  15. The election breaks down like this for me:

    I have yet to find anything redeeming in either Bush or Kerry.

    Bush is far too religious, and lacks a self-reflective quality I like in people (I can’t trust him). His stem-cell policy alone convinced me not to vote for him; the Iraq war was topping in that regard.

    Kerry appears to be even less charismatic than Gore was; and I am certain that he has no better solution for Iraq than Bush does; finally, he appears to want to run as a populist, and I can’t stand populists.

    So it comes down to what we might call a decision based on their ability to exercise power once elected; or rather, what is the liklihood that any of their policies (I am fairly certain that I abhor most of them) will actually be enacted?

    My answer to this query is as follows.

    Since WWII at least, first term Presidents are generally more successful in enacting “their agendas” than second-term (a number of factors play into this like the “honeymoon,” structural changes in Congress created by a President’s coattails, etc.), whereas the second term of a Presidency has tended to end in some sort of scandal, thus cutting into whatever agenda might have been planned for the second term. Furthermore, such scandals tend to weaken the Presidency, and force it back into its proper constitutional role as “chief executive,” as to “leader of the free world.” These considerations might entice me to vote for Bush.

    Of course there are other considerations to take note of here – such as the liklihood of a scandal in a possible second term by Bush. Furthermore there is the question of what the nature of the Congress will be after the 2004 election – something I need to do some research on I will admit. For example, will the Congress remain Republican? If so, then perhaps Kerry is a better option (since

    Anyway, the sorts of questions I have asked above will provide me the answer that I ultimately come to.

  16. 54 positive-33 negative? Shouldn’t the story be how a guy with so little charisma is managing to foster so much support?

    Bush can’t dream of those numbers.

  17. I believe Kerry’s approach to try to be everything to everybody is not working – it didn’t work all that well even for Clinton, who is probably the best pol this side of Reagan.

    Kerry should formulate his positions (one for each issue, hopefully) and communicate them to voters. If he can convince about 51% of the voters (electoral votes) he will be successful; instead he is aiming for 99% of the people (you know the other 1% is the evil, rich, Benedict Arnold CEO types).

  18. The election isn’t going to be about Kerry’s positions. It’s going to be about Bush vs. NotBush. Both sides know this. Kerry is trying to keep his negatives down, and Bush is trying to drive up them up.

    There were big ideas discussed in the last election (or at least, an effort was made to appear to be discussing ideas and policy), because they were running for an empty seat. This election is about, “I don’t like Bush, but is Kerry any better?”

  19. Gillespie said that Kerry’s campaign seems to not stand for anything. This goes to a fundamental problem that the Democrats have.

    Most Americans aren’t liberals. Most of them aren’t conservative either. Some are moderate. Some are liberal on some issues and conservative on other issues. Some don’t fit any labels.

    Liberals have just a faint glimmer of intelligence, so they’ve finally figured out that most Americans aren’t liberals. That saps their confidence. They know they can’t win if they try to offer the same old tired liberal solutions, but obligations to their base (and lack of imagination) compel them to at least offer a watered-down version of the same old liberal ideas. But they know they have to tone it down or else people will see how liberal they are. They also sometimes try to be “Republican-lite”, with varying degrees of success.

    The result of all of this is that Democrats are incoherent and apparently stand for nothing.

    Republicans, however, aren’t burdened by even a tiny glimmer of intelligence 🙂 They don’t yet realize that most Americans aren’t conservative. Or maybe they do realize this, but if so then they do a good job of acting like they don’t know it. The result is that they are more confident. Even though they compromise their principles all the time, and even though they often betray their base, they don’t exude an aura of insecurity about their platform.

    So you have confident (and clueless) Republicans taking on Democrats who are just sharp enough to know that their ideas are unpopular but not sharp enough to come up with an alternative.

    Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

  20. joe,

    thank you for clarifying what this election is about. that makes it easier to say:

    “by being what he is (or, acting like he is), Kerry is failing to show people that he is better than Bush”

    I don’t like Bush; but I think Kerry is much worse (I could easily have supported someone like Leiberman)

  21. sorry to have mis-typed ‘Lieberman’

  22. If you are genuninely interested in drawing an accurate conclusion about what sort of person, and what sort of politician, John Kerry is, you’d do well to research his career on your own, rather than guess at it based on the ads and sound bites you’re going to see for the next 6 months.

    I’ve been following Kerry his entire career, and I knew he was a better person and a better leader than Bush in 2000. It’s too bad most Americans are going to have to draw their conclusions based on the stupid media events we’re being subjected to.

  23. I voted for Clinton, joe. My vote isn’t so far on the fringe that it isn’t there for Kerry to get. Just because I’m libertarian doesn’t mean I’m not pragmatic — and the same is true of a lot of other nth party voters. Gore and Bush both lost my vote in 2000, though. Bush and Kerry are poised to do the same.

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