Why Kerry Will Win, Chapter XVI


Over at Newsweek/MSNBC, John Kerry's old political foe, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, who lost a '96 Senate race to Wooden John, says that Kerry will lose, for some of the same reasons I sketched out below.

But Weld actually makes a pretty strong case for why Kerry could take the election:

John Kerry will again run a shrewd campaign. He will have it both ways. As he moves to the center, he will run not against the Iraq war, but against this Iraq war. He'll attack, but he will always be careful to wave the flag as he does so. He will lament positions of the Christian right, but attend church without fail. He will stand for gun control, but remind voters?in appropriate states?that he is a bird hunter. He will, in other words, be pro-military?and against this war; pro-religion?and against the "extremists"; pro-gun control?and pro-guns. He will run knowing that Americans like to be for, as well as against, things.

Whole thing here.

NEXT: Irony Sells

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  1. What this tells me is that John Kerry can draw distinctions and Bill Weld cannot. The difference between raiding someone’s home at gunpoint and confiscating his property, and swiping his i.d. at a store so mental patients can’t buy Mac 10s. The difference between being a Christian and buying into the beliefs of a lobbying shop that uses the word in its name. The difference between opposing a party (or man) in power and opposing the nation. The difference between supporting a strong military posture and supporing every harebrained adventure the president decides to send troops into. Apparently, even the most progressive of Republicans finds these distinctions too tiresome to worry about.

    This line of attack on Kerry amounts to disparaging him because his ideas don’t fit on a bumper sticker.

  2. He will, in other words, be pro-military?and against this war; pro-religion?and against the “extremists”; pro-gun control?and pro-guns. He will run knowing that Americans like to be for, as well as against, things.

    The good Doctor says, moderation is the key to well being.

  3. Moderation is for monks and political cowards too afraid to stand for anything.

    I’ll take a political “extremist” any day. At least I know where they stand as oppsed to political chameleons whose opinions changes to suit their environment.

  4. Right on, Joe. He?s basically Mr. Nuance and I think it?s mean to make fun of him for it. Examples of his wonderfully nuanced way of nuanced holding of various nuanced positions include, among other nuanced nuances:

    He?s for guns ? just not the ones you want to own, or for that matter for guns used as a means of personal defense.

    He?s against abortion ? just not in any instances he can conceive of right now.

    He?s for lower taxes ? just not right now, or in the near future, or for you.

    He?s not against war in Iraq or getting rid of Saddam ? just this war in Iraq.

    He thinks we need to pursue terrorists aggressively ? just not the way we?ve done it.

    He is against SUVs, and wouldn?t own one ? so he rides in one of the eight SUVs that his wife owns.

    He thinks we need to act in our country?s best interest ? except where France, or Belgium, or Germany, or Kofi Annan might disapprove.

    Yep, he?s a regular nuance-meister. Your assessment of Kerry, as a master of nuanced positions, is absolutely correct, except to the extent that it isn?t.

  5. I hope for his sake that ‘joe’ had a nice restful weekend — from what I’ve seen this morning he’s going to have a long week of mental gyrations and backflips trying to defend all of Kerry’s political gyrations and backflips.

    Defending John “Plastic Man” Kerry is more work than I’d want to do this week, anyway. Too hot for that.

  6. How is Kerry going to “have it both ways” on his big spending voting record? He is among the top five biggest spenders in the senate: http://www.ntu.org/misc_items/rating/VS_2003.pdf

    And, what about the fact that if Sen. Kerry’s policy agenda were enacted in full, annual federal spending would rise by at least $226.125 billion during the first year of a Kerry Presidency alone?


  7. As for the actual article:

    “In fact, Kerry succeeded in making me?often subjected to the charge of being patrician?look like a lunch-pail Democrat: of the people as well as for the people”

    William “my family owned Long Island” Weld is an idiot. Or deluded. If this is truly how he saw the 96 race, he was living in a fantasy.

  8. What we should be struck by is not any actual substantial nuance in Kerry (although it might make one appreciate Bill Clinton on one level), but in the fact that he is being successfully slammed by conservatives for what *looks* like nuance. That terrifies me. Right, now, a huge number of Americans prefer a man who has consistently shown a lack of respect for critical thought and an inability to manage complex ideas inside his own mind, a boy king who does not know nearly enough about history or policy to understand his place in either.

    I loathe much of what Kerry has been about, but I feel like I could have a conversation with him where he would at least get what I was saying and respond with something apropos. He could plausibly survive Prime Minister’s questions at the House of Commons, which G. W. Bush could not handle for 30 seconds. Seriously. Literally, in the literal sense of “literally”. That is absolutely friggin’ sad.

  9. J. Goard-

    I agree with you. Why is it that some conservatives think it’s a virtue when a politician who can’t frame a coherent thought, rarely reads books, newspapers, or magazines? I know there are intelligent conservatives out there; some of them post on this forum. For that matter, some of my best friends are conservative Ph.D students. And even the most partisan among them has his moments where you can just tell that he’s embarassed by Bush. (Not that he’ll admit it, but that’s OK. We’re all entitled to our pretend that our dirty secrets are in fact secrets. 🙂

    A folksy style is nice, but I know plenty of people who can schmooze and get laughs AND use complete sentences while intelligently discussing complicated subjects. It isn’t that hard.

    If I had to pick a President based purely on the combination of personality and intellect, I’d vote for a third Clinton term any day. Not that personality and intellect always translate into good policies, but that’s why I added the qualifer “If” to the beginning of my sentence.

    Any bets on whether Bush knows what it means to “qualify a statement”? He probably thinks it involves a competition or interview.

  10. Personally, I subscribe to the motto of the great Ernie Kovacs: “Nothing in moderation.”

  11. he will run not against the Iraq war, but against this Iraq war.

    This is flip-flopping? I favored military intervention in Iraq back when Cheney and Rumsfeld were still shaking Saddam’s hand, yet I (justifiably) had no faith in the current administration’s ability to successfully prosecute the war. Actually that’s not quite accurate — I had reservations but, agreeing for once with the neo-cons, I believed it could be such a slam-dunk that even a premature ejaculator like Bush could pull it off. That he did it so with such diplomatic and strategic clumsiness that even the French are embarrassed for us out to shame and outrage even Republicans!

    He will stand for gun control, but remind voters?in appropriate states?that he is a bird hunter.

    This is flip-flopping? Like 99.999% of Americans he’s only worried about guns in the hands of gangbangers and psychos. (Whether “gun control” is the way to go about it is another question, but for better or worse if he supports it he’s echoing the feelings of the comfortable majority of Americans who’s primary experience with firearms tends to be experiencing or worrying about experiencing the urban-criminal receiving end.)

    pro-religion?and against the ‘extremists’
    If you can’t tell the difference between the guys who claim to conjure hurricanes, anoint themselves the messiah, or drive passenger airplanes into office buildings from religion in general then, unlike the majority of Americans both Republican and Democrat, you don’t spend enough time in church.

    He will run knowing that Americans like to be for, as well as against, things.

    Boy, that must drive the guys at FOX and the RNC crazy.

    Meanwhile Bush has flopped again, this time moving to centralize intelligence gathering — something he opposed only days ago — based on recommendations from an investigation he both bitterly opposed and obstructed within an inch of the law.

    Republicans these days are pro-Bush more out of habit than conviction. Worse (for their personal integrity) they’re more for Bush because they don’t like Kerry than they’ll ever again actually be *for* Bush. They’ll vote for the guy, but for the same reasons Democrats voted for Carter (1980) and Mondale (1984) than out of any sense of conviction at all.

    Having been there myself I gotta feel sorry for the sorry little rats. They made their beds and have to pretend they like sleeping in it.

    David Innes

  12. “He will run knowing that Americans like to be for, as well as against, things.”

    [Sarcasm Mode: ON]

    Wow, a politician who talks out of both sides of his mouth and who’s positions change depending on the audience. Who’d of thought it was possible???

  13. Hmm. I wonder where that leaves me. I don’t hunt and don’t like killing harmless little bunnies and chickens and cows myself – but I like to eat them. I am pro-gun because we have a right and a duty to self defense. Kerry seemed to think he deserved the ability to defend himself against the Viet-Cong he charged on the river… Well, I guess even he says that wasn’t really self defense.

    Kerry saying he’s a hunter is like me making the factual statement “I know a lot of Democrats – some of my best friends are Democrats”.

    It doesn’t mean I agree with or support their principles.

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