Highlights From the Debacle


Drudge is touting Newsweek's promo for its "exclusive behind-the-scenes account of the entire presidential campaign reported by a separate Newsweek Special Project team that worked for more than a year on the extraordinary campaign." (Now that it's all over, I just hope the team members will be allowed to go ahead with the Heaven's Gate-style mass suicide they undoubtedly crave.)

Some of the interesting bits:

McCain remembers the U.S. has a constitution:

The "Outlandish" McCain Offer. Kerry's courtship of Senator John McCain to be his running mate was longer-standing and more intense than previously reported. As far back as August 2003, Kerry had taken McCain to breakfast to sound him out to run on a unity ticket. McCain batted away the idea as not serious, but Kerry, after he wrapped up the nomination in March, went back after McCain a half-dozen more times. "To show just how sincere he was, he made an outlandish offer," Newsweek's Thomas reports. "If McCain said yes he would expand the role of vice president to include secretary of Defense and the overall control of foreign policy. McCain exclaimed, 'You're out of your mind. I don't even know if it's constitutional, and it certainly wouldn't sell.'" Kerry was thwarted and furious. "Why the f— didn't he take it? After what the Bush people did to him…'"

Clinton and Jonathan Rauch agree on states' rights approach to gay marriage:

Clinton Advice Spurned. Looking for a way to pick up swing voters in the Red States, former President Bill Clinton, in a phone call with Kerry, urged the Senator to back local bans on gay marriage. Kerry respectfully listened, then told his aides, "I'm not going to ever do that."

Shrum, not Kerry, to blame for amazingly feckless response to Swift Boat assault:

Kerry Anger Over Swift Boat Ads. By August, the attack of the Swift Boat veterans was getting to Kerry. He called adviser Tad Devine, who was prepping to appear on "Meet The Press" the next day: "It's a pack of f—ing lies, what they're saying about me," he fairly shouted over the phone. Kerry blamed his advisers for his predicament. (Cahill and Shrum argued responding to the ads would only dignify them.) He had wanted to fight back; they had counseled caution. Even Kerry's ex-wife, Julia Thorne, was very upset about the ads, she told daughter Vanessa. She could remember how Kerry had suffered in Vietnam; she had seen the scars on his body, heard him cry out at night in his nightmares. She was so agitated about the unfairness of the Swift Boat assault that she told Vanessa she was ready to break her silence, to speak out and personally answer the Swift Boat charges. She changed her mind only when she was reassured that the campaign was about to start fighting back hard.

So, um, when was the fighting back hard part scheduled to begin? After the election, maybe?