Kerry on Ice

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The Karl Rove Jedi Mind Trick on John Kerry has backfired: The smartest man in politics (or in American life writ large) is leaving the campaign trail.

I'm coming back to Washington today so that I'm not a distraction, because I don't want to be a distraction to these campaigns.

Meanwhile, traders on election futures markets have soaked in the Kerry story and exhaled a long, bored sigh. The odds on Republicans holding onto Congress are unchanged since Sunday, which in turn are unchanged from last week: Thirty-four percent on them keeping the House, seventy-three on them keeping the Senate. With Kerry off the trail, and without Democrats sweating as he takes the stage with them, the story's dead, although Republicans (like Bush in a scheduled Rush Limbaugh interview today) will try to give it oxygen for another 24 hours. This is the al Qaqaa of 2006: A story that seems incredibly hot in the haze of election week, but ended up only wasting a day or so of the campaign.

But for a good time, check out the pro-GOP blogs. I think they're going to start breaking into newsrooms and changing around the hot type if the papers don't start putting a president's attack on a junior Massachusetts senator on A1.

I think this is my favorite overheated rant of the moment, from Michael Ledeen:

Nothing at all on the front page of the WSJ, quite disgraceful.  In case you wondered about the WSJ newsroom, the main political story is an allegation of graft against a Republican congressman. A story that should have been delayed until after the election. Talk about journalistic ethics!  Get a new editor for the news section.

You'd think Ledeen would be pissed about Kerry knocking the reports of good news of Iraq off the front page.

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  1. Outside of Digg & Reddit, no real uproar (yet) over George Allen’s posse (pun intended) assaulting a former marine last night, here in C-Ville!, for asking the good senator some uncomfortable questions about his sealed divorce and arrest records. The video of the assault is tons-o-fun! God, I can’t wait to see that jackass get the proverbial beat-down from us voters next week.

  2. Didn’t the election futures markets have Kerry winning in 2004? Everyone talks about them going up to an election but then you never hear after the election how predictive they actually were.

  3. From PowerLine:

    “The liberal press has a story line for this election, and John Kerry’s exposing how the left really feels about the military isn’t it. This story illustrates, I think, the rift between this country’s two media cultures.”

    Lemme get this straight: you mean that one Senator saying something at one speech that can be taken to seem offensive to the military, should be on equal footing in the news with, um, a major shift in the political tides all over the country?

    “Wahhhh! I want MY negative publicity to be on the front page! They get THEIR negative publicity on the front page!”

    In effect, these jackoffs are saying that the importance of the story shouldn’t govern how much media attention it gets; if the GOP’s failure gets more attention than John Kerry’s line in a speech, then it’s a case of “the liberal press [having] a story line for this election”. Good god. They have a certain “story line” because that story line is infinitely more important than cherry-picking one line from a speech that John Kerry gave. Do you really think that they’re on equal footing? Ugh, stop linking to PowerLine. It’s just awful.

  4. John,

    I remember hearing plenty after 2004 about how wrong they were. Where were you?

  5. I guess the fact that the WSJ devoted one of its editorials today to Kerry’s making an ass of himself (again) doesn’t count.

  6. “The smartest man in politics (or in American life writ large) is leaving the campaign trail.”

    Barney Frank is doing no such thing.

  7. Shorter Ledeen: One dumb line in a speech is huge; criminality, eh, no big deal.

    One misspoken like in one speech by a guy who isn’t running for office is more important than an allegation of bribery against an officeholder from his party. I am quite sure he wouldn’t be saying this if we reversed the two gentlemen’s party identification.

  8. CNN has good video of the Allen staffer attack, (http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/10/27/webb.allen/index.html). Better than our local affiliate, NBC 29.

  9. Say, when is Kerry going to release all of his military records to the public, anyway?

  10. I believe his records are currently trapped beneath the 80 people found dead along the roadside in Baghdad this morning with drill holes in their bodies, RC.

    What were we talking about again?

  11. I was surprised to see this “row” being the lead story on the BBC news last night.

    Don’t know what that means, just thought it was interesting, and a little ironic.

  12. Fyodor:

    It means that the Brits just sound smarter than Americans.

  13. Talk about journalistic ethics

    Christ, has our country gone so to shit that “journalistic ethics” means a paper should amplify bullshit political hiccups to influence the electorate according to their rough party alignment? i.e. run it 10,000 times a day on the Fox hype-ticker?? At least the WSJ has the dignity to be a *news* organization before they’re a bunch of flaks for power-monkeys. A guy’s verbal gaffe vs. actual party corruption? God I hope I can make it through election day without throwing up. These people need real lives.

  14. RC DEAN:

    You’re fantastic. A guy to you is a genuine mensch when he serves in the forces; except when he’s someone you disagree with. Then he’s a lying liar.

    The whole BS about Kerry’s records is a non event that kooks like you hook on cause you desperatelty need to provide some cover to validate slander.

    I think it’s a disgrace to go after people who’ve served honorably in aid of those who talk a lot of patriotic hoo-haa, but have only ever used public office for venal partisan ends.

  15. On the other hand, you gotta admit “Politician in Graft Scandal” is a little bit of a “Dog Chases Cat” story.

    “Politician Who Doesn’t Take Bribes, Won’t Pork Barrel, % Won’t Cater to Special Interests Wins Election”
    THAT would be a story.

  16. The Kerry gaffe is non-trivial only in the sense that it is about 2008.

    Kerry is cycling out of Presidential politics forever, and that’s a break for the Democrats! The doddering old idiot CAN’T stop talking about Viet Nam, and since his war stories are mostly bullshit anyway, he therefore can’t help putting his foot in his mouth.

    When a prospective Presidential nominee has to disappear for fear of harming his party in the mid-terms he’s not even running in, he can safely be consigned to the trash-heap, with Dukakis and Carter.

    Now Mass. has two Senators their party winces to recall.

  17. Frankly, I’m amazed that any respectable news organization thinks the Kerry quote is news at all. My local paper (the Newark Star-Ledger) had it as the lead story, which helpfully for the Republicans pushed to the side the real story of the day — that the military has acceded to the Iraq Prime Minister’s demand to stop looking for a kidnapped soldier in Sadr City.

  18. Respectable media outlets are writing about a campaign stunt in which the presdident dummied up some feigned indignation about something that came out of John Kerry’s mouth.

    The quote itself wasn’t treated as news by anything more respectable than Matt Drudge.

  19. jp: “I guess the fact that the WSJ devoted one of its editorials today to Kerry’s making an ass of himself (again) doesn’t count.”

    Ledeen is bitching about the News part of the WSJ, rather than the Insane Clown Posse part. Those who believe the ICP page (AKA Editorial Page) are already hard-core GOP voters. Putting something in the News part would put it in front of more readers; also, the News part includes the front page, which would get even more people to see the article.

  20. See a tongue-in-cheek posting that employs the same GOP tactic used in relation to Senator Kerry to creatively interpret remarks made by the President in the most unfavorable manner…here:

    http://www.thoughttheater.com

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