Carol Platt Liebau: Living in Dreamland

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Living in Dreamland

The Boston Globe's Peter Canellos apparently feels that it's a realistic ambition for John Kerry to seek the presidency again.

Canellos reasons that the electorate may have had time to get used to Kerry's "quirks" -- in much the same way that "Ronald Reagan's bellicose rhetoric was less of a problem in 1980 than in 1976; George H. W. Bush's preppy expressions didn't rankle as much in 1988 as in 1980; and Bob Dole's grumpiness didn't raise as many red flags in 1996 as in 1988."

Interesting analysis, but ultimately wrong, in my view. First, Democrats aren't Republicans. They tend (in my experience) to have less tolerance for their losing candidates than Republicans do (think of the treatment of Michael Dukakis vs. that of Bob Dole, and of how much longer it took Jimmy Carter to be welcomed back to a convention than Gerald Ford). Second, when they got their "second chances," Reagan, Bush I and Dole hadn't already won the nomination and then been defeated by a hated opponent the way that Kerry was.

Finally, Kerry was never the first choice of most Democratic voters. He was the one they deemed most electable, in a cynical calculus that a decorated Vietnam veteran could get away most easily with being dovish on the war. Kerry isn't likable, he isn't relatable, and he isn't even consistent (except in pursuing his own self-interest).

It would be nothing less than shocking if he's able to gain any meaningful traction in 2008 at all.


Blogger Bachbone said...

When we're "over the hill," we're generally the last to recognize that fact.

5:31 PM  

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