Wednesday :: Nov 12, 2003

Tuesday With Jay and John


by Steve

As you may have noticed, I have been away from the blog since Monday afternoon. I was out of town for a quick overnighter with family down in LA. As I was leaving for LA on Monday night, the story was breaking that John Kerry was doing something that he should have done months ago, sacking campaign manager Jim Jordan. For me, the move that Kerry finally made came after watching him spend valuable time first ignoring Howard Dean's rise in the spring, then focusing too much on pummeling Dean in a doomed effort to retake the lead in New Hampshire. Instead of playing for the long haul and establishing beachheads later in the primaries and allowing others to go after Dean, Kerry has decided to make up for having his campaign go to sleep while Dean took their lunch by going overboard on an all-consuming Get Howard campaign.

As luck would have it, while we were in LA, I attended the Tonight Show last night when Kerry was on. I had decided earlier in the day to back off of my support for Kerry, due to my dissatisfaction with the direction of his campaign, the lack of any likely victories, and the reaction of his staff to Jordan's sacking, two more of whom have subsequently left. Again, I wasn't against Jordan being canned, I was against the fact that Kerry waited months too long after the cows had left the barn. I am also concerned about his overall detachment from the day to day campaign workers.

Then I watched Kerry in person on the show last night. After the staged entry on the Harley, he seemed uncomfortable in dealing with Leno's softball questions, trying to get laughs with lines that didn't work, and unable to make short concise points in a flowing conversation. All in all, he wasn't good for a guy who has been in the public eye for over a decade, who knows more than most of his contemporaries, and should by now be comfortable in his own skin. Worse yet, as you can see from some of the press coverage of Kerry’s appearance, he gets rapped for using a borrowed Harley, and for “generating few laughs.” The media sharks have made their mind up already it seems.

Unfortunately, this is really an indictment of our political culture, where a well-qualified man who would probably make a damn good president will never get there because he can't speak in soundbites, act comfortable in an interview, and tell good jokes. But to be successful these days in politics, one must have those requisite skills before voters pay attention beyond that. Or, if you can’t do those things because you are too craven and intellectually lazy, you surround yourself with the best slime that your party has to offer. And as a result, we end up with corrupt weasels like Bush.

I respect John Kerry for what he has done for his party, and the service he has provided to his country. He is a better man than many of his Democratic competitors, and is a proven winner both in Washington and in Massachusetts. He may still recover with the help of the Massachusetts gang and do the things that he should have been doing all along. But to see a man unpopular within his own campaign, apparently detached from his staff, and unable to tell audiences concisely why it is important for him to be president, it tells me that Kerry at this late stage still isn’t ready for prime time.

Steve :: 11:21 PM :: Comments (19) :: Digg It!