Join to Unseat the Common Foe
Now that John Kerry has all-but-formally been nominated as the Democratic presidential candidate, watching how he conducts his campaign is now of great interest. Having completed the arduous task of winning, it is now time to mend fences and build bridges.
According to this article, John Kerry is doing this, and rapidly. There also seems to be a deliberate response, quick, decisive, appropriate, in dealing with the surprises life throws.
Two formerly bitter Democratic rivals raised their hands in unison on Wednesday, meeting for the first time to plot the path to their mutual goal: ousting President Bush from the White House. Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, welcomed Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont who once seemed his chief political roadblock, to his headquarters here on Wednesday with an ovation by scores of staff members.
"During the campaign, we often focused on what divided us, but the truth is we have much more in common, beginning with our fervent desire to send George Bush back to Crawford, Tex., in November," Dr. Dean said in a statement after the session. "I will work closely with John Kerry to make sure we beat George Bush in November and turn our country around."
This is good news. The Democrats just might avoid forming the circular firing squad if this keeps up.
Dr. Dean made no official endorsement of Mr. Kerry but Democrats close to both men said they expect it to come before the end of the month, quashing any concerns in the party that Dr. Dean would not help the ticket. Aides to both men said Dr. Dean's formal endorsement was delayed partly because Dr. Dean planned to introduce a new political action group with a six-city tour starting next Thursday in Seattle, and partly because Dr. Dean needed more time to lay the groundwork with his supporters who remain hostile toward Mr. Kerry.
"He's got to have a dialogue with his people," said Steve Elmendorf, Mr. Kerry's deputy campaign manager, who sat in on part of the session with Dr. Dean. "We're not interested in endorsements in name only. We want endorsements that come with real support, and his does."
A top concern for both Mr. Kerry and Dr. Dean is Dr. Dean's ability to redirect the votes of supporters who might otherwise be attracted to Ralph Nader's campaign as an independent. "Governor Dean wants to make sure every single one of his supporters votes for the Democratic nominee," Jay Carson, a spokesman for Dr. Dean, said
Several Democrats said they expect the pair to campaign together as soon as March 25, when all the former Democratic candidates, along with former Democratic Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, gather in Washington for a Democratic National Committee gala.
The meeting was quickly followed by a session between Mr. Kerry and Terry McAuliffe, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, another part of a new campaign by the senator to forge alliances with vanquished opponents, cement control over the party apparatus and deploy Congressional colleagues as surrogates using the same script.
On Thursday, Senator John Edwards of North Carolina is expected to bring his fund-raising network to meet with Mr. Kerry, in what Kerry aides say is a sign both of teamwork and Mr. Edwards's desire to be as useful as possible, particularly while Mr. Kerry is shopping for a running mate.
Mr. Kerry is also scheduled to return to Capitol Hill to meet with the Democratic House and Senate delegations as well as the Congressional black and Hispanic caucuses.
To this pessimist, Kerry is doing all of the logical things one needs to do to win against a strong and organized opponent. I admit to having had serious doubts about his ability to be a leader, but by actions such as these, he is demonstrating to me that he can be a leader - a good one. As cited so far, Kerry is bridging to his top rivals, Edwards and Dean, is getting them to actively aid his campaign, and appears to be forging his administration already. This would be a good thing, for there's little time to waste, assuming right now that Kerry is victorious in an honest election, on forming a cabinet. The needs of the country will be even more pressing than they are now, and time is of the essense.
Kerry campaign officials say a key element of their effort to combat President Bush's huge edge in money and television advertising through the conventions this summer is to have local officials assail Mr. Bush or respond on Mr. Kerry's behalf in their home media markets, particularly in battleground states. The effort is being run by George Abar, Mr. Kerry's Senate legislative director. "Putting the party on alert that we don't have a single voice to spare is critical," a senior Kerry adviser said on the condition of anonymity.
This seems to me to be a wise move considering the vast chasm between Bush's war chest and Kerry's. This displays to me a sign of realistic problem analysis, and a practical solution to deal with it. I gain confidence with each move Kerry makes.
Kerry campaign officials said they plan to use surrogates more aggressively this year.
Now I have a problem with the word 'surrogate' as used in this context. I'm sure there is a better word choice out there. But Kerry is still making all of the right moves. For instance:
A Kerry official said that Mr. Gore's  campaign did not work closely with the Congressional Black Caucus until October of that year. By contrast, Mr. Kerry has already handed several of them prominent roles in his operation.
This is a very smart move. This takes the wind out of Al Sharpton's sails as the spokesman for American Black voters, which due to his usage of Bush political operatives in his campaign, can only be a good thing.
Now that I've given the evidence, let's see how it stacks up to the definition of leadership:
Leadership is a complex process by which a person influences others to accomplish a mission, task, or objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent. A person carries out this process by applying her leadership attributes (belief, values, ethics, character, knowledge, and skills). Power does not make you a leader...it simply makes you the boss. Leadership makes people want to achieve high goals and objectives.
So far, John Kerry seems to be demonstrating leadership, without which America is in for four more years of the First Pharisee and his Crusade for Crude. May he continue to do so, for his country needs a real leader.