Time For Al Gore To Have A Talk With John Kerry?
John Kerry, fresh from his concession speech to George Wormwood Bu$h, says he'd run again:
Sen. John Kerry, who has $45 million left from his record-breaking Democratic campaign, hinted on Tuesday that he may try again for the presidency.
In his first extensive interview since his Nov. 2 defeat, Kerry was asked by the Fox News affiliate in Boston about running again in 2008 and reminded the questioner that Ohio is still counting votes from 2004.
He then said, “It is so premature to be thinking about something that far down the road. What I’ve said is I’m not opening any doors, I’m not shutting any doors.” Kerry added, “If there’s a next time, we’ll do a better job. We’ll see.”
Frankly, Senator, if the Ohio vote count DOESN'T turn the results around, I'd consider staying in the Senate if I was you - I wouldn't support you again, and from the sound of things, I don't think your party will either:
Democratic Party leaders said Wednesday they want to know why Sen. John Kerry ended his presidential campaign with more than $15 million in the bank, money that could have helped Democratic candidates across the country. "Democrats are questioning why he sat on so much money that could have helped him defeat George Bush or helped down-ballot races, many of which could have gone our way with a few more million dollars," said Donna Brazile, campaign manager for Al Gore's 2000 presidential race.
Brazile is a member of the 400-plus member Democratic National Committee, which meets early next year to pick a new party chairman. One high-ranking member of the DNC, speaking on condition of anonymity, said word of Kerry's nest egg has stirred anger on the committee and could hurt his chances of putting an ally in the chairmanship.
Congressional Democrats and labor leaders also privately questioned Kerry's motives. One said he would personally ask the Massachusetts senator to donate some of the money to the Democratic House and Senate campaign committees.
Three former Kerry campaign aides, also demanding anonymity out of concerns about alienating their former boss, said they were surprised and disappointed to learn that he left so much money in the bank.
Kerry had roughly $45 million left in his primary campaign fund as of mid-October, according to his Federal Election Commission report, and could use that as seed money for another presidential bid.
Some said he will be pressured to give the money to Democratic campaign committees rather than save it for a potential White House bid in 2008.
OK - so your party wants to swallow the money. That isn't the only hit you're taking today:
A Democrat whose organization spent about $6 million to get out the Hispanic vote for Sen. John Kerry criticized the campaign's effort on Tuesday and warned that Democrats risk becoming a permanent minority if they don't do a better job.
"John Kerry did not compete adequately for Hispanic votes, period," said Simon Rosenberg, founder and president of the centrist New Democrat Network. "If we don't reverse the gains that President Bush made, we can forget our hope of being a majority party again."
Exit polls conducted for The Associated Press and television networks showed Bush winning 44 percent of the Hispanic vote, up from 35 percent in 2000. Kerry won 53 percent, down from 62 percent four years ago for Democrat Al Gore.
Rosenberg, 41, is considering a bid for chairman of the Democratic National Committee, but said the DNC and the Kerry campaign mistakenly assumed Hispanics would be part of their base vote, while the fast-growing Hispanic community is increasingly a swing voter group.
Among Rosenberg's complaints were the Kerry campaign and the DNC lacked a national strategy for Hispanics and did not spend enough money on advertising, enough time campaigning in Hispanic communities and employ enough people on the get-out-the-vote effort.
There's that money thing again.
Tony Welch, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, said the DNC had its most extensive outreach to Hispanics in its history in 2004. He added, "as we saw in the election results, Democrats are going to have to work even harder for Hispanic voters because they are a key part of any winning Democratic formula."
But this 'Night of the Wrong Knives' isn't over yet! The Democrats themselves have a lambasting pending!
John Kerry, Al Gore and Michael Dukakis -- three of the last four Democratic standard-bearers -- never really delivered a compelling message to American voters. And there were times during each of their presidential campaigns when the candidates knew it, when they sensed they weren't connecting, brought in new advisers and asked what it was they stood for.
The insider accounts of the Kerry campaign that are emerging have a sickening familiarity to them. The Boston Globe tells of Paul Begala, who helped Bill Clinton win two presidential races, descending on Kerry headquarters, white board in hand, scribbling a dozen suggested lines of attack against George Bush on it, and imploring the campaign to choose one and stick with it. The papers are full of Kerry aides attesting that they never knew what the campaign's message was, and there are accounts of Kerry himself chafing at the confusion.
Some of that confusion flowed directly from the candidate. John Kerry's career has had genuine high points -- his leadership of Vietnam vets against the war, his blowing the whistle on the Iran-contra and the Bank of Commerce and Credit International scandals, his battle against drilling for oil in Arctic wildlife areas -- but they are triumphs of opposition, of liberalism out of power thwarting abuses of power. Kerry never settled into a stump speech in which he said what he most wanted to do if voters handed him power, what world he wanted to build with the tools of the presidency. Voters got a sense of what he wanted to stop, but not, it seems, what he wanted to start.
The themelessness isn't simply Kerry's, however, any more than it was simply Gore's or Dukakis's. Time was when the Democrats were the party of economic justice and opportunity, the party that championed emerging constituencies as well as classes: Catholics, blacks, women. They were the party of the many against the powerful, which played a lot better in the electoral arena than being the party of the one against the many. But, with the signal exception of Clinton's '92 campaign -- a brilliant mix of economic progressivism and cultural centrism -- the Democrats haven't been able to persuade enough voters to choose them as their champions for a very long time. And Clinton's ability to deliver on that promise once in office was a sometime thing. Full employment made life better for the people at the bottom of the economy. But the erosion of the decent jobs of the old industrial economy never really stopped (and, of course, has escalated greatly under Bush), and the jobs that replaced them more often than not offered lower pay, fewer benefits and less security. The Wal-Mart economy has grown on both the Democrats' and Republicans' watch.
From Ronald Reagan to Newt Gingrich and now to George Bush, the Republicans have developed a clear response to these changes: They are the party of risk, which they call "opportunity." This is most certainly not why Bush won reelection; Americans are not pining to pay for their health coverage or retirement or college tuition with no assist from their employers or their government.
Historically the Democrats have been the party of security, but that's an identity they need to reclaim. The challenge of radical Islam demands more of them than a foreign policy of realpolitik; empiricism -- while a welcome counter to Bush's indifference to fact -- is not enough. The challenge of a global labor market demands more of them than a commitment to mid-career retraining; defending the American middle class means creating the kind of global standards that the Democrats created on the national level during the 1930s and '40s, the time of their greatest popularity. That's a daunting challenge, one that requires the Democrats to think and develop a story about the new threats to the American dream. If they do they'll come up with a more plausible list of culprits -- and solutions -- than the Republicans ever will. They may even come up with a new sense of self, with a purpose, with a theme.
They better - or they will be standing in the retirement line behind the Whigs and the Bull Moose Parties.
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