Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Kerry’s use of Cleland

Michael Crowley of The New Republic questions, harshly questions, whether Kerry should be using former Senator Max Cleland. A very good read. Here’s the last paragraph: "But does Cleland really send a much stronger message than Dukakis would? He brings no particular talent to Kerry’s campaign. Apart from his status as a brave war veteran, he sends no positive message to the public. As a Vietnam vet who tried and failed to fend off attacks on his national security credentials, he undermines the claim that Kerry’s own war record insulates him from similar attacks. What Cleland brings to Kerry’s campaign is the emotional power of victimization—a throwback to the worst of old-time Democratic Party politics, to its emphasis on victimhood over ability and virtue. But whereas in the past it was specific interest groups—minorities, women, gays—who were the noble victims, today it is the Democratic Party itself. Cleland is a reminder to fellow Democrats that they have spend the past three years being persecuted and that it’s time to start avenging their humiliations. That’s fine as far as it goes. But eventually Kerry will have to stand for something more than Bush hatred and payback. Revenge is not a campaign platform."  

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