Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Clinton’s advice on Kerry’s downward slide

The NY Times describes the "slow motion shakeup" of the Kerry campaign. Notice the irony that Bill Clinton, from his hospital room, (he is in surgery as I write, and I wish him well) has an hour and a half conversation--the night before his surgery--with Kerry in which he tells Kerry what to do in what’s left of the campaign. He tells him that he has to make a clear distinction between himself and Bush, he must give people reasons to vote for him! It seems that more of Clinton’s people (and Hillary’s) are being placed on the Kerry team (Sasso, Wolfson, Sosnik, Lokhart, Johnson, Greenberg, et al). Clinton told Kerry to do this, according to the NY Times: "In an expansive conversation, Mr. Clinton, who is awaiting heart surgery, told Mr. Kerry that he should move away from talking about Vietnam, which had been the central theme of his candidacy, and focus instead on drawing contrasts with President Bush on job creation and health care policies, officials with knowledge of the conversation said."

I find all this quite remarkable. But not only in the sense that there is a campaign shake-up; these things do happen when you are behind. What I find amazing is that--as far as I can tell--Kerry has no idea, and never has had an idea, on how to run his campaign. He simple takes suggestions from the Democratic elites, whether a Kennedy or a Clinton. They advise him to make his Vietnam experience an issue, then to take Edwards as his running mate, then not to respond to attacks on his Vietnam and post-Vietnam life, but not talk about his Senate career, then to hold a midnight rally after the GOP convention, then to start talking only about domestic issues, and so on. And everyone has been sucked in by the theory--pushed hard in the media--that there are no swing voters, that the electorate is polarized just like it was back in 2000. Clearly, if you assumed that, you assumed that 9/11 was unimportant, as was Bush’s reaction to it. Not possible. The eleven point swing proves it. Does Kerry have any ideas of his own about his own campaign? Does he have any judgment?

Discussions - 2 Comments

Danger danger John boy! Hillary wants to be president in four years and she isn’t going to do anything to help you be an impediment to that. But perhaps she could get you to bow out of this race in her favor.... nahhhh That is too risky.

There is no way for that to happen now. Even if (God forbid) Kerry were to die, Edwards wouldn’t sit still for it, nor should he: he ran for the nomination and she didn’t.

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