January 7, 2007

"One of the biggest acts of political malpractice in the history of American politics."

According to Terry McAuliffe's new memoir, “What a Party! My Life Among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators and Other Wild Animals,” that would be John Kerry's decision to forbid attacks on George W. Bush at the 2004 Democratic convention. Yes, that was Kerry's big problem all right. He was just too darned nice to his opponents.

14 comments:

ShoelimpyĆ¢„¢ said...

Kerry's biggest problem in 2004 was that he was John Kerry.

Ron said...

Meanwhile, back on the Earth where the Dems were not so lovey-dovey towards Bush in '04...Earth-Kerry plans to run again, thus showing Campaign Alzheimers...Theresa Heinz now only has 55 more ways to screw up the party...

dklittl said...

I definitely think that Kerry made much bigger mistakes than this, but the Republicans had a convention with 3/4ths of their delegation with either a pair of flip-flops in their hand or a fake purple heart on their forehead. No one is saying that Bush wasn't a target, but if you just look at the conventions, the Republican's was much more personal in its attacks against Kerry.

Anonymous said...

Clinton was a political savant, he wouldn't let an attack from the roaming packs of jackals go unanswered in the very same day. Why Kerry didn't respond to the Swiftliars is beyond me. But Kerry ain't too bright either.

hdhouse said...

I'd rather have a condidate with some ethics than a spineless idiot who trots out Rove and other lifeless pimps.

Anonymous said...

Democrats are seldom more nauseating than when they are in "we are just too darn nice and decent for our own good" mode.

Kerry was plenty negative on Bush in '04. The problem was the way he was negative. It was his snobby, Chatsworth W. Osborne demeanor, mixed in with the phony macho and sense of entitlement that did him in. "Oh do lets remove this beastly commoner from our midst and put our kind of people in charge."

The other b.s. that Kerry supporters repeat is that Kerry should have responded to the Swift Boat crew attacks. In this they are right, but not for the reasons they think. The Kerry campaign's response was to disdain them as riff-raff -- as if no discerning person would entertain such vulgar notions about St. John. The swiftboaters perhaps could have been taken on factually, and where they were wrong on the facts, overcome. But instead it was like: These people don't deserve a hearing.

The problem with Kerry is he was Thurston Howell III running against Gilligan. In a perfect world, that wouldn't be the choice, but between those two, it's not surprising the majority picked Gilligan.

BTW, I voted for Thursty.

The Drill SGT said...

Terry McAuliffe is an excellent example of sleaze. I don't trust him or anything he says.

Steven said...

Given what Kerry said on television when he was a VVAW, either his service in Vietnam was more dishonorable than avoiding service (because he said he committed war crimes), or he came home from honorable service and spent his time slandering his fellow servicemen.

As soon as the issue came up in the campaign, there was only one method of damage control available to him -- he could disavow everything he said when he was in VVAW and write it off to youthful indiscretion. The problem with that is that it would have forced him to jettison all his "I'm a vet" rhetoric, because a youthful indiscretion defense means "ignore what I did back then".

It was a package. If he defended his service in Vietnam, he'd have to defend his VVAW statements, too. And if he ran in 2004 saying, "Yeah, I was a war criminal, and that's why you should vote for me instead of for Bush", I think that might have hurt him a teeny bit more among the average American than not answering Swift Boat Vet attacks.

vbspurs said...

The problem with Kerry is he was Thurston Howell III running against Gilligan

Damn. This is why I came back to Althouse.

Where else can you get these incontinent-making comments on blogosphere?

Cheers,
Victoria

Tim said...

Kerry had plenty of problems, presumably too many to win; but given how the down ticket races also turned out, there is slight evidence that any Democrat would have been able to overcome the Party's yearning for defeat in Iraq to win the presidency.

joewxman said...

Actually i always thought that john kerry was the result of what happens when you have a head on collision between Thurston Howell
and Herman Munster!

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Gilligan's wife, Mary Ann, was selected by a wide margin over Lovey.

Victoria: Depends.

Seven Machos said...

I have long argued that John Kerry was the worst presidential candidate that the Democrats could have nominated. Bush was beatable in 2000 and 2004 but the opposition was weak. Gore and Kerry -- rich and Ivy-League educated people -- were laughable trying to pull off being Men of the People.

Kerry had some good campaign strategies. I think it's pretty obvious that someone in his campaign colluded with people at CBS on the ill-fated National Guard story that blew up on CBS. He tried and failed to get John McCain as his vice-presidential candidate, which would have been a tremendous boost. His goofy salute during his self-written acceptance speech no doubt seemed like a home run to him.

Kerry's problem is that he has no skills as a retail politician. Bush, for all his faults does. Clinton obviously does. Reagan did. If you want to be president, you have to be able to connect with people, and defend and attack the opposition in a street-fighting yet populist way. Kerry could not do any of this at all. Hence, when his strategic political ideas failed, or encountered opposition, he was doomed to fail.

Henry said...

My question for McAuliffe isn't whether or not he is intentionally being disingenous... my question is: Who watches conventions?

I suspect that the Kerry team felt that with their netroots wielding the long knives, they could take the high road. Really, this was not a bad strategy. They were well aware that the furious Al Gore looked like he was about to pop his collar at any minute in 2000 -- hardly a way to inspire trust. They watched Howard Dean blow himself up with his short-fuse. They knew that giving Kerry live verbal ammunition put the candidate in danger of wounding himself more than his foes.

The problem was that setting Kerry on the high road accentuated his worst quality -- the supercilious laziness that made him disdain the practical demand of the public; that is, to explain his own positions clearly.