. . . Friday February 13, 2004

Kerry Mandering

Yes much of the blogging world (and even some in the “mainstream” media) has been abuzz with the rumors of a possible Kerry affair with an intern for the A.P. And yes it comes from the same source as the intern scandal to end all intern scandals (and I’m not just talking about the fact that they didn’t go all the way). But does it matter? I mean does it really matter to you whether or not a guy running for office turned an internship into ratings-grabbing episode of The Real World? Maybe it matters if you want to look at one’s judgement when one knows they will be in a presidential race (which many of these guys knew about the same time their parents transitioned them to solid food).

But ultimately, to me, it doesn’t matter. Other people’s sex lives are their own business – unless of course a candidate for higher office has an affair with someone whose goals could be perceived as being detrimental to the country as a whole (say if, for example, Kerry was schtooping Mullah Omar). Other than that, I don’t care what goes on behind bedroom doors. More people at home having sex just means fewer people out looking for parking.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We don’t even know if there is scandal at all (in fact, it’s looking more and more like the story was garbage). But here’s why it’s worth thinking about. Democrats need to ask themselves the question: If Kerry did get tagged with a scandal, could he survive? Not should he, but could he? Clinton had virtually no problem. But he was a rockstar. He was not a pragmatic choice and simply the guy his team believed could win. At the peak of his first campaign, hell, we all would’ve gone for it. But Kerry emerged as a pack leader late in this game. He did not have the grassroots surge of say a Howard Dean. He rose to the surface because of the word that has come to define this political season for Dems: Electability. But if that is a candidate’s most prominent selling point, can he survive the mini-tsunami that would roll into town along with the hint of a Monica sequel, no matter how absurd the whole thing might seem? Do Dems love John Kerry enough to stand by him when he starts taking major shots? Would it all seem worth the effort? If the answer is anything other than a resounding yes, then one has to wonder what that portends – even without the emergence of a ridiculous, sidetracking scandal. Because the one thing we can all be sure of is that the going will get tough.

Concentration is important!