. . . Wednesday July 14, 2004

Hearing (Thousands of) Voices in His Head

A few weeks ago, I was at an event where Kerry strategist Bob Shrum was speaking. When he was done, almost every hand in a very crowded room went up. That’s the way it is at Democratic functions. A lot of people show up and almost everyone has a question (or more accurately, an urgent piece of advice). We all have a notepad on which we scribble our latest ideas for campaign slogans or ad taglines. Occasionally we’ll type up a Convention speech and email it into the someone at the party. At the the above-mentioned event, one guy spent ten minutes explaining to Shrum that the campaign really needs to spend more money in the state of California. It was a crazy piece of advice. But it was delivered passionately.

Now, only a few months before the campaign, an article in the Washington Post titled Kerry’s Inner Circle Expands

questions whether or not Kerry’s team of “official” advisors has grown too large.

The Republicans will pounce on this as evidence that Kerry needs help in defining himself. The notion, I suppose, is that any candidate for president really only needs three advisors. In Bush’s case, it’s Rove, Cheney and Jesus. If I were to run for office, I would probably only accept feedback from what I call my Neurosis Triangle (my mom, my rabbi and my shrink).

In truth, I think having a lot of advisors on various matters is probably a good thing. But there is something for Kerry to keep his eye on here. The Democratic party is experiencing a very high level of enthusiasm. But that enthusiasm is being spread across the Anyone But Bush spectrum. Eventually, that energy needs to be honed and directed in a single direction. That direction has got to be wherever John Kerry is standing. And the transition should start by the time he’s standing at the podium at the Convention.

Concentration is important!