I’ve written several times about the choice Democrats made in their primary. The Dems hired a resume. And that resume really only had to have one key line item in order for its author to get the nod.
Under relevant skills, that resume had to have the line:
“Can beat George W. Bush.”
John Kerry has won over a lot of people on his side of the field since then. Dems liked the Veep selection and, after a lackluster start, they stood on the couches in their living rooms during the campaign’s first debate.
But it’s still that one item on the resume that the Dems are counting on. They passed up the screaming and mercurial rise of the guy who grabbed the heart of the party. They said thanks but no thanks to the stump stylings of the smooth-talking counselor from Carolina. They wanted the guy who they thought could guide the party’s boat up that river to the White House.
This isn’t to say the Kerry campaign is not about ideas. Indeed, it is even more about ideas than it is about personality. But again, the number one idea that is felt in the gut in most Dems is that W must go.
Dana Milbank describes the different vibes one feels at a Bush campaign event vs a Kerry event. Both crowds are enthusiastic. But Bush is the rockstar (all right, maybe the country music star) playing to his base, leading the fervent and the faithful.
Kerry is more reserved. He gently reported for duty to join a wounded unit of followers still in shock and aw shucks from the last fight. He is the able leader with precise movements who has a suitcase filled with the right combination of levers, crow bars, scalpels, spatulas, pliers and pulleys (and on occasion, when absolutely necessary, a stiff right hook) to effectively evict the White House’ current resident.
If he succeeds in that goal, everything changes. Kerry becomes a legend. Dems will hold lighters in out-stretched arms and delight in the opportunity to throw their underwear onto his inaugural stage.
And in that smirkless moment of complete sentences and complex reasoning, everything Left shall be right. Bill will be healed. Al will be at peace. And Janeane will go back to standup.
But until then, the nays have it.