Sunday, January 02, 2005

NEWSWEEK EXCLUSIVE: Kerry on Post-Election

The January 10 issue of Newsweek (on newstands tomorrow, January 3) will feature an exclusive interview with John Kerry.

In a press release regarding the interview Newsweek says that Kerry called a Newsweek reporter to his Boston home to discuss Newsweek's election issue, which featured an article about Kerry that he felt was "unduly harsh and gossipy about him, his staff and his wife."

No doubt, Kerry supporters felt that the same way about that post election article. And now, as one of those "intensely loyal" supporters, mentioned below, one has to wonder about the timing of this Newsweek article and why it was not released weeks ago?

"I'm not going to lick my wounds or hide under a rock or disappear. I'm going to learn. I've had disappointments and I've learned to cope. I've lost friends, a marriage: I've lost things in life."

Kerry talks with Newsweek about the campaign, why he lost and what's ahead for him. He did not wish to be directly quoted touting himself, however; he did not wish to appear defensive or boastful. When asked why he lost the election, Kerry points to history and, in a somewhat inferential, roundabout way, to his own failure to connect to voters -- a failure that kept him from erasing the Bush campaign's portrait of him as a flip-flopper, reports Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas. Kerry said that he was proud of his campaign, that he had nearly defeated a popular incumbent who had enjoyed a three-year head start on organizing and fund-raising. Sitting presidents are never defeated in wartime, he insisted (true, though two, LBJ and Harry Truman, chose not to run for another term during Vietnam and Korea).

While he quarreled with descriptions of his speaking style as "soporific," Kerry tacitly acknowledged that he failed to connect with enough voters on a personal level. Jose Ferreira, Kerry's nephew, told his uncle, "Some people are saying that your candidacy was driven by ABB [Anything But Bush]." Kerry replied: "Do you think so?" Ferreira said that once people got to know Kerry, they were intensely loyal. "Those are the people I let down," Kerry said, falling silent. In conversation with Newsweek, Kerry seemed particularly interested in trying to find a way to speak to ordinary voters that didn't sound too grandiose or "political." Though Kerry did not directly criticize his friend Bob Shrum, it's clear he did not feel well served by his message makers and speechwriters.


20 Comments:

Blogger Pamela Leavey said...

Newsweek story is now available online -
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6777696/site/newsweek/

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe those who get to "know [Kerry] are intensely loyal"--I know I 'had his back' for a year before the primaries started, went full throttle through the election, and the pain after the election, well... but after this fluffy Newsweek article I'm not so sure I really "know" Kerry anymore. Why didn't Kerry even bother to address the truly serious issues of the 2004 election, especially voter disenfranchisement--yet again of black voters (*when* will the right of every voter to have their vote counted ever mean anything to these guys)? Why has he said absolutely nothing about the issues that the 59 mil who voted for him care about: the Iraq disaster, the economy, health care, jobs, the environment, education, natural disasters of momentous magnitude--why has he *nothing* to say about any of this? If his only question after all of this is "how to speak to the ordinary voter" then he isn't the man I thought he was. And I am not asking that he put his full policy platform to Newsweek, I only want to hear that he has the courage of his convictions. After this article I feel that he has left those of us who put our hopes, beliefs, and trust in him in 2004 as just "ABB voters" and not Kerry supporters. I know I was *for Kerry* but now I feel duped and betrayed by Kerry himself. I don't think he'll ever know how to speak
"to the ordinary voter"--there is know 'how'--you just do it, but you have to be genuine. If Kerry doesn't even care enough to protect voters after what we've gone through these past 2 election cycles, then he is not the man to help us Americans out of this disaster.

2:21 PM  
Blogger MarjorieG said...

Anonymous

I think it is Newsweek's interest not be helpful, by going with what seems an older story in this cycle not reflecting any election issues of fraud, or anything. Written by Eleanor Clift, a Dean supporter then, now, and forever, may be doing her own mischief. It certainly isn't the story we need to see as votes are ceritified safely for Bush, and I think that is deliberate.

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Newsweek didn't publish the comments Kerry may have made about his commitment to ensure that all votes count and **will be counted** then I expect him to bring this up in any venue he can. He hasn't done or said anything yet about voter disenfranchisement--what effort there is in Ohio is solely due to the efforts of the Green and Libertarian parties, and Jesse Jackson et al. Nor has Kerry even hinted that he cares about any real grassroots reorganising of the Dem party--who does he support as chair, which are the "Dem" issues that cannot be compromised on? What about the Gitmo detainees that even the SCOTUS says have the right of habeas corpus? What about anything? I was all over the blogs during the election cycle saying that Kerry never received media attention and that what attention was given was distorted. I could appreciate some caution then, but now, NO EXCUSE: he couldn't have run in the Ukraine.

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And where is Kerry on Al "Abu Ghraib" Gonzales, whose hearing for nomination for AG is set to start this coming Thursday? Will he miss these hearings? And as for any senator standing in protest with a Representative from the House on electoral certification--not for his candidacy but for disenfranchised voters?

3:44 PM  
Blogger MarjorieG said...

Anonymous, I am sure it helps for you to feel mad and cast blame, hoping he'd fall on the sword for the injustices we see. That wouldn't accomplish anything in the face of whatever is unprovable, and I think no matter what he did, it wouldn't be appropriate and enough for all his supporters. He can't wave a magic wand.

The article's timing conincides with a push on their part for Loser Kerry material, as their story pre-written of his loss before election day. It was preordained. We don't know if Kerry lost, or by how much, so that's where we remain. The media seems not want another outcome, as they didn't throughout the campaign.

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not asking that Kerry 'fall on his sword' (he and the Dem party have done that already)--but if he thinks that smiling and doing little "interviews" serve to lay the groundwork for his 'grassroots' presidential candidacy, he is wrong. There are post-election voting issues which need immediate attention and action, a transparent system that tracks votes and gives citizens redress. He isn't entitled to the presidency, he has to earn it, and to earn it he needs to decide what he stands for and state it clearly, no ambiguity, and to all. This does not exclude nuance, but it does exclude time-serving.

5:12 PM  
Blogger MarjorieG said...

Anonymous, I really think this was to be a small interview to address the really over-the-top article after the election, nothing more. That Newseek held it, and is promoting it as something more, is very unfortunate. I am going to DC, hopefully, for the 6th, so I'm in sync with the need to discover the fraud and undermine this adminstration, but the Ohio Supreme Court was always going to be the problem, and 3M+ down, an even greater one.

5:29 PM  
Blogger Ron Chusid said...

In the long run, Kerry is doing the right thing in being quiet about Ohio. This is not about Ohio. We see in retrospect that he was correct about not having the votes in the provissional ballots or absentee ballots.

Concentrating on Ohio (unless there is hard evidence of actual fraud) is a mistake. It will be interpreted in two ways--either as being sore losers, or as being irrelevant as the recount showed those who protested about Ohio were wrong.

There are major issues to be addressed in the next year, but we do not want those who support our efforts to be limited to those who think Kerry should have been elected. These battles need to be fought on principle, not as a partisan issue based upon the 2004 election.

Hopefully we can get many people in the middle to agree with election reform regardless of how they voted in 2004--which is necessary for success. This won't happen if it is seen as a Kerry vs. Bush dispute.

7:10 PM  
Blogger MarjorieG said...

You always have a way with words, Ron. Agree on all counts.

7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I can see that this blog is not for the people who voted for Kerry, but for your notions of what Kerry's political motives might be in speaking out against voter disenfranchisement in Ohio. If he wishes to be the *44th* POTUS then it is not a wise political move to address the issue of voter disenfranchisement--and you all are doing a great job of framing the issue in terms of Kerry himself. It's a "Kerry/Bush issue"? Really? So disenfranshised voters in a number of states don't matter, only Kerry's political plans matter? Protecting our democracy, our Constitutional rights, does this fit in somewhere in anyone's political strategy? Of course the Republicans will have their own array of attack materiel to launch. No matter what, the voters lose, the Constitution continues to lose significance and as a consequence, it won't matter who wins, because by them it will be only about the winner. But let's destroy the village in order to save it. And let's surround Kerry by yes-men since Bush proves that this is a successful strategy.

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I can see that this blog is not for the people who voted for Kerry, but for your notions of what Kerry's political motives might be in speaking out against voter disenfranchisement in Ohio. If he wishes to be the *44th* POTUS then it is not a wise political move to address the issue of voter disenfranchisement--and you all are doing a great job of framing the issue in terms of Kerry himself. It's a "Kerry/Bush issue"? Really? So disenfranshised voters in a number of states don't matter, only Kerry's political plans matter? Protecting our democracy, our Constitutional rights, does this fit in somewhere in anyone's political strategy? Of course the Republicans will have their own array of attack materiel to launch. No matter what, the voters lose, the Constitution continues to lose significance and as a consequence, it won't matter who wins, because by them it will be only about the winner. But let's destroy the village in order to save it.

8:23 PM  
Blogger Ron Chusid said...

Your're missing the point. If we want to be successful in protecting the right to vote, we need to make voting itself the issue. This will not be done if fought in the context of a Bush vs. Kerry (post) election battle.

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Voter disenfranchisement became the central and unresolved, unaddressed issue of the 2000 election. And it happened again in 2004. This *is* about Gore, Bush, Kerry, and the votes that people cast in both elections for those candidates and what may have happened to some of those votes, as a winning strategy, in both elections. So yes, it is about Kerry and Bush, and since Bush won't speak up, one would hope that Kerry would. That he won't, and that so many of his supporters don't expect him to, well, that says a lot. To Bush the votes were marked for disenfranchisment, to Kerry, the voters were disenfranchised, but who cares?

9:13 PM  
Blogger Ron Chusid said...

Still missing the point. Yes, on one level, it is about Kerry/Bush and Gore/Bush. If we fight it at that level, it is a difficult fight to win for reasons discussed above.

Our chances for making changes are better if fought as a battle on principle for fair elections. There are people in the middle who would agree in principle that efforts need to be done to have reasonable waiting times, penalize those who engage in fradulent voter suppression activites, have a paper trail for computer ballots, etc. If fought as a nonparitsan issue, we have a chance to win. If fought as a remnant of the Kerry campaign, we allow the right wing noise machine to tear the effort apart and greatly reduce the chances of success.

The important thing is that we accomplish election reform, not whether we protest that Gore and Kerry should have won.

9:44 PM  
Blogger Bob Evans said...

Anonymous,

John Kerry WAS involved in votergate lawsuits in Ohio, first in preventing the efforts of Delaware County to exclude itself from the statewide recount, then in seeking to preserve voting materials as evidence in all 88 Ohio counties.

With polls showing that about two-thirds of Americans believe the election was fair and the results accurate, for Kerry to be out jumping up and down about a "stolen election" would risk losing all credibility. Jesse Jackson, John Conyers, and others have been calling attention to election issues.

Just because you don't see him in the headlines does not mean Sen. Kerry is doing nothing. As difficult as it was to get decent news coverage when he was a presidential candidate, it is more difficult now--and remember that Congress has been on holiday recess.

We'll hear more from Sen. Kerry soon, with his Middle East/Iraq trip and new legislation. As the Newsweek story reported:

"In the meantime Kerry is going to play the role of opposition leader. Next week he will . . . travel to the Middle East and Iraq. When he returns, he will introduce two bills in the Senate: to provide for health insurance for every child in America and to increase the size of the U.S. military by 40,000 troops."

11:32 PM  
Blogger Pamela Leavey said...

Thank you Bob Evans!

12:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a message for all 2 of you who post here. Since you don't want to say "voter disenfranchisement" I will: voter disenfranchisement is the issue! I don't know anyone who thinks Kerry won in 2004, although we know for a fact that Gore won in 2000. I don't think you have missed the point, it's that you and your candidate don't care about free and fair elections in which every voter will have their vote counted. Please, continue making your strawmen to argue with and pat youself on the back for winning the "arguement" and addressing the issues only as you see them. Yes, Kerry lost, and he lost for a lot of reasons, but that does not mean that voters should lose out too. I guess we'll just have to say that Bush and the Republicans care more about getting out the vote, making it easy and possible to vote, counting every vote than Kerry and the Democrats do about this--and that's why Bush won. At least Bush doesn't take the voters for granted on election day! Have fun wondering how to push voter reform when from the point of view of over half the country everything is just fine.

12:16 PM  
Blogger Pamela Leavey said...

Anonymous,

Thank you for showing your true colors and true loyalty to "W".

8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am really sorry that this is a party line blog: either one says you managers are 100% right 100% of the time or people support Bush (hey, Kerry shares common opinions with him). My Bush comments were sarcastic, but since there is specific, detailed, voter disenfranchisement in 2004 is not an issue for you, since voter suppression in 2004 is not an issue for you, since hundreds of deeply felt letters and interviews outlining these problems and the experiences of people who lived with it don't matter to you, you keep posting to zero comments--because, afterall, if one doesn't accept your deep knowledge and proven successful track record of victory, a commenter who disagrees is by your criteria, a zero. After 2000 there were still false felony lists which were again implemented in 2004, still voter intimidation tactics old and new which were implemented again, still too few ballot boxes, too few poll volunteers. But I guess your notion of being non-confrontational ensures that these won't be persistent problems, and they won't get worse, oh no. We won't ask anyone to say that these tactics were visited on minority communities in greater force than ever. But I guess it's a minority problem, eh? We don't want Kerry or you or Dems to stand with these voters, no, it's too, subject to name-calling. Well, just as sure as DWB in New Jersey is "asking for it" we can be sure that VWB is too much of a name-calling issue for you guys. Poor babies, my heart bleeds.

9:46 AM  

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