Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Kerry Doffs the Gloves

"Having another go?" Peter S. Canellos, columnist for the Boston Globe seems to think that "Kerry's decision to lead last week's unsuccessful filibuster of Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s Supreme Court nomination" could well "end up being his smartest political move in a long time."
The gratitude of liberal activists who hate Alito will be helpful if Kerry runs for president again. His willingness to pick up the flag and fight when no one except Edward M. Kennedy was willing to join him may impress those who think Kerry is a flip-flopper who has never exerted leadership in the Senate. And even the ridicule may be useful, in the sense that voters need to purge their frustration with Kerry before reconsidering him.
Canellos can't help himself from including the right wing snark about Kerry annoucing the filibuster from Davos, which was not exactly the case (see here). However, Cannellos points out "Kerry may now be better able to take these hits, because voters have had a chance to get to know his quirks." He also notes that "Republicans, who tend to run for president multiple times, have discovered that voters can be more forgiving the second time around." Indeed running again worked for Reagan and Bush, Sr.:
Ronald Reagan's bellicose rhetoric was less of a problem in 1980 than in 1976; George H. W. Bush's preppy expressions didn't rankle as much in 1988 as in 1980; and Bob Dole's grumpiness didn't raise as many red flags in 1996 as in 1988. It's very likely that no one will worry about John McCain being too tightly wound in 2008, because voters will have had eight years to assess him.
Pointing to possible Kerry flaws, Cannellos says, "Like many people, Kerry has strengths and weaknesses that spring from the same well." Again the reiterated Rovian talking points comes out here: "The oblivious, slightly above-it-all quality that had prevented him from connecting with some voters in 2004" but he notes it is also "the same quality that has prevented him from being deterred by rampant skepticism about another presidential run.



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