Reports of Kerry’s Demise Are Premature

John Kerry is a terrible candidate. The Democrats turned to him in panic after Howard Dean screamed on national television; in a matter of a few weeks, Kerry went from single digits in New Hampshire to being the presumptive nominee. Now, as John Fund writes this morning, some Democrats are experiencing “buyer’s remorse:”

The Bush campaign “is kicking Kerry’s ass every damn day,” one prominent Democratic operative told the Washington Post last week. “Kerry hasn’t owned one day in the news yet. Not one day!”
Some liberals are so frantic that they want to pull the plug. Village Voice columnist James Ridgeway says prominent Democrats should “sit down with the rich and arrogant presumptive nominee and try to persuade him to take a hike” and withdraw. Call that the Torricelli option, after the former New Jersey senator who was muscled out of the race by party elders.
That’s not going to happen.

This is but one of many similar accounts of Democratic hand-wringing in recent days, some of which speculate that the Democrats may try to find a way to pull the plug on Kerry.
To which I say: Give me a break. Kerry is currently running neck and neck with the President in the polls, and Bush’s approval rating has fallen below 50%. The Iraq war may or may not be a disaster, but it is widely perceived as such, and it’s hard to see how that will change between now and November. The economy is booming, but I simply don’t believe the polls that say the economy is most voters’ biggest concern–not about the Presidential election, anyway.
Sure, it’s true that most people haven’t started paying attention, and are not yet tuned in to Kerry’s weaknesses. But they’re not tuned into his strengths, either. And he does have some, the principal one being that he didn’t start the war in Iraq. Roughly half the population will find that a sufficient reason to vote for him, and the election will go down to the wire. Far from dumping Kerry at their convention, the Democrats will most likely be hailing a candidate who, at that time, is leading in the polls.
DEACON agrees: Like all elections in which one candidate is the president, this one will be mostly about the incumbent. President Bush will be hard-pressed to win unless the military situation improves in Iraq. Voters won’t care whether it was ribbons or medals that Kerry tossed if, each weekend, a dozen Americans are killed in Iraq in an action that was taken due to WMD that haven’t been found.

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