It’s been my view that Republicans who think President Bush can be re-elected because John Kerry is a weak candidate are engaging in wishful thinking. To me, Kerry is essentially a generic opposition candidate who will capture just the number of votes that are to be had, given the president’s popularity — no more, no less. But my theory is being put to the test. For one thing, there’s the swift boat story. At first, I figured that this would merely offset any advantage Kerry might have drawn from his service in Vietnam. But recent developments suggest that the story could cut deeper than that.
For another thing, Kerry’s likeability quotient seems to be dropping almost daily. The best example is his decision to cap off his photo-op at Wendy’s with a gourmet meal on the bus. But consider too his decision to attack President Bush for spending a few minutes finishing his reading session with a group of kids after learning of the 9/11 attacks. The Washington Times reported that Kerry told a group of “minority” reporters, “First of all, had I been reading to children, and had my top aide whispered in my ear, ‘America is under attack,’ I would have told those kids very politely and nicely that the president of the United States had business that he needed to attend to, and I would have attended to it.” The Times says that this line drew “mild applause” from these journalists who, as anti-Bush as they surely are, must have recognized this as a cheap shot. But the surprising thing is not the cheap shot but the tone-deafness of it. President Bush was never more popular than in the days following 9/11. Only the most partisan leftists found fault with any aspect of Bush’s performance during that period. Why would Kerry (a) remind people of Bush in his “finest” hours and (b) quibble over five minutes spent reading to children? Rudy Giuliani has fired back, stating “John Kerry must be frustrated in his campaign if he is armchair quarterbacking based on cues from Michael Moore.” Actually, I don’t think Kerry needs to be frusrated in order to take his cues from Moore, but if he keeps blundering on the campaign trail, he may soon become frustrated in his campaign.
Here’s more on the story from Tim Blair who wonders what dynamic action Kerry would have taken during the five minutes in question.
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