What’s the Next Step Down From a Tin Ear?

Reader Bob Kirk pointed out this article in tomorrow’s Telegraph, on John Kerry’s effort to re-start his campaign. The Telegraph’s reporter, Alec Russell, is not impressed:

Amid mounting concern in party circles over the state of his campaign, the Democratic candidate played the “man of the people” card, appearing on a porch in sleepy, rural Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, and challenging President George W Bush’s record on health, education and finance.
The setting – amid the clipped lawns and painted fences of middle America – should have been perfect for his rebranded message. Mr Kerry must have made thousands of such stops in his long political career, yet even his supporters conceded that for all their hopes of a new dawn, he still lacked the passion that is the hallmark of Mr Bush’s campaigning.
When he stepped on to the porch and greeted the family of the owner, a local trade unionist, he crossed his hands in front of him, looking distinctly awkward in his blazer and dark shirt.
Mr Bush’s campaign staff will have loved his opening comments, praising the limited menu of a local cafe. Mr Kerry said it was perfect “for confused people like me who can’t make up our minds about what we’re going to eat” – words which would fit perfectly into a pro-Bush attack ad.

Mr. Kerry’s political tin ear has been widely noted. Nevertheless, I find this astonishing. Does Kerry really not understand his own worst vulnerability? I’m speechless.


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