Friday, August 15, 2003

Makin' it hard

You know, despite the fact that I am a Dean supporter, I want to like John Kerry. I have already said that I will work to get him elected if he is the nominee. I have already talked about how I will deal with the issue of his vote for the Iraq war, something I simply can't support. But sometimes, Kerry just makes it really hard to like him. Especially when he does something like this:
Kerry 'Gores' Dean Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts took another swing at Howard Dean last week, a week after accusing the former Vermont governor of supporting policy unbecoming of "real Democrats." The comedic timing was admirable, but the jab left a reporter's question unanswered. During a campaign stop in Des Moines Monday, Kerry was asked whether the Internet petition drive he was announcing in protest of President Bush's proposed overtime pay standards was in response to a similar effort Dean had also launched. Dean staffers had stirred up the questions in advance of Kerry's event with union members at a Des Moines AFSCME office. "The Dean campaign is saying you're kind of stealing their thunder on this on-line petition," Dave Price, a reporter for Des Moines-based WHO-TV 13, to which Kerry responded with a smirk: "Well, the last person I heard who claimed he had invented the Internet didn't do so well." The response earned restrained yucks from the gaggle of reporters. But Dean's staff hadn't said they invented on-line petition drives, and Kerry didn't refute that Dean's started at the same time.
Incidents like this and a previous incident where Kerry scolded Democrats for not "getting over" the 2000 election tell me that, despite Kerry's good qualities, he is so badly disconnected from the Democratic base that he really doesn't understand how comments like this will piss it off. First, Gore never claimed to have invented the internet. For Kerry to claim otherwise means either he doesn't understand this basic fact from the 2000 election, which indicates he is badly misinformed, or he knows it but goes with it anyway in order to score points against Dean. In the process, he adds additional support to one of the favorite Rovian spin points from 2000. Second, Gore did quite well thank you very much Mr. Kerry. Or have you forgotten that he got half a million more votes then George W. Bush? Third, the Dean campaign has done nothing comparable to what you are suggesting by this comment. They have not claimed to be first with online petitions or to have invented the idea. Just because Dean's campaign learned how to use the internet well before you did is no reason to demonstrate sour grapes. The one saving grace from this story is that, if we can believe the report to be true, Kerry's comment was greeted with a disagreeable response from the journalists who heard it. This indicates that, in this case, the candidate may be more clueless than the reporters who are covering him. If so then this is a bad sign for Kerry's "electability". C'mon John! Give me a reason to want to support you other than the fact that your last name isn't Bush! Please!

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