Monday, March 15, 2004

Audience participation

Kerry had to deal with a Republican "heckler" during an audience Q&A session yesterday, specifically in regard to Kerry's comment about foreign leaders wanting Bush removed from power. You may recall that Dean had to deal with a similar situation last December in Iowa and some, even a few Democrats, have suggested he didn't handle it well. I wonder what the verdict on Kerry will be?

I personally think that Kerry made a mistake in talking about foreign leaders wanting Bush gone. I'm sure it is true and that Kerry has heard this from multiple quarters. But talking about this in public is counter-productive at best. First of all, as Kerry has pointed out, he can't name names. Kerry comes off sounding weasely in trying to avoid doing just that. Secondly, many Americans, even those who don't support Bush, react negatively to the idea of foreigners trying to manipulate the electoral process. When Kerry made his comments he, unfortunately, put himself in the position of being characterized as "a tool of foreign interests who wanted to undermine our great democracy" (as a wing-nut would describe it).

I find it ironic that the campaign is less than three weeks old and Kerry has already made two statements (this one and the "crooks and liars" comment) that, coming from Dean, would have been characterized by Dean critics as examples of his dangerous shoot-from-the-hip style.


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