Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Kerrying it to far?

As much as I applaud the new, more feisty style that John Kerry is demonstrating, I have to wonder if he might be overdoing it a little with his latest comments (AP):

Earlier Wednesday in Chicago, Kerry toughened his comments about his GOP critics after a supporter urged him to take on Bush. "Let me tell you, we've just begun to fight," Kerry said. "We're going to keep pounding. These guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group I've ever seen. It's scary."

(Caveat: I  leave open the possibility that Kerry is being badly misquoted.)

This may come as a surprise to some of you, but as much as I want Democrats to show some fighting spirit that does not mean I want them to fall into the trap of looking like raving loonies.

I've made the mistake in the past of going overboard in my criticism of Republicans. I once got into a shouting match with a couple of people because I called Bush the worst president ever. These people weren't necessarily big fans of Bush, but my comment pushed them into the position of having to defend him. Thus, by letting my hyperbole get the best of me, I may have simply pushed them into being even stronger supporters of Bush (and I may have even pushed away a few of the bystanders who witnessed this fight).

The lesson here is that you need to fight but you have to fight strategically and not just throw wild punches. Maybe part of Kerry's problem is that he's not used to that backbone that Dean has given him and thus doesn't quite know how far is to far.

I really hesitate to criticize on this point because I don't want Kerry to back down. But, I don't want him to go so overboard as to become a joke. I think Dean got burned in the end partly because he got to personal in his attacks on his rivals. I don't want that to happen to Kerry. Nor do I want him to get burned and then quickly retreat back into the hidey-hole that the pink-tutu Dems have occupied for the last few years.

Just to be clear on this, I am not disputing the essence of Kerry's comments. Yes, some of his critic's are "the most crooked .. lying group I've ever seen". But just because it is true does not mean it is politically wise to shout it from the rooftops.

No one said politics was easy.


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