Thursday, July 29, 2004

Kerry on 

Thought the acceptance speech was good.  There were a few jabs at the Bush Administration, but the bulk of the focus was on what his presidency would look like.  He used frank language like "Here's what I'll do."  And he started the three-month process of letting people "get to know him," as the pundits like to say.  He exceeded my expectations.  Not only was he not boring, he was somewhat inspiring and I found myself really rooting for him -- emotionally -- for the first time.

That leads me to a comment on one of the right's talking points about Kerry, which I heard reinforced today on talk radio:  the idea that you can't win an election solely based on hating President Bush, and that the Democrats need to be in love with their candidate and aren't.

First off, of course you can win based on hating President Bush!  Alright, I supposed it can't literally be "solely."  The opponent can't be, say, a cocker spaniel.  But any political scientist will tell you that an election after a President's first term is a referendum on the incumbent -- and that as long as the alternative is acceptable, it need not be spectacular.

Second, I think people are excited about John Kerry.  He wouldn't be their first choice to DJ their next party.  But other than Clinton, who would be?   Democrats are excited about his policies and the way his views contrast with Bush's.  They're excited by his intelligence, his patriotism, his seriousness, and his thoughtfulness.

Third:  even if they weren't, excitement isn't the key to anything.  Even though he wasn't facing an incumbent, was the Republican base wildly jazzed up about George Bush I in 1988?  I don't recall a frenzy of joy.  Nor were women screaming, "Bob Dole, have my baby!" in 1996.  (Sorry, that conjures up disgusting imagery due to the Viagra ads).  In fact, that entire 1996 campaign was based not on love for Dole, but rather - ahem - hating President Clinton.  The GOP failed not because they didn't love Dole enough.  But because, well, Clinton was doing a fine job.

So these people and their talking points can shove it.

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