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September 17, 2004

Didn't We Saw This Campaign Two Years Ago?

John P. Snyder

How is it that John Kerry's presidential campaign, which looked so formidable just six weeks ago, now resembles only the Hindenburg, the German dirigible that crashed and burned while landing in New Jersey in 1936?


The message and the candidate are combining to sink whatever hope the Dems had of winning.

Loyal Democrats cannot say they were not forewarned. John Kerry is a flawed candidate. He is a liberal elitist, politically tone deaf and unwilling to come off his high horse to mix with the masses. Wind surfing in Nantucket or skiing in Sun Valley, Idaho, are not the sports of regular people. He holds himself in high esteem, for whatever faults his campaign has, they are not his, but his staff's.

His response to the Swiftboat Veterans was telling. Rather than meet the challenge head on, he assumed the old media would insulate him. And he held focus group meetings to see which way the wind might blow. To the outside world, Mr. Kerry looked like he had curled up in the fetal position, with hands over ears wailing "make them stop" in response to the serious accusations.

His post midnight tirade in Springfield, Ohio, right after the Republican convention made him look juvenile and small. There he denounced President Bush's National Guard service and Dick Cheney's "five deferments."

To be fair, he has quite a balancing act to follow. The core of the Democratic Party is well to the left of the independents and undecided he needs to win. Some Dems seem to hate George Bush more than they like John Kerry. Since his persona does not easily create loyalty, it is said that his staff is more interested in saving the Democratic Party than seeing him win.

Where does he stand on the issues? Who knows, and one suspects Mr. Kerry isn 't sure, either. He has been all over the map on Iraq; critical, of course, but with no solutions. When it comes to terrorism, he instills little confidence that he will be as vigilant as George Bush has been.

Talking down the economy, apparently page one in the Dems arsenal of offensive weapons, is made harder by the 5.4 percent national unemployment rate and continued low interest rates. Analysts say that it is slightly better than the 1996 economy that Bill Clinton boasted about in 1996.

Marylanders will recognize the similarities between Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's campaign for governor two years ago and the Kerry campaign. KKT's people felt that they weren't getting her message out. Better events and a clearer message would, according to them, stem the slipping campaign. The reality was, however, her message was getting out, and people knew who she was but were not impressed. This is what is happening to John Kerry.

As it stands, the Kerry campaign faces days of indignities and deep frustration. Campaign critics, mostly Democrats, will have their long daggers out ready to stab him and ridicule his campaign. He'll find himself campaigning in states he should have wrapped up long ago.

States like New Jersey, Wisconsin, Maine, Minnesota and Pennsylvania, once considered safe for Senator Kerry, are now in play.

Democrats running for office will suddenly have other plans when he arrives in their state to campaign.

Already underway is the despicable race baiting imitative patented by Democrats to scare black folks into voting in large numbers.

This year they are suggesting Republicans are working hard to suppress the black vote. Like they did in Florida, they claim. And last week the candidate himself jumped on this bandwagon.

They are warning black folks that George Bush has a plan to wipe away civil rights advances and re-instate Jim Crow laws throughout the land. Listen to any urban radio station and you'll hear race baiting smears against George Bush on an hourly basis.

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend went down that shameful path and it backfired on her. Her race baiting turned off the white vote in astounding numbers.

The way it has been going for John Kerry, he can expect the same.

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