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September 12, 2004
When You Start Losing R.W. Apple ...

The New York Times runs an amazingly balanced analysis from the notoriously partisan R. W. Apple, who usually only comes second to Robert Fisk in blogosphere disdain for his slanted pieces. Today, however, even Apple can't work his magic for John Kerry in a look at how badly the Democrat has stumbled in Ohio, where according to Apple, all indicators point to a great opportunity for Kerry:

Everything seemed to be in place for a powerful run by Senator John Kerry in Ohio in the stretch drive after Labor Day. Al Gore lost the state by 175,000 votes in 2000, despite having pulled all his advertising early in October. Ohio has shed 250,000 jobs since George W. Bush became president. Rocked by scandals and an unpopular tax increase, the statehouse Republicans, from Gov. Bob Taft down the line, have been in unaccustomed disarray for weeks.

At the end of last month, the Census Bureau reported that Cleveland, with a poverty rate of 31.3 percent, led the country in that most dubious category, and this month American deaths in Iraq topped 1,000. Both developments might have given a leg up in the campaign to Mr. Kerry, a critic of Mr. Bush's economic policy and his conduct of the war. Yet Mr. Kerry seems to be falling back.

Ahead by six percentage points in a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll in mid-July, Mr. Kerry trailed by nine points in a similar survey taken Sept. 3 through Sept. 7, immediately after the Republican convention. Kerry aides said the second poll had been taken too soon after the convention to be meaningful, but its results mirrored the impression of many savvy Ohio political figures.

Democrats (and Republicans) in Ohio have reached the same conclusion as other nationwide: Kerry is an inept candidate and a potential disaster for the party. While they're doing their best to float his campaign back to the surface, the truth is that Democrats have little enthusiasm for the jet-set candidate:

Gerald Austin of Cleveland, a leading Ohio campaign consultant for more than 30 years, said that former President Bill Clinton could run a better campaign than Mr. Kerry's "even when he was under ether." Mr. Austin said that Mr. Kerry had been too slow to respond to Republican attacks on his military record.

"I smell the same New England genius that I smelled in the Dukakis campaign in 1988," Mr. Austin added. "Kerry wants to run as a man of the people, and where do they put him for photo opportunities? Snowboarding in Sun Valley, shooting skeet in the Ohio valley, and windsurfing off that great working-class vacation paradise, Nantucket. Democrats - at least Ohio Democrats - play softball and touch football."

The Dukakis comparison keeps coming up, but others have pointed out a key difference between Kerry and his former boss: Dukakis stuck to his positions, no matter how out-of-the-mainstream they were. Kerry, on the other hand, has drifted all over the political map, trying to figure out who he is, matching perfectly his 20-year Senate career of being a complete empty suit. The willingness of Democrats to go on record -- and of Apple to write this article -- demonstrates how frustrated his party has become with the Kerry candidacy.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 12, 2004 11:31 AM

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» Kerry in trouble: plays the race card from Secure Liberty
Kerry's chances in Ohio are going down the drain, as reported by Captain Ed. Missouri is all but conceded, as are Arizona and Colorado Let's see, what do you do if you are the most dull Presidential candidate since Mondale, you're an extreme left w... [Read More]

Tracked on September 12, 2004 2:43 PM

» Kerry cutting his electoral college losses from The H-Bomb
Interesting article by Dan Balz in today's Washington Post. The Kerry campaign has recognized that some of the states they thought were battlegrounds are not worth their money: The presidential race looks closer in many battleground states than some na... [Read More]

Tracked on September 12, 2004 3:47 PM

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