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May 7, 2005
The Ghost Of Elections Past

Someone should tell John Kerry that the election is over.

Today's New York Times has a profile of the erstwhile candidate, turning around a moribund and singularly unaccomplished 20-year Senate career by pushing a new government program of health insurance for kids in our St. Paul back yard. The reason for this sudden interest in legislation -- Kerry notoriously only has six pieces of legislation to his name after two decades in Congress -- is rather obvious to everyone, even Sheryl Stolberg:

More than an ordinary senator, less than a presidential nominee, Mr. Kerry is a politician betwixt and between. He has more than $8 million in the bank and an e-mail list of three million supporters, yet must still prove himself to fellow Democrats, keeping his presidential prospects alive even as he insists it is too soon to talk about 2008.

Mr. Kerry has made children's health care his signature issue; his stop in St. Paul was part of a national four-city swing this week to highlight his "Kids First" plan, which would provide coverage to 11 million uninsured children, a central theme of his presidential campaign.

He is expanding his political organization and wooing other Democrats, through the time-tested method of political courtship - money. He has given more than $3 million to various Democratic campaign committees, and on Friday night he held a fund-raiser in Boston for the 2006 re-election campaign of the woman widely regarded as his major rival for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

"We've been friends and colleagues for a long time," Senator Clinton said on Thursday in a telephone interview from New York, adding, "I'm so pleased that he would do this for me."

In other words, Kerry now has to do the things he failed to do before his last run. He needs to prove that he didn't spend 20 years in the Senate doing little except for primping himself for his eventual presidential run. If he runs again, he has to have some legislative accomplishments, or the dilettante label will come out again in force for the 2008 campaign. And after leaving millions of dollars in the bank at the end of his campaign, instead of spening it in Ohio where he could have possibly made a difference or helping some Democrats win key Senate seats, he's suddenly the Party Man and sharing with others. The most high-profile Senate race in 2006 will be in New York, which is why Kerry has to be seen as supportive to his likely primary challenger in 2008.

Kerry has done everything but make an official announcement to show that he intends on forcing the Democrats to relive 2004, only this time he won't have the luxury of riding on Bush-hatred to keep his polling numbers up. The truth is that Kerry is a dreadful candidate -- no record to speak of, a pretentious speaker, with clumsy political skills that would have killed his career anywhere else but in Massachusetts. Even the Democrats know this. As long as his money holds out and the e-mail list remains fresh, they'll give him some respect as a party leader. Anyone who thinks they'll trust him with another national campaign has spent too much time breathing the exhaust fumes of Kerry's private jet.

One other thing: it's been 97 days since Kerry promised to sign the SF-180 and release his entire military record. That ghost of the past election needs to be put to rest before anyone will risk supporting him again. Something in that file frightens John Kerry, and if he wants to position himself as a combat hero again for a second shot at the White House, we need to see what it is.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 7, 2005 7:53 AM

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» In Defense of Candidate Kerry from Brainster's Blog
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Tracked on May 9, 2005 3:34 PM

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