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April 28, 2006
Goodman: Stop Kerry Before He Runs Again!

With John Kerry making more high-profile appearances and having his opinions published in the New York Times, everyone assumes he plans to make another presidential run in 2008. Despite having the advantage of Bush Derangement Syndrome on his side, not to mention CBS' 60 Minutes Wednesday, Kerry could not win the general election in 2004. Boston Globe columnist and Kerry supporter Ellen Goodman sees no reason to believe he could do better in 2008, either:

The signs that John Kerry is going to run for president in 2008 are rising faster than the pollen count. There was the requisite New York Times op-ed -- How many days late? How many dollars short? -- on getting out of Iraq. There was the Globe op-ed that preceded the speech supporting war dissenters at Faneuil Hall to an audience of groupies yelling ''Run" and ''2008." There was Ted Kennedy's remark, ''If he runs, I'm supporting him."

And then there was his op-ed in The Manchester Union-Leader defending New Hampshire's place as first-in-the-nation primary. A true profile in courage.

All of this leads me to blurt out: ''Stop him before he kills (the Democrats' chances) again."

Goodman, who has voted for Kerry six times now, makes the rather obvious point that Kerry turned out to be a rather bad politician. He ran on a paper-thin legislative record despite his lengthy tenure in the Senate, and tried to transform that into substance while he waffled on everything from Iraq to Cambodia. As Goodman implies, he had everything going for him in the last election -- an unpopular war, general unease about the economic situation (misplaced though it was), and a majority of the electorate looking for a change -- and he couldn't close the sale.

Why does Goodman fear for her party? She explains rather baldly that Kerry doesn't believe in anything as much as he has proposals for everything. He has no real vision for the nation except that he should lead it. The lack of substance in two decades of Senate work reflected in a general lack of substance on the campaign trail, where Democrats embraced him mostly because they discovered that Howard Dean couldn't get elected or even win a primary outside of Vermont.

Of course, these are the same reasons why Republicans want to see Kerry give it another try. The real subtext of Goodman's column isn't so much that she opposes Kerry as a candidate, but that she knows a serious run in the primaries will damage the eventual national ticket on which Kerry has no chance of appearing. In this she probably doesn't have that much cause for concern. Russ Feingold is the candidate that will split the party between the ANSWER/MoveOn crowd and the DLC-type moderates. Kerry will receive the polite yet slightly embarrassed acknowledgement that one gives a celebrity whose star has long faded but fails to realize it.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 28, 2006 6:01 AM

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