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June 26, 2006
Kerry Splits Democrats With Renewed Presidential Aspirations

John Kerry has split Democrats with his race to the left in order to gain some traction for the 2008 presidential nomination, his hometown newspaper reports. The Boston Globe notes some approbation coming from the antiwar netroots, but the party establishment has little trust in the man they think blew a winnable 2004 election:

Senator John F. Kerry has intensified his quest to regain the Democratic presidential nomination with a sharp move to the left, presenting himself in high-profile speeches and Senate debates as an unfettered lawmaker and would-be presidential candidate who learned from his 2004 loss that he must fight harder for what he believes.

In passionate remarks on the Senate floor and before party faithful last week, Kerry spoke directly to grass-roots Democrats, many of whom remain angry over his defeat in an election they believe Kerry was capable of winning.

``I think I'm a much better candidate at this point in my life than I've ever been before -- much more knowledgeable, much more confident, much clearer and brief, to the point, and highly focused," Kerry said in an interview, noting that those campaign skills would apply equally to a 2008 run for the Senate or the presidency.

While many Democrats remain wary of Kerry, there were signs last week that party activists were welcoming his defiance of the Bush administration -- and some leaders of his own party -- on the war in Iraq, the makeup of the Supreme Court, and on environmental policy.

All of this sounds depressingly familiar. After all, John Kerry has practically made a career out of changing his positions for political expediency, and his latest effort seems the most transparent of all. He could not articulate a coherent war policy during the months in which he ran for President in 2004, when the effort seemed to paying few immediate dividends. Now that we have made tremendous strides in establishing a representative government and a strengthening security service, he suddenly feels that America has lost the war -- a position that will only find traction among the far Left that he failed to inspire two years ago.

As if on cue, however, those activists have warmed to his rhetoric:

While many Democrats remain wary of Kerry, there were signs last week that party activists were welcoming his defiance of the Bush administration -- and some leaders of his own party -- on the war in Iraq, the makeup of the Supreme Court, and on environmental policy.

``They like an aggressive Senator Kerry," said Markos Moulitsas Zuniga , the influential Daily Kos Internet blogger . ``A lot of the hostility is dissipating. The first step is to have people not hate you anymore." ...

``There tends to be a sense of emancipation. You're free to talk about issues in ways you really would have liked to during the campaign," said Chris Lehane, a senior staff member on Gore's 2000 campaign who briefly worked for Kerry in 2004.

All Kerry has done lately is a repeat of what he did in 2004 when Howard Dean stumbled out of the gate: doppleganged his competition. He waited until Russ Feingold and Jack Murtha took the lead on opposition to the war, and only after several months has he basically stolen the issue from both of them. Kerry saw the media attention Feingold got for his calls for withdrawal while touring Iraq -- an egregious violation of the American tradition of unity abroad -- and decided to steal their thunder.

The last campaign should have taught all factions in the Democratic Party about Kerry's tactics and ethics. He waits until the winds get thoroughly tested, and then he jumps in front of what he sees as momentum. The man has not had an original thought in his head in his entire political career. Even his antiwar campaign post-Viet Nam had Kerry blindly following activist frauds such as those who conducted the Winter Soldier "investigations". His intellectual laziness, so in evidence in his Senate career, came through loud and clear in that 2004 campaign. And yet the very people on the Left who consider themselves the leading intellectuals of their movement seem content to hitch their wagons to this political dilettante.

If the Democrats wind up with another strong Kerry campaign in the primaries, the only beneficiary will be the eventual GOP nominee. If they're insane enough to renominate the man who couldn't beat George Bush at the height of Bush Derangement Syndrome, they may well position themselves for a McGovern-like spanking in 2008 that will haunt them for the foreseeable future.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 26, 2006 9:34 AM

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Tracked on June 26, 2006 4:00 PM


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