Despite the fact that the Democratic Nominating Convention reaches its planned climax on Thursday night, with cheering crowds hailing John Kerry as their standardbearer, some Democrats will have already skulked out early, the Washington Post reports — and some may not even have come at all. Rather than be seen with their nominee, some Democrats want to put as much distance as possible between themselves, Kerry, and the people surrounding him on the dais:
Boston is the place for Democrats this week, but some will be conspicuous by their absence Thursday night, when John F. Kerry accepts the presidential nomination. The top Democratic candidates from seven of the eight most competitive Senate races will be back home, as will dozens of House candidates. … The list of who’s going and who’s not is telling: Democratic candidates from states that look strong for Kerry generally plan to attend the convention, while most of those in tight races in states leaning toward President Bush are staying away.
In the eight Senate races seen as virtual tossups, the Democratic nominees or front-runners from North Carolina, Oklahoma and Alaska are skipping Boston altogether. Inez Tenenbaum, the Senate nominee in South Carolina, mingled with her state’s delegation Sunday night but goes home Monday, when the four-day convention begins.
Rep. Chris John, the Democrats’ top contender for a Senate seat in Louisiana — and a “super delegate” by virtue of being a House member — will be here Monday and Tuesday. Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle of South Dakota and Senate candidate Betty Castor of Florida will attend Monday through Wednesday, but not Thursday.
Tom Daschle, the party’s leader in the Senate, will skip out on John Kerry’s nominating speech? I’m sure this is without precedent, but it does point out the pusillanimous nature of these Democrats. They’re willing to bloviate about the Bush “regime” away from home, but when public scrutiny is certain, they scurry back to the darkness. In Daschle’s case, locked in a tight race for the first time in many years, he may be afraid that Michael Moore will hug him again, and this time on national television. (Come to think of it, it is a frightening notion.)
Out of eight Senate candidates facing tough elections in November, only one of them has the courage to stand up with John Kerry. In the House, only one out of five candidates from Texas in contested districts will bother to attend their party’s convention. Jim Jordan, the Kerry campaign manager fired three weeks into Kerry’s candidacy, points out that the convention is not merely a pep rally to the presidential nominee, but also a fund-raising effort for lower-ticket races. After all, all of the donors will be in Boston this week. Having people locked in tight races skipping out on fundraising opportunities demonstrates palpable fear.
So why do Democrats fear the Kerry juggernaut? Could it be that they know their candidate will tank their own campaigns? If that is the case — and sources tell the Post’s Charles Babington they fear linkage to John Kerry and Ted Kennedy most of all — it shows that despite the polling from the liberal media, the Democrats have huge problems in the swing states. Most Senate and House candidates count on coattails during presidential elections. Running away from the top of the ticket equates to rats abandoning a sinking ship. That should tell you all you need to know about the enthusiasm for the Kerry/Edwards ticket among the electorate.