Wednesday, December 29, 2004

In Defense of Kerry's Campaign

Since the sad results of the '04 election, there has been much frustration and venting coming from the far left over Kerry's loss, mainly from those who never liked Kerry as the Presidential choice in the first place. I want to remind these people ranting on and other democratic/progressive blogs that major change doesn't always happen over night.

Kerry is a good man, with a lifelong commitment to progressive values. Complaining he was "for the war" was both inaccurate and shortsighted of his lifetime record and achievements. Your own divisiveness played in to the hands of the Republicans and contributed to the Dems loss.

While I applaud any efforts and discussion toward reforming the DNC and strengthening Democratic state parties to increase our chances in the future, lets not blame Kerry as if he was responsible for the entire state of the Democratic Party.

Lets look at the big picture.

Kerry, his campaign and supporters raised more money and received more votes than any democrat before him and narrowly lost by one state. (Ohio) He also gave more money to the party than any candidate before him.

Was Kerry a perfect candidate? Of course not. Did he make mistakes? Of course, but he was also a steady campaigner who gave it his all. He chose a dynamic running mate, won all three debates, and gave millions of people hope.

Bush and his GOP operatives ran the most negative campaign in history with all the advantages of a war time Presidential incumbent. There was a time in 2002 when Bush's ratings were so high that no one would even enter the race because they thought a Bush win was inevitable. Kerry stepped up and made it as close as it was.

For those critical of Kerry's personality, lets remember that while Clinton was charming, he won his first race with help from Ross Perot (who took like 17% of the vote) during a bad economy. Clinton won a second term against a weak opponent (Dole) in the good times of the economy. Yes Clinton had charisma, but his human faults also sparked a long lasting backlash which the Democrats are still reeling from, thanks to incessant repetition from right wing radio and FOX news.

Until Dems reclaim the "values" issues and middle America voters our candidates (even those with a great smile and charisma - aka, John Edwards) will always be handicapped and playing from behind.

Dems need to think big picture and long term. Our PR machine, think tanks and strategists need to turn up the volume and reframe the issues.

I believe Kerry has a large roll to play in shaping this future as no one understand more than him how tough it is to win against the GOP machine.

IFK Editor
Independents For Kerry


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How right you are. Kerry should run in 2008, with Vilsack or Bredesen for running mate (Edwards will have been out of the public eye for too long). You forgot to add that Kerry won the popular vote in the West (including noncoastal West), the East, and the total vote in the battleground states. He only lost the Midwest by 1-2% points.
Except for Florida, Arkansas, and maybe Tennessee Dems shold forget the South, just like GOP has written off most of the Mid-Atlantic and NorthEast and West Coast. Elections in the future will be decided in the MidWest and SouthWest.
Other facts of this election: Kerry did better among blacks that Clinton ever did and only did 1% worse than Gore in 2000. Kerry did better among Asians than either Clinton or Gore, won 60% of the Hispanic vote, won voters from households making less $15,000, AND unlike Gore, won voters from households making $15,000-$30,000 and (albeit narrowly) among voters from households making $30,000-$50,000. Additionally, Youth turnout DID increase and Kerry did better among this group than any Demcorat since LBJ. And people say Kerry didn't connect?

8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kerry did a hell of a job if you ask me.I liked him from start to finish.I am 23 years old,and he inspired me!

10:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was fired up about John Kerry after catching his acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention. I am a registered Republican, and I was sceptical about him up until that point! From the moment of "I'm John Kerry, and I'm reporting for Duty", I knew he meant it, and I knew he was the right man! And I still believe that with all my heart and soul. He DID connect with people, more and more as the campaign went on - if he had just had more time, I believe he would have gotten it. The election would not have been as electric as it was without him. People will listen to him in 2008, and I believe they will be begging him to take the Presidency by that time.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Tom Petty said...

Hello I'm the same guy who started my blog saying "How right you are" before I got a sign in name. I just read you post again and I agree with it even more. i just wanted to add something abut the 1992 race: Perot actually won 19% of the popular vote, so its even larger than you think.
While I'm pretty sure Clinton would have won without Perot you can't say Perot didn't help (especially in the South where Clinton would have lost almost every state without him. CLinton lost the popular and electoral vote in the South anyway). Your point about venting on the part of people who never liked Kerry anyway (particularly at DailyKos) is 100% correct. That's what I love about this blog. People here are analytical, they don't just rave and rant. Even the blogs I don't agree with here I've still been pretty impressed with. Keep the good work going folks.

7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John Kerry is a spoiled brat in the same box with Ted Kennedy and other millionaires that have nothing to do but play politics. That is the biggest problem with Hilliary Clinton. The only reson this lady (?) wants to be President is 1)she wants to be the first lady President 2)like Kerry and Kennedy, she has too much money and nothing else to do (can you see her in private life without all the news hounds following her around?) and she wants to be in politics until she finally gets something right.

6:17 PM  

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