Why Kerry Lost

Errol Morris, writing in the NY Times at inauguration time, gave the explanation of Kerry's loss that makes the most sense to me.

Mr. Kerry and his campaign believed that certain things could not be mentioned. Foremost among these was Mr. Kerry's opposition to the war in Vietnam, which was largely erased from the candidate's life. That was a mistake. People think in narratives - in beginnings, middles and ends.

Kerry's life story is an impressive one of courage and honesty. He fought the war his generation was asked to fight, and when he came home he opposed it because he knew it was wrong. It makes a good story, but he didn't tell it.

I remember a particular conversation about Kerry with a friend who was undecided. I had a Run Against Bush T-shirt, and she agreed that Bush had negatives, but she didn't see the positives of Kerry. I knew that Kerry would govern better, that he would promote better policies, that he would engage with our allies and be a better leader. But, I didn't have a simple, straight-forward story that explained who he was, because Kerry didn't give us one.


At November 20, 2007 at 4:36 PM, Blogger Ron's Bio said...

John Kerry had the golden opportunity to tell his story during the campaign. His polls were favorable and he stood a much better chance of beating Bush than Gore. Instead he bored us to tears telling us he was a Vietnam vet over and over again. I watched him during all the debates and was astonished when he consistently told us nothing. Were I Bush, I would have gladly given a portion of my allotted time to give Kerry the chance to tell us exactly how he was going to get us out of Iraq honorably. He never did, even after repeated opportunities. All he said was, "I have a plan". Instead we got the same ol' rhetoric. Pure politics as usual.
Granted, politics is politics and the goal will always be the swing vote. In years past, I've seen presidents come and go. I remember Johnson if that gives you an indication of my age. Most intelligent people respect a decision maker and Kerry might have done well. But we'll never know. I was never impressed with Kerry due to his history. He didn't even come close to representing the average Joe Lunchbucket American. He married(twice) into old money and frankly I was even less impressed with his wife. Thanks but no thanks!


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