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.