It appears as though the Kerry-as-Dukakis meme has taken off. Considering that Kerry was Dukakis’ Lt. Gov., perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising. Kerry campaign was never strong, he benefitted first of all from the crash of Howard Dean in January and secondly from the weakness of Bush throughout the summer.
Kerry’s biggest flaw was in his fundamental lack of vision. His convention speech was his best opportunity to sell himself to the American people – instead he harped on Vietnam, opening himself up to the attacks by the Swift Boat Vets (which the Kerry campaign had to have known about since they first emerged in May of this year).
Now Kerry find himself in the middle of an official inquiry into his medals, his numbers have plummeted, and Bush is now running several points ahead with double digit leads in multiple polls.
Kerry could have elucidated a vision for the country, but Kerry is not a political risk-taker. He tried to substitute biography for real strength on the war on terrorism. He used his history as a shield against criticism of his liberal anti-military record and whined about people “questioning his patriotism” whenever anyone dared criticize that record. In short, he has been acting like a whiny petulant little brat. Sadly, Kerry is likely to do much better than Dukakis did based only on the vicious hatred of Bush coming from the anti-war left, but given that Bush now has the momentum, I don’t see Kerry pulling significantly ahead unless he radically alters nearly everything in his campaign. While such a scenario is possible, it’s also highly unlikely. Instead, look to more of Kerry’s attempts at a smear campaign leading into a sound electoral defeat. John Kerry may have gone to Vietnam, but he doesn’t have what it takes to move into the Oval Office.
Roger L. Simon delivers the single biggest rebuke of Kerry I’ve ever seen:
The meme now skittering around the Internet that John Kerry 2004 equals Michael Dukakis 1988 may be true in that Kerry could be headed for a similar electoral disaster, but it is a huge insult to Michael Dukakis.
Dukakis, whatever his (considerable) deficiencies as a candidate, was a man who usually tried to fight for his principles, whether you agreed with them or not. Even in his worst moments like the stammering answer to the hypothetical about his wife being murdered during a debate on capital punishment, you see a man wrestling with his commitment to an issue.
Kerry is the opposite. He has never seemed committed to any issue. That goes back to the days when he supposedly was against the war in Vietnam and then volunteered to fight in it (the only one I knew of at Yale then to do such a thing – we all assumed it was resume padding for future electoral battles and we were right). And now he brags about his heroism in that same war after coming back to oppose it vehemently. No wonder Clinton is advising him to shut up. I’d advise him to resign. To have a man with this lack of values in the White House in this era is terrifying.