News reports of John Kerry's statements reveal the themes Kerry wants to emphasize in the closing days of the campaign, when polls show he has ground to make up. Everything he is saying reminds me of the types of statements that we all heard daily during the Clinton impeachment era. That's not surprising, since the same advisers-- Joe Lockhart, Mike McCurry, James Carville, and Paul Begala-- are the ones standing by Kerry and slipping the brass knuckles on his hands.
The latest example appears in this AP story. Kerry's catchline this weekend is that "A president as to be able to do more than one thing at the same time." Mike McCurry elaborates on the statement:
"The argument is that the singular preoccupation with eradicating evildoing
in the world ... it creates blinders that allow you to miss the other things
that are important to the American people," McCurry said.
McCurry argues that Kerry can be a "president who can simultaneously
conduct an aggressive war on terror but not drop the ball on jobs and health
The AP, true to form, makes sure the intended anti-Bush message comes through, and that we all understand what Kerry/McCurdy are really saying:
The laughter and cheers that erupt after Kerry delivers the line show the
friendly audiences at campaign speeches and rallies take it another way — as a
subtle dig at Bush's intelligence and ability to juggle the tasks of the
Ah yes, the sneering, winking low blow, a Clintonista specialty. Sounds just like them. Never mind that those who have seriously investigated the matter empirically (using SAT scores and military aptitude exams taken by the candidates) have found that Bush is of high intelligence, and possibly smarter than Kerry himself. Here's one example. This is old news. But the elitist notion that liberals are just smarter than the rest of us plain conservative folk is an old liberal conceit from way, way back.
My own deeply-held, non-empirical belief is that collectively, the American electorate is very smart. I don't think they buy the brass-knuckles Kerry message. I also don't think they will vote, as a majority, for a man they don't trust. Bill Clinton, for all his slickness and moral flabbiness, was able to get voters to trust him. I don't think Kerry can do that. I do think Bush can, at least more than Kerry can with undecided voters. In a few days we'll know.