Saturday, January 01, 2005

Giving Kerry a Break

You probably won't come across the Providence Journal Online column about John Kerry. Just as they wrote, it is time to give John Kerry a break. It is time to thank him for what he has done for America. We cannot be victorious at every contest. We cannot get to base on every 'at-bat.' We cannot afford to take down John Kerry for his close race in 2004.

We can just ask that he give us all a second opportunity in 2008 to work again for those values that he stood for in 2004. Decency. Optimism. Compassion. Empathy. and Determination. America needs John Kerry far more than we know.

They wrote today:
Those who were dusting off White House desks in their dreams now say that John Kerry was a poor candidate, such-and-such were his many mistakes, and so forth.

In fact, John Kerry ran a gallant campaign. Having been written off in November and December of 2003, he then roared to the Democratic nomination in January and February. He lost ground in the polls in August but surged back into the race against President Bush with fine debating performances in October. He was dogged throughout, right up to his gracious Nov. 3 concession speech.

Mr. Kerry's critics complain that he erred in not responding instantly to attacks on his Vietnam War record. But if anything, he made Vietnam too much a part of his campaign. Crucial swing voters, especially suburban women, were more concerned about his determination to protect America now than his military record 35 years ago. And Mr. Bush was far from flawless, painting himself into the corner of arguing that Mr. Kerry was both a doctrinaire liberal and an unprincipled flip-flopper.

In the end, the election was close -- decided by a narrow Bush victory in Ohio. With a conservative trend and a Southwesterly population shift, the selling of a Northeastern liberal had become much harder than it once was. And Mr. Kerry was running against a jaunty but skilled campaigner; Mr. Bush ultimately defined national-security and social issues just well enough to put him over the top.

It is well for Democrats to look to a different strategy for 2008. But it is time for certain members of the party to desist from the practice of eating their own.

John Kerry does need a different strategy. He needs to campaign in all fifty states. He needs to hit back hard when hit with dirty campaign tricks. He needs to take the high road but be ready to defend against low road campaigns. We are ready Senator Kerry!



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