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The Tally Ho

Saturday, November 06, 2004

The Future of John Kerry?

One question that has been floating around the blogsphere, the barsphere, and the talking headsphere is what is next for Senator John F. Kerry, winner of 55 million votes (more than Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Gore, or Bush IIs first try had) in the 2004 Presidential Election? The four most popular choices I have heard and read are the following: 1) Windsurf and hang out Teresa until he is rested up. 2) Challenge Harry Reid of Nevada for Senate Minority leader. 3) Be a champion of a new Voting Rights Act and make sure all ballots are counted from the 2004 election. 4) Create a shadow government that constantly responds to Bush Administration incompetence and dangerous right wing policy. One thing seems obvious, Sen. Kerry isn’t retiring like Sen. Dole or going quietly into the night like Vice President Gore or Governor Dukakis.

The first, he deserves, and by all accounts is relaxing in Boston before he heads back to Washington. Second, Sen. Reid probably has the votes tied up, and I read somewhere that Sen. Durban will be minority whip. The third is something that Democrats should do anyway, and doesn’t seem large enough after a grueling national campaign. The fourth is intriguing. I think this suggestion is meant to be based on a British oppositional government model. Some version of this is what I would like to see. Sure, I understand that many never warmed up to Sen. Kerry – but it is the same on the other side of the aisle. If some of my relatives did vote for Mr. Bush, I can tell you that for many it was not enthusiastically. But this is just reality, there is no perfect candidate, either by policy, style, or public personality. This article states:
Instead, they said he would probably take the road less traveled by recent senators who tried and failed to take the White House, and remain a strong voice in Congress on issues he cared about.

"He has a lot to say," Kerry's former chief of staff David Leiter said Friday. "Dukakis faded into the sun. I don't see that in Kerry."

Dukakis agreed. In a Senate that just lost Democratic leader Tom Daschle in a narrow South Dakota race, Kerry "could become a very strong voice for a strong opposition," said Dukakis.

"It was a very impressive performance," Dukakis said of Kerry's campaign. "I think it's important for him to build on what he's done and at the very least to be a major leader in the party and in the Senate."

Most agreed, however, that Kerry was not likely to get another shot at the presidency.

"Nowadays, these election cycles are so excruciating and they last so long, there's a feeling that there's a need for a fresh face," said presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

History is filled both with senators who came back and those who cleared out.”

So in all likelihood, Senator Kerry is not going to run for President again. However, being only 64 years old in 2008, I assume that he will run for and easily win reelection to the Senate. This is ten more years as a Senator. In that time he can be vocal in pushing for expanding health care, his energy plan as an alternative to the big oil agenda, military affairs, and the Democratic agenda – but in a way that we are presenting a clear alternative to Republican policies, being against it is just not enough. As the minority party, Democrats have to show that they are the party of ideas, the party of progress, the party responsibility. Why Sen. Kerry as opposed to another? Simply, he is not fading away; 55 million votes were cast for him, and outside of President Clinton he is probably the most well known current Democratic politician, unless John Edwards becomes the new head of the Democratic National Committee. Regardless, he is a national figure, and despite the multi-million dollar smear campaign they could not Clintonize him. The biggest draw back that I see with this is being called uncooperative. However, the way I see it – Bush’s “mandate” is slim. Mr. Bush’s reelection was historically weak. Therefore, the opposition needs a strong voice. It needs a voice today. Waiting for the midterm election is too long.

One of the reasons why I started liking Sen. Kerry as a candidate was after watching a fund raiser he held for then New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen's campaign for the Senate. In Mr. Kerry's speech he said that the most basic difference between the two parties was the notion of fairness. Considering what the Bush Administration will be pushing for, basic fairness and the two Americas and going to be big arguments against these policies.


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