Thoughts on Kerry, Bush and Nader.

Greetings loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader spent some time at the Villainschloss watching the President’s speech to the Republican Governors Association last night and it caused him to think for a little while about electioneering.

It looks as though Kerry will be the nominee for the Democrats. Your Maximum Leader believes that the only way Kerry will not get the nomination is if there is either 1) a major Kerry gaffe very soon (highly unlikely) or 2) Democrats start to have “buyers remorse” about crowning Kerry anddecide to go with Edwards (unlikely). Kerry is not a strong candidate in your Maximum Leader’s opinion. He is not a strong candidate because of his extensive Senate record. Kerry has voted on issues. Which means he has opinions which must be defended, endorsed, repudiated, clairified, denied, ameliorated or lied about by himself or his surrogates. And that is bad for him. Think about it. The last person to jump directly from the Congress to the Presidency was John F. Kennedy. And he was only a first termer, rather like John Edwards. (Minus the hottie wife and the huge trust fund from his daddy. Edwards earned his own trust fund via medical malpractice lawsuits. Advantage: Kennedy.) Lyndon Johnson would not have won election to the presidency had Kennedy not been assasinated. When you have a record to run on (or from as the case may be) you have a big liability in our modern electoral process. This is why Governors and non-Washingtonians are more successful. Their records are harder to get at by the national media, and generally not as expansive (as state government just doesn’t deal with many issues that the Federal government - for good or ill - deals with). And we are now beginning to see the Bush campaign go after Kerry on his record. Which leads your Maximum Leader to his next item.

Your Maximum Leader believes that the Bush team started the campaign season a bit too soon. Why not wait until John Edwards started to get a little desperate and started to go after Kerry? Why not let the two of them duke it out some? By coming out against Kerry now, you risk the chance of making Edwards the nominee. (Who, by the way, your Maximum Leader thinks is a much stronger candidate - of the Democrats still running.) By the Bush people going and attacking Kerry, who’s major strength as been the nebulous term “electability;” they threaten to make him appear “less electable.” If he starts looking less electable, perhaps the Democratic primary voters will decide to switch horses (the season is yet young). To your Maximum Leader, this looks like a “strategery” mistake by the Bush Campaign. Sure Edwards was running a clean campaign, but the desperation hadn’t set in yet. And the media hadn’t grown tired of Kerry yet. Just wait a few more weeks. Things could change. Why engage your enemy when you don’t have to fight? (Didn’t Master Sun admonish us to avoid avoidable combat?) It seems that the good Mr. Rove and company just didn’t like seeing the low poll numbers.

Not like the polls mean anything at this point. And we all know (at least your Maximum Leader knows) that any Democrat will get about 40% of the vote and any Republican will get about 40% of the vote - just for being the party nominee. The independents that both sides are looking for are too busy living their lives to care much about the election at this point. They will not focus on the election until September. (August at the earliest.) So just keep your powder dry and wait.

And then there is Ralph. Your Maximum Leader doesn’t know what to think of Ralph Nader. On the one hand your Maximum Leader believes him to be an ideologue with an ideology that is hard to stomach. On the other hand, Nader is an honest ideologue and that is worth a little something. At any rate, your Maximum Leader doesn’t believe that Nader will be much of a factor at all in this race. Especially since he will not be on the ballots of all 50 states. (Sure he says he will, but your Maximum Leader doubts that he will get the organization needed to do it.) Your Maximum Leader also is tired of the whole canard of “he cost Gore the election.” Nader did not cost Gore the election. If Gore had won his putative “home” state of Tennessee, the outcome of the race could have been different. If people weren’t allowed to write-in candidates, the outcome could have been different. If Pat Buchanan hadn’t run, the outcome could have been different. Alas, there are too many radicals on the table to blame poor Ralph fr all of it. Nader will be an interesting diversion from the main race. Sort of like a side-show tent at a carnival. Sure you might be morbidly curious about the two-headed man, or the giant cockroach that eats babies; but really you want to get to the big top and watch the professional clowns.

Carry on.

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