Kerry: Reevaluating ’08

Cross Posted From Article of Faith:

Associates Say Joke Fallout Stunned Him:

Senator John F. Kerry’s election-eve “botched joke” about the war in Iraq — and the fierce denunciations his comments drew from fellow Democrats — has led him to reevaluate whether to mount a run for the presidency in 2008 and has led him to delay an announcement about his decision, according to Kerry associates.

“The Massachusetts Democrat is now leaning toward waiting until late spring before declaring his intentions, even as other candidates jump into the race and begin building organizing and fund-raising teams in early-primary states. Before the joke derailed his comeback, Kerry had signaled that he would decide whether to run by the end of January.

Kerry — who had methodically resurrected his political standing after a tough loss to President Bush in 2004 — was stunned by the swift, angry reaction to his Oct. 30 statement that underachieving students would end up “stuck in Iraq.” Aides and friends say the senator was particularly stung by the fact that so many Democrats had joined Republicans in rebuking him.”

As we’ve all been writing in the month since this happened, the most stunning aspect of the whole over-reaction was that of fellow-Dems like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and others who jumped at the chance to “distance themselves” from Kerry and his comments. All over an “incident” which was nothing more than a missing pronoun.

Losers. How funny will it be if the 2004 nominee ends up running an “outsiders” insurgency campaign for the nomination in ’08? “I’m John Kerry and I’m not a neophyte, nor am I a mealy-mouthed triangulator who will say anything to get elected. I’m a guy who stands for what he believes, missing pronouns and all.”

Either way, it looks like we have several more months of speculation to endure about another run.

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36 Responses to Kerry: Reevaluating ’08

  1. mbk says:

    Here is some welcome perspective from Mark Barrett at The Premise:

    “Several weeks ago Hillary Clinton was on fire, Barack Obama was a curiosity, John Kerry was dead, John McCain was a lock and Mitt Romney was worth a chuckle.
    “This week Hillary Clinton is out of touch, Barack Obama is on fire, John Kerry is being interviewed by the Iraq Survey Group, John McCain is looking nervous and Mitt Romney is being attacked from all sides — which is to say he’s finally being taken seriously.
    “That’s the way these things go. Emotionally it can feel like you’re riding a rollercoaster in the middle of a tornado, but only if you buy into the idea that any of this matters.
    “It doesn’t matter. It’s blather. Blather squared. Megablather.”
    [rest of essay at url above]

    Here’s my 2 cents to add to Mark Barrett’s : what matters to me is that John Kerry is head and shoulders above any of the other “mentionables”, that he has the Right Stuff to be a great president, and it’s high time that both the Dems, and the country, started to get serious about nominating and electing someone who is really the best person for the job of president. The president is not supposed to be entertainer-in-chief, or media-celebrity-in-chief, or divider-in-chief, or fund-raiser-in-chief. The president should be the person best equipped to govern, the person best equipped to change the direction of our country, to restore its social and economic health, and to resotre its moral authority in the world.
    Even the whiff of possibility that one omitted word of a dumb joke could even threaten to outweigh 40 years of distinguished public service is far more damning of US as a society– of the warped priorities of the media, of the Dem party, of the citizenry, of our country– than it could possibly be of John Kerry.

    “Let’s get serious” is my mantra these days.
    If , with all the serious problems in our country and beyond, if the 2008 election turns, yet again, on non-issues of personality, media celebrity, talking-head blather, and political consultants and journalists confusing the good of their careers with the good of our country, our country is FINISHED. The suggestion that voters actually voted on the issues in 2006 gave me some tentative hope that people were finally waking up. I hope my hope is not misplaced.

    We need a president. We need a grown-up for president. We have never needed John Kerry more . I’m crossing my fingers that John Kerry runs, because he’s , without question, the best person for the job.

  2. showman says:

    I like the fact Kerry is holding off on an announcement myself. He has the luxury to do that with his name recognition and money. I like thne fact he keeping the media guessing on his plans. If he announce now it would not be a good thing. All of his moves in the senate would be considered positioning for 08. Pronoungate just let him know that he has enemies on both sides and to trust to know one. This give him the groundwork to run as an outsider indurgent without question.I say let the media and his rivals sweat it out. I’m 99.99 percent sure the lanky yankee will run in 08.

  3. mbk says:

    Showman, many thanks for your sensible comments. I think you’re absolutely right!

  4. Marjorie G says:

    I never worry about Kerry being able to perform, whenever and wherever, especially when in his own voice. The campaign had special challenges of a misinformed and afraid America.

    If anyone, he is a learner, able to correct and tack (sp?). Bush has never learned anything, ever, and I find that amazing, as a human, and terrifying in a president. Even one who is heavily directed.

    So many are dismissing him, and actively so. I just want his reputation back. His leadership capability appreciated and allowed. With so much directed to the next four years elections, always, I am losing patience that anything smart and worthwhile can ever happen for this country.

    I believe in every instinct and judgment of John Kerry, where leadership of issues are involved.

    During the campaign, I would always say there is no one more emotionally and intellectually prepared to be president. For that reason, it’s hard for us, and for him, to let go.

    He will decide how best to make the decision. Knowing he really won makes this harder.

    I see the insurgent campaign for Gore, whose campaign gaffes have more distance. His race more obviously won because of the ballots. Then there is the great movie.

    And he didn’t have to vote the IWR.

    People don’t vote smart.

    We’ll see.

  5. showman says:

    Please excuse my typos in me last post. I get caught up in these posts at times.

  6. sandrakae says:

    It breaks my heart that a pronoun could cost my the chance to have the most qaulified man to be my President. It says a lot about this country. People in this country just do not get it.

  7. Sandrakae, et al

    Yes people in this country just don’t get it.

    Let’s all think positive however… I think that pronoun will run it’s course and JK will emerge stronger than ever!

  8. Ginny Cotts says:

    mbk showman,and Marjorie.

    Excellent! I like ‘Let’s get serious’ but if it’s not too old, ‘Let’s get real’ might connect better. Or maybe,

    ‘Let’s get real, seriously’

    I think it’s interesting how the interviewers treated Kerry. They’re still seriously asking him if he will run or when he will announce. Colmes went out of his way to say he had supported Kerry and offer him a chance to say whatever.

    Otherwise, they were on Iraq and what he said to the commission, what he thought of the leaked info, etc.

    So I think he has the opportunity to continue to do his exemplary work – with more attention from the media and the chance to replace the comment with other impressions. Focusing what needs to be done and getting it done for a couple of months, then reassessing. I am convinced that those of us who support him can get people to give the picture a different perspective,

    It is time America grows up when it comes to electing a President.

    I’d love to see a totally different campaign. Lots of grassroots input and using technology. Conference calls for a specific area or subject. Townhall meetings that can be streamed from the blog. A lot of commercials that say, there’s just too much to know about JK, go to this website or call the local Dem party.

    Well it’s a q___t day at work but I’d better get back to it.

  9. mbk says:

    Ginny, I love all your suggestions for a different kind of campaign. I also like “Let’s get real, seriously”.

  10. Indie Liberal says:


    The Gore “liberal sainthood” is interesting isn’t it? There have been threads at Democratic Underground anointing him, Clark, and Obama as liberal darlings cause they didn’t have to vote on the IWR (which still comes up unfortunately :()

  11. BlueWashington says:

    To hell with what the pundits think. And really, I don’t JK cares about the pundits. I do agree with some of the others here – after the whole ‘joke’ BS – that JK can figure out (if he hasn’t done so already) who he’ll be catching hell from inside the party.
    As others have said, JK has the funds, has the name recognition, a nice email list, some organization – he can sit back and watch how the field shapes up. And, he and THK have a book due out in the spring; the book operation will help check the waters.
    Between now and the book, JK can use the time to check on his network in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and S. Carolina, and check on some of those critical ‘big’ money donors.

    Someone up above mentioned Gore. I don’t see it. Gore is about the environment and making movies. I think he’s put elective politics behind him.

    Last – the Quinnipiac University Poll – BFD. How warm do you feel towards someone? Give me a break. A) It was a snapshot in time, and B) It was a snapshot taken right after ‘the joke’. JK should be worried about what Ford was doing – he was in the midst of his own problems and Hillary is Hillary, a total hack. JK, you’re doing just fine. Go out and give a speech at some place like the Brookings Institution – remind the public of how qualified you really are to run for president.

  12. BlueWashington says:

    Last paragraph – JK SHOULDN’T be worried about what Ford was doing… Opps.

    My bad.

  13. sandrakae says:


    I was very impressed with Colmes for starting the interview with. “Is there anything you want to say?”. That was very classy.

  14. showman says:

    Blue Washington,

    You put everything in perspective and more. I see JK doing everything you suggested and a little bit more. I know in good confidence Kerry has some other aces up his leave. The book will be a big deal.

  15. Marjorie G says:

    About Gore. Carvile, I read, is on Gore’s team (not Hillary’s, or both?), and Jimmy Carter endorsed him. That’s more than quixotic.

    Resentments about 04 still run high with those who never understood or forgave him.

    That may remain.

    We have plenty opportunity for him to get out there and do his determined magic.

  16. battlebob says:

    Ron made a good point at Liberal Values and I’ll add my to it.

    The real issue is not so much the botched joke but that Kerry’s staff did not anticipate the response.

    As soon as the speech transcript was posted on this site, the mistake was obvious. Right wing blogs were getting cranked up immediately. Then the media got a hold of it and then Kerry responded.

    In the 24 hour media world we are in, someone on the Kerry staff must monitor the opposition constantly. When they see something, they have to prepare a reaction.

    The days of saying that reacting makes the issue worse existed in a time before internet news. It might take days for a story to leak out and if a response was given, that might take another day. So responding did keep the issues present. That time lag is missing so every story goes from 0 to 60 immediately.

    There was talk like this during the smearvet lies where staff and some folks on this blog thought a Kerry response would lead credence to the story. Those days are long gone.

    The mantras must be never ignore a threat and always listen to what your opponent is saying.

  17. battlebob says:

    I meant the old Kerry blog where most of us were very active.

  18. Bryan says:

    I have 5 acres with main road high visibility frontage with a spot reserved for one large John Kerry sign.

    I hope the big truck arrives soon to put it up! Otherwise, I am going to put the horses out there (no need to waste the space)!

    That’s it.
    Enough said.

  19. nick carraway says:

    He’s got to want to do it– one of the problems I have with an Al Gore candidacy is that I don’t think he wants it.

    If Kerry is “stunned” by anything, it’s probably that his (& Howard Dean’s) efforts paid off so spectacularly and he’s part of a Senate majority– depending on what Reid, et al, want to do, there could be a real opportunity for Kerry to tie up some of those Iran-Contra loose ends that have cost this country tremendously the last six years. And if that’s the case, I seriously doubt he’d run for President– he would want to do his Senate job right. So he has all kinds of phone calls and meetings to make & investigate his options fully (one of the things I like about him). That itself takes time.

    But I wonder if the Dem establishment will allow him free rein on any matter– the botched Dem reaction to the botched joke makes me think they don’t “get it”, even yet. They still believe some “Jesus” figure will be able to *finesse* the “vast right wing conspiracy”– when driving a stake into it’s heart is what needs to be done, and what Kerry *tried* to do.

  20. BlueWashington says:

    Marjorie G,

    Does Gore have a team for a presidential campaign? All I’ve heard talk about and work on lately are environmental issues – you know, he’s been hitting the dinner circuit. (Not to be a gossip, but has anyone noticed how big Gore’s been getting lately?) It was really nice of Carter to talk up Gore, though.

    Carville is a Clinton guy; I guess I’d be really surprised if he were working for Gore. Clinton and Gore are oil and water – could Carville move that easily between the two? I’d have to say no, but hey that’s just me.

    battlebob – my apologies – I think I missed something…

  21. BlueWashington says:

    Er – well, not to sure what happened with my computer battlebob, but I see your comment now.

  22. Blue W

    Not your computer – I’ve been out all day and there were comments held up in the Mod Queue. Sorry folks… I had some personal stuff to take care of today.

  23. Battlebob

    The Kerry team actually never posted the text of the “joke” speech for a couple of days after the first response. The first reaction was a press release responding to the first major “media” assault on the joke which happened late the day/night of the speech.

    One or two small tv stations aired a clip and then a few right wing blogs picked up on it.

    By morning it was already blown out of proportion. I was there and was the first liberal and Kerry blogger to post about it, attempting to downplay the early assault.

    I have to say I disagree – they were on it very quickly given that JK was on the road. They issued a press release ASAP and then the press conference came soon after that. I don’t think they could have gotten him on air with a major press conference much quicker than they did. The press release went rapid fire and a lot of liberal blogs picked it up. Ron did not post the press release, nor did he post anything about the press conference.

    It’s easy to put the blame somewhere else. Honestly, the reaction from the crowd was fine and being there in the room and with JK’s team after, I don’t think anyone saw it coming. By the time it hit the right wing blogs that night it was too late to do anything. Kind of hard to hold a press conference in the middle of the night and expect anyone to watch or understand what the press conference was about at that point.

    The press release is here –

    The press conference is here –

    The response was very quick it was noted by many bloggers that it was quick.

  24. Indie Liberal says:

    I also hope Kerry will continue to visit the South like he did with Texas and South Carolina (despite the perception that the South doesn’t like “Northeastern liberals”), cause he still gets flak for ignoring the South in 04.

    I keep hearing how Edwards is the only candidate in the 08 field that could sweep the South despite the fact that he didn’t win his homestate in the 04 election.

    Word has it that we should look West instead of the South.

  25. Battlebob

    The first negative comment on the blog about the joke was at about 11:00 am est the following day.

    One or two small TV stations ran with a cut of the joke and right wing blogs took off with it. I responded to the right wing blog attacks that night. And then again the next day.

    Here’s what’s obvious in my book, we don’t have a solid group of JK bloggers willing to directly dispute and take on the right wing bloggers. I do it, but we need more who are willing to step up and go to battle with these fools. Like Peter did with D’Bunker during the campaign.

    It’s not enough to write about supporting JK. It’s not enough to be talking him up on a few blogs and DU, DKos, we have to be willing to take on these liars in the blogosphere and call them on their shit. They perpetuated the swift smears (and still do) and they perpetuated this mess. The day this broke many of the liberal bloggers noted JK’s response, but it wasn’t enough. The wingnuts don’t let things lie after a while, and most liberal bloggers now ignore this whole mess.

  26. showman says:

    I think we should loot out West instead of wasting money in the south. Arkansas and Virginia maybe possibilities in 08 but besides those two its very slim. Dems have way more prospests in the West.

  27. Showman

    LOL! There’s a lot of good stuff in the west.

  28. daveinboca says:

    I hope Kerry sticks around, as he is a poster-boy for the clueless kind of elitism that so many senior Democrats [and Republicans] appear to drift into as a matter of losing their moral compass after years of political life inside the Beltway.

    But Kerry’s crunching defeat in ’04 won’t discourage the likes of him, as he simply has a tone-deaf political ear and an autistic lack of realization that his endless flip-flopping and swerving back and forth and reversing course tells the voter he is a hopeless opportunist, something a lot of people from Massachusetts have known for a long time.

  29. DaveinBoca

    You know I am originally from MA, voted for Kerry as Lt. Gov and his first term in the Senate. Kerry is far from an elitist, sorry you drop that meme on the wrong blog. I’ve got personal stories up the wazoo, as a grassroots blogger who has had quite a bit of contact with the Senator that disproves that BS.

    As for crunching defeat in ’04. Crunching – please spare us the dramatics. The man won more votes than any Dem president, he came damn close to winning, may have if you think about election fraud and his political ear if far from freaking tone-deaf. He listens to his constituents, he listened to the netroots call for a filibuster against Alito, he led the charge on out of Iraq, last fall, not Murtha, Kerry (happy to provide proof).

    Spin it somewhere else, folks around here know better.

  30. showman says:

    Kerry haters kill me with the crushing defeat crap. Win JK won more votes than any democrat in presidential history and second highest vote getter on either period. He may not be in the White House but he came damn close. I’m not sure he didn’t win barring election fraud.

  31. daveinboca Says:
    December 2nd, 2006 at 10:22 pm

    LOL Daveinboca, that is just the kind of thing I would expect someone in Georgia to say. Now run along and stick your head back in the sand!

  32. greenbean says:

    Barack Obama was on Jay Leno Show this past Thursday. The audiences cheered him on as always, from his up-bringing, to bipartisanship, to his innocent in public life. But there was not a single applause on the topic of Iraq (namely politics). As always, he promotes cooperations and working in harmony together with the president. A crowd pleasing statement indeed but not so useful to fire up the fed-ups to act up last elections. What are the frontrunners front running on? Providing no answers to when, where, why and how, holding the commander-in-chief’s feet to the fire on Iraq is not cute for candidates rely so much on popularity, charisma, and likeability. Break down national debt into chunks of interests/hour is also too dangerous to put them at odd with Taxation 301. I thought Obama might have a bit more policy to offer, now that he is considering running. But no, he still had very little to say. Letting others enjoy the hard fought harvest on their butts at his expense is what set John Kerry apart from them. But fixing Iraq requires even higher commitments and more sacrifices. Possible contenders talk the talks to keep them hot, but walk the walks risk to get minus-zero temperature. I do not pretend to know much politics but I do know three simple things. 1) Avoiding responsibilities is not “the new kind of policy”. 2} Republicans lost because of weak leadership, not because “they became fat and lazy”. 3} Downplaying the big break given is not moral. “Middle East” is a project no big shot wants to do, no big shot can do. Why not give it to John Kerry? to

  33. Nick says:

    Interesting article on this by the Associated Press

    I especially liked this part

    “He had thrown himself into helping his party reclaim Congress in the midterm election, campaigning for roughly 80 House, Senate and gubernatorial candidates.

    He also has a political account of $14 million — about the same as New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic front-runner.”
    And don’t forget this nugget

    William Shaheen, a veteran New Hampshire activist whose wife, Jeanne, served as the state’s governor and Kerry’s campaign chairwoman, said the senator remains viable as a presidential candidate because he has a clear strategy on Iraq, a plan for improving health care nationwide and an outline for energy independence.

    “John Kerry is a very complicated guy who offers a lot,” he said.

    As for whom he will support going forward, Shaheen replied: “I’m certainly leaning toward him, because he’s done nothing to violate my trust. I appreciate the race he ran in ’04 and I appreciated what he did this fall.”

  34. Indie Liberal says:


    Interesting about Obama.

    Now that people are touting him as “the Anti-Hillary” candidate and saying that the race will come down those two or that being the winning ticket Obama/H. Clinton or H. Clinton/Obama because it will attract African-Americans and other diverse voters to the race and inspire them to vote.

  35. greenbean says:

    What about after the election, Indie Liberal? We are talking about the highest office of the Land, aren’t we, where leadership counts? And watch out for Schumer, he could be the next Tom Delay in the making.

  36. pen says:

    I agree with greenbean on schumer. Schumer has always been ready to throw Kerry or any one else under the bus.

    I can understand the sting of his own teammate’s betrayal after the joke but I wasn’t surprised and many on this board weren’t surprised. Kerry’s team needs to be even quicker because they were better but still not fast or forceful enough. No mercy people.

    Perhaps it’s because Kerry has worked with these people for years and has campaign for many of them. I guess he still had faith that some dem members of congress and the people he campaigned for would stand with him as he stood with them. Now he knows he can’t trust any of them. Bitter pill to swallow but one that needs to be taken any way.
    The DC dems and msm want Kerry to doubt his chances and himself and he can’t let them do that to him.

    things got as low as they could for Kerry around Nov. 2 2006 and he can only go up now.

    Now that the dems and the media showed their true colors in all their sinister glory there is no way in hell John Kerry should forgo the 08 election.

    The dems in the senate are always going to get in his way of investigating for the truth, healthcare, national security iniatives so I see 2 choices: Quit in 08 or run for pres in 08.
    JK isn’t a quitter so I pray he will run in 08 but I’d let the bastards (media and dc dems) sweat till at least May or June of 07.

    If John Kerry runs in 08 he has to walk on from the DC dem leadership, consultants, and yes many of his colleagues and forge his own way. He can’t be concerned with attacks on his fellow senators hell let them see what it feel likes to get their integrity, values, honor question.

    I still don’t think many in the dem party will be prepared to move beyond the Clintons or this apparition of a shinning knight who is invincible against the msm/GOP slime machine, who won’t make any mistakes, who looks like a movie star, and who certain people in the country would rather have a beer with.

    You’d think by now this damn country would be ready for somebody who could actually do the job of president. A president who is loyal to this country and all its citizens, who cares about the environment and economic health of future generations.

    But if the American people keep listening to the media they will allow the opportunity for a true god fearing man, who loves his country and has the brains, guts to lead it slip away again.

    As Indie and I along with others have said many times before: John Kerry is going to have to find other ways of getting his message out there to the masses. Go to rural areas, urban areas, the burbs to.

    Use the small business committee leadership role to have town halls engage the American public about true business ownership and its benefits.

    Obama, Hillary, are trying to win 08 on star power and not much else.
    The party needs to decide if after 16 years of Bill and Dubya if this is all it deserves.

    If the dems are smart they will say no to the “Red state” lie, star power, nostalgia, Clintons, thin resume, and go with a real man, real solider with a real soul and some sound ideas, they will go with the real deal: John Kerry.

    Now Kerry just has to show and yes sell the real deal to the public any way he can.