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December 06, 2003

Alterman on Kerry

Essentially, Alterman summarizes why it's sad that Kerry has run such a poor campaign-- he deserves far more respect than he's gotten by the "horse race" media, but there's no mistaking the fact that he's failed to connect with voters.

Alterman and others blame Kerry's Iraq vote, but I don't think that's enough of an explanation, since Kerry's position of giving Bush an initial benefit of the doubt but feeling betrayed by his unilateralism is probably the consensus Democrat position.

I think Atrios's position on this is also about right.

I think this understates Dean's positive success, not just in framing his own Iraq position (which is only one inch more anti-war than Kerry, since Dean supported the war in Afghanistan and supports keeping the troops in Iraq) but more importantly just defining a broad "anti-Bush" position from early on. Kerry's "Stop the Madness" message-- see the adstrip to the left -- is just too little, too late.

Dean's antiwar position was less important on the substance of Iraq than as a signal to a broader set of Dems that he was willing to fight, period. If Kerry had exuded the same energy to take on Bush on a whole range of issues early on, his Iraq vote wouldn't have been a problem.

Posted by Nathan at December 6, 2003 01:38 PM