Friday, September 24, 2004

Saletan and Morford on Kerry

Saletan has a nice rundown of Kerry's position on the Iraq war.

Morford sums the election up well in his usual style.

Kerry ain't exactly a firestorm of magnetism and inspiration. He is, unfortunately, more than a little staid, pedestrian, beige. On Letterman, on "The Daily Show," on Leno, he was finely honed and well groomed and grinning and likable enough, a true die-hard patrician politician almost completely devoid of modern-day TV-ready sparkle and zing. He's just so ... solid. And book learned. And experienced. And deeply intelligent. American translation: yawn.

But is this really why many moderates just can't get themselves to like Kerry all that much, even if they agree with his policies and his stellar environmental record and his Vietnam heroism and even if they know Bush really, really has to go? Because he's just too sober and conventional? Or is it the hair? The WASP entitlement? The booming, deadening oratory style?

Or is it the lack of a winking charm, of a flirtatious Clintonesque gleam in the eye that says he's onto this whole bulls-- game and knows how to play it better than anyone and can flaunt the well-known fact that any 8-year-old can outmaneuver George W. Bush in a contest of intellect and acumen and simple algebra? Yea, verily.

Simply put, Kerry is disliked because he is just not enjoyably slick enough. Or cleverly cold blooded enough. Or deftly manipulative enough. And in this day and age, if you ain't massively and strategically calculating on a hundred different levels (or if you don't, like Bush, have a snarling team of demon dogs to orchestrate it all for you), you're hamburger.

This, then, is the bizarre conundrum. Where Bush is all bumbling mispronunciations and massive stacks of warmongering lies and foreign policy like an international cancer, Kerry is simply "annoying."

Where Bush has let more than 1,000 U.S. soldiers die in Iraq with nary a shrug and has allowed tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians -- women and children included -- to be killed over his bogus and lie-strewn war and when he openly refuses to admit his appalling mistakes and holds an absolutely unwavering and imbecilic brick-headed conviction that war is good and God is on our side and money and stick size decide all conflicts, Kerry is ... what, again? Oh, right, a little bit "flip-floppy."

Normally, Kerry would be an impressive enough contender, especially against Dubya. Kerry can, after all, speak in complete, polysyllabic sentences. He can read above a high school level. He can speak extemporaneously, without a TelePrompter. He is not loathed the world over and is not widely considered the most dangerous and reckless and hostile leader of any free-world country on the planet.

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