April 6, 2005


A governor critiques Kerry's bid (Scot Lehigh, April 6, 2005, Boston Globe)

SAY THIS about Ed Rendell: He's no blow-dried pol offering up pleasing platitudes. Stocky, balding, gravel-voiced, yet still oddly charismatic, the governor of Pennsylvania is using a Monday appearance at Harvard Law School to critique what went wrong for the Democrats in the presidential election -- and sounding very much like a man who wants to run nationally himself in 2008.

Which, despite having recently said he would ''absolutely" complete his term if reelected in 2006, Rendell tells the Globe he just may do.

But first, his judgment on the Kerry campaign: It oversimplified the Democratic message, offering easy-to-blur assertions rather than more-detailed explanations that could have made differences vivid.

How many of the students know the difference between the Kerry and Bush economic programs, he asks? Or the contrasting approaches on healthcare? A couple of hands go up in a crowd of 35 or 40.

''Can you imagine what the average American thinks?" he asks. ''Even though the issues that people care about are hugely on our side, we've insisted on dumbing them down."

Down to the point where Kerry's ads essentially limited themselves to asserting that Kerry had a healthcare plan that would increase access and cut middle-class costs, Rendell says. The problem: Voters soon saw Bush ads making the same basic claim, he says.

''Do we think that voters are so dumb that we have to feed them pabulum, that we can't try to explain why we are better on the issues than they are?" Rendell asks. If so, the Democrats are in trouble, because the Republicans have a better bumper sticker message, he says.

In a later interview, Rendell adds: ''They used to make fun of Bill Clinton for giving too much detail, but people knew what Bill Clinton was trying to achieve."

Nothing seems more likely to shift the black vote to the GOP than a Jewish nominee at the top of the Democratic ticket. Recall how studiedly the party ignored Joe Lieberman? It's a chance they can't take.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 6, 2005 6:36 PM

Try again OJ.

Every single piece of polling data on the matter indicates that Blacks hate us less than they hate other White people. Sure, Queasy Mfume and Chickenblood Jackson tried to get some trenchance with anti-Israel sentiment, but that was far more the result of Libyan money than any groundswell of anti-semitism from the rank and file.

Lieberman's problems were with the MoveOn crowd, who hated his pro-defense stance, and the Hollywooders, who hated his criticism of their cheesy movies.

As for Rendell, this is a shot across the bow against Kerry from the Hildebeest's campaign, nothing more. Rendell is not running, except maybe for VP or Treasury.

Posted by: at April 6, 2005 6:45 PM




And they blame Jews for killing Christ in far higher numbers than whites do.

Posted by: oj at April 6, 2005 6:51 PM

Yeah, more detailed explanation of your health plan. That's never failed to win a presidential election.

Posted by: David Cohen at April 6, 2005 7:17 PM

Rendell was a very good mayor of Philadelphia. He didn't exactly make the trains run on time, but he fixed up almost everything else. His predecessor so trashed up City Hall that one simply couldn't get a deed recorded for several months at a timer. The real estate business was relying on a majot title insurance company to run a shadow recorder's office. Rendell fixed that, got the trash picked up, and did a lot of other things he is well remembered for. He appears to be the same sort of Governor, and is thought of as having cut his big-city ties.

That said, his appeal is to the old Democrat constitutencies: unions, Negroes, government workers, homosexuals, gun-grabbers, baby-killers and geezers. If the Republicans mean to fight someone like him for the Democrat base, they will have fragmented theri own and the game is lost. Rember "Kinder, gentler nation?"

Posted by: Lou Gots at April 6, 2005 7:18 PM

You massively underestimate the intensity of anti-White feelings among Blacks which are essentially universal.

Posted by: bart at April 6, 2005 7:21 PM

bart -

American Blacks tend (tend) not to lump in Jewish people with garden variety Caucasions. Poor urban Blacks once felt the same way about Jewish merchants, for instance, as they do these days about Koreans. (Ask OJ about the 1967 Newark riots.) And a growing number of Blacks are concluding that Jewish liberals have been using them for their own political purposes. I happen to think there's at least a germ of truth in that stereotype, as there usually is.

Posted by: ghostcat at April 6, 2005 7:23 PM


There is a tendency on the part of some Jewish liberals, Mark Green most obviously, to approach Blacks with a kind of noblesse oblige, that they are better able to govern Blacks than Blacks are. But I doubt you could make the same accusation about Rendell or Bloomberg. Neither has had much trouble getting huge amounts of Black voters.

I don't think Jewish liberals are any more exploitative of the Black vote than other White liberals. The womens' groups certainly shriek whenever a Black politician dares criticize the Emily's List consensus.

Posted by: bart at April 6, 2005 7:37 PM

bart -

I'm just trying to present (second hand, at best) the poor urban Black perspective. Like all human perspectives, it is not neatly objective and rational.

Posted by: ghostcat at April 6, 2005 8:06 PM

All this assumes that the mostly white and mostly liberal Democratic caucus voters in Iowa and primary voters in New Hampshire would give Ed Rendell the time of day to begin with. He might get some union support, but among those who drive the party, his record isn't liberal enough and he doesn't have as many chips to call in among the true believers as Mrs. Clinton, who is allowed to stray further off the reservation than any of the other presidential wanna-bes.

Posted by: John at April 6, 2005 8:09 PM


Jews aren't white?

Posted by: oj at April 7, 2005 12:53 AM

The voice of moderation will stand no chance in the 2008 Democrat primaries

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at April 7, 2005 1:26 AM


N.B. I did use the phrase 'Jews and other White liberals' four answers up from here.

As long as Whites can be discriminated against we will be considered White. When that ceases, we will once again resume 'mud-people' status. So you have nothing to worry about.

Posted by: at April 7, 2005 7:16 AM

So Jews have two strikes, rather than being less hated than "whites".

Posted by: oj at April 7, 2005 8:03 AM

Bart (I assume) pretty much hits it. If being white is advantageous, then Jews are not white. If being white is disadvantageous, then Jews are white.

Posted by: David Cohen at April 7, 2005 11:18 AM