September 29, 2004


A Fast Finisher's Reputation Now Faces the Ultimate Test (TODD S. PURDUM, 9/29/04, NY Times)

In 1996, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts was struggling to keep his job in the face of a stiff challenge by his state's popular, aw-shucks Republican governor, William F. Weld, when midway through a series of televised debates, he began a confession that suddenly became a boast.

"I'm very well aware that when God made me, one of the debits he gave was sort of an overlevel of intensity, maybe an overlevel of earnestness," Mr. Kerry said that August in the fourth of eight debates. "I don't sort of wear every part of me on my sleeve as easily as some people do, and I know that. On the other hand, what I do know about myself is that when you have a fight, I'm a good person to be in a foxhole with, and I know that we're in a fight right now."

Eight years later, Mr. Kerry is in the fight of his political life, against President Bush, and he and his supporters are counting on the reputation he cemented in that 1996 campaign and again in the Democratic primaries this year as a candidate who runs best from behind, a political Seabiscuit who pulls ahead after from his anxiety-producing slow starts.

It's kind of sad that John Kerry's entire political reputation rests on an election where he could only get 52% of the vote while Bill Clinton was beating Bob Dole 61% - 28%.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 29, 2004 12:00 AM

Senator Seabiscuit, D(Marblehead). I like that. It's got kind of a ring to it.

Posted by: joe shropshire at September 29, 2004 12:39 AM

True to prediction, the chorus of "he's a strong finisher" has commenced.

Posted by: Twn at September 29, 2004 8:29 AM

Senator Seabiscuit.

That reminded me of the claim that Kerry had a hoarse voice. I felt it went with his horse face, and that, after all, he is a neigh-sayer.

Posted by: Bart at September 30, 2004 8:39 AM