John Kerry, political idiot
Jake Tapper reports for ABC that John Kerry said he doesn’t need the South: Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is discounting notions that any Democratic candidate would have to appeal to Southern voters in order to win the presidency, calling such thinking a “mistake” during a speech at Dartmouth College. Kerry’s remarks Saturday were so starkly ...
Jake Tapper reports for ABC that John Kerry said he doesn't need the South:
Jake Tapper reports for ABC that John Kerry said he doesn’t need the South:
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is discounting notions that any Democratic candidate would have to appeal to Southern voters in order to win the presidency, calling such thinking a “mistake” during a speech at Dartmouth College. Kerry’s remarks Saturday were so starkly antithetical to how many southern Democrats feel their party should campaign for the presidency, that a former South Carolina state Democratic chairman told ABCNEWS that Sen. Ernest “Fritz” Hollings, D-S.C., who endorsed Kerry last week, perhaps “ought to reconsider his endorsement.” During a town hall meeting on the Dartmouth campus, Kerry noted that former Vice President Al Gore would be president if he’d won any number of other non-Southern states in 2000, including New Hampshire, West Virginia, and Ohio. “Everybody always makes the mistake of looking South,” Kerry said, in response to a question about winning the region. “Al Gore proved he could have been president of the United States without winning one Southern state, including his own.” “I think the fight is all over this country,” Kerry said. “Forget about those red and blue states. We’re going to change that now, and we’re going to go out there and change the face of America.”
Simple question: what the hell was John Kerry thinking? Let’s acknowledge at the outset that Kerry is correct on the facts. If Gore had won just one more state, he would have become president. Politically, however, this is just stupid. As I’ve argued previously, the best way for Kerry to knock Edwards and Clark out of the race is to win South Carolina. How is this statement going to help that? Even if Kerry gets the nomination, this regional “f#$k you” is going to haunt him regardless of how many mea culpas the Kerry campaign churns out. There’s a more substantive point, however — does anyone want a president elected without support across regional boundaries? This applies to Bush as well as the Dems. You want a president to be able to say they command support in the Northeast, South, Midwest and West. UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan asks:
The cultural divide between the South and the rest of the country is getting pretty yawning. Isn’t it equally true that the Republicans have given up on most of the Northeast?
Gotta disagree on both counts. On the former, read Daniel Urman’s first-person account of going door-to-door in New Hampshire. As for the Republicans and New England, the Republicans hold five out of the twelve possible Senate seats and five out of the six governors seats. Bush won New Hampshire in 2000. It’s Democrat-friendly territory, no doubt, but the Republicans still need to do well there. UPDATE: Tom Maguire reinforces Tapper’s point that Kerry has said this before.
Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner
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