The Man who would be Kennedy
The premise of this article seems inane at first glance. After all, who would have cared what Michael Dukakis was doing with his time in 1990? (I was busy planning an assault on the technodrome in dimension-X) However, this article reveals and documents the cultural phenomenon of ostracizing losers, which has characterized the Democratic party in the past few decades. It also features reflective and interesting reporting. Plus, by giving a nod to the "also-rans," I'll feel like I'm doing Fritz a solid. See you at Kowalski's, Homey.
For starters, I liked the breadth of sources- not just in terms of people but also in media. Here are a few examples, just to illustrate: The Boston Globe, the Drudge Report, Terry McAuliffe's book, John McCain, John Kerry's closest friend, and more. It'st telling that the only major player in the upcoming presidential race to be quoted is John McCain, a Republican. Conspicuous by their absence are the aspiring Democrats. Although it is unclear whether they were even apprached. The article also features a run-down of Republicans who lost their White House bids but retained respectability. Not mentioned are previous democratic losers, who might as well be wintering on Saint Helena, Al Gore excepted. There are also moments of bitter irony, like when a paragraph describing how Kerry's visage has been downgraded from "funereal" to ghoulish segues into a quote about how people want "fresh faces," not losers. As if that weren't enough, the quote is attributed to John Kerry's closest friend. The media gets credit for saying what liberals, except for Kerry's closest colleagues, seem to be thinking. Among the most notable are the Boston Globe's remark that the windsurfer's caucus will have to support another candidate, and the Drudge report posting a photo of Kerry breaking down during the press conference where he announced he would not seek the presidential nomination. The article also asserts, contrary to many (uncited) media reports, Kerry broke down when he mentioned an acquaintance who had died in the Iraq war, not in self-pity over his political misfortune. The article doesn't venture a guess as to why the Democratic party needs to rejuvinate itself by drinking the blood of its fallen generals, or why the Republicans put their losers on a pedestal. It seems backward and bizarre and I wish it was addressed more deeply. In the end, Kerry, unlike some of his predecessors, can take solace in his "rock star" status in Switzerland, where flip-flopping is enshrined as form of neutrality.