Release Kerry's Military Records?
Plus--How could the Bush campaign have already spent $39 million?
Save That Page! O.K., write your own snide, cynical link then.... 11:02 P.M.
People don't like him because he's a leader! That's it! Wonkette has somehow become Kerrysex Central while maintaining a suitable ironic distance. ...She also makes fun of David Welna of NPR's sycophantic "born leader" explanation for Kerry's wasted Senate years:
This is a John Kerry I'd never known before: affable, funny, relaxed. Most striking of all, he is not so self-absorbed. Presidential candidate Kerry is, as Tom Wolfe might put it, a man in full -- rather than full of himself, as he seemed in the halls of Congress. ...
So what gives with this transformation? ... [H]ere's my theory: Kerry has, for better or worse, the natural temperament of a leader, a loner in charge. That's his manner whether he's in charge of a gunboat, a movement of anti-war veterans, or, if things keep going his way, of the nation that brought you the Electoral College....
It's not, I admit, a completely implausible theory--although it's competing with the more powerful "good in a crisis, bad the rest of the time" explanation for Kerry's erratic leadership performance. Kerry could have become a leader in the U.S. Senate, after all. Nobody was stopping him, and he was there for 19 years. ... P.S.: There's an even simpler explanation for Kerry's new "affable, funny" demeanor: serotonin. It's evolution's way of trying to equip us all to be leaders (and, not coincidentally, to take advantage of the reproductive possibilities high-status positions offered in the millenia before Drudge--which explains the other Kerry items on Wonkette). ... Everyone is a "born leader," in this serotonin sense--whether we are good at leading or not. I'd be "affable" too if I'd just won a string of primaries. ... 9:25 P.M.
I tend to favor Rationales #6 and #8. ... Kerry's running as a "character" and "electability" candidate. Democratic primary voters are entitled to know virtually everything about him (if true), whether or not it affects his "issue" positions, and whether or not Democratic primary voters even think it's relevant--as long as some substantial group of voters might think it relevant, thereby affecting his alleged ability to beat Bush. ... Live by electability, die by electability. ... Absent a compelling policy distinction, which Kerry does not offer, why would Democrats want to risk going through a Clinton-like ordeal again? Democrats suppressed widely-believed intimations of trouble in 1992, and wound up with a president who wasted half his second term on a sex scandal. ... P.S.: I haven't dared look at Sullivan's site yet--he isn't going on about Kerry's right to privacy is he? [ A bit. Mainly he's rediscovered the Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce-ed And come up with Rationale #12: "It's an outrageous invasion of privacy. Why, look at what they're saying about Senator Kerry now!" Why not #11?-ed Wonkette has #11.] ... 8:49 P.M.
Kerry advisor: "Everything is on the table. Everything." Heh. All kf has to add to the current intensified speculation as to Kerry's electability is the following excerpt (from NEXIS) of a suggestive-but-not-even-close-to-definitive item from the 1998 Boston Herald, to which I was steered a few weeks ago by a skeptical and unaligned feminist Democrat. Note that the period in question is after Sen. Kerry's marriage to Teresa but before Arnold Schwarzenegger demonstrated just how much personal piggishness you can now get away with if voters really want to elect you:
September 2, 1998 Wednesday FIRST EDITION
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 008
LENGTH: 811 words
HEADLINE: Inside Track; Job seeker is model constituent
BYLINE: By GAYLE FEE & LAURA RAPOSA
Question of the day: Who was the statuesque blonde strutting out of Sen. John Kerry's palatial Louisburg Square manse late Monday night when Kerry's wife, heiress Teresa Heinz, was on Nantucket?
We are told she is [name omitted] a 22-year-old Harvard student and former model who, Kerry's people claim, was dropping off a resume.
Our spies on the Square say the stunning Southern gal, dressed in oh-so-chic black, arrived at Kerry's townhouse around 11:15 p.m. and left just before the clock struck 12.
Which leads us to ask: In the age of Monica Lewinsky, is it smart for a senator with presidential aspirations to be entertaining attractive women when the wife is away?
"He was very kind to me. He offered to pass my resume along," [the student] told the Track.
The Georgetown grad said she was not at Kerry's home at midnight - more like 10:45 p.m. - and that she would have dropped off the resume earlier except that it was locked in her brother's apartment.
Both [the student] and Kerry's people insist the encounter was completely innocent. They said the senator met [the student] on Nantucket earlier this summer, then again last weekend. ...
Do voters know that Kerry opposed the Vietnam War in 1966 before he went to fight there? Here are two grafs from Samuel Z. Goldhaber's 1970 Harvard Crimson article:
At Yale, Kerry was chairman of the Political Union and later, as Commencement speaker, urged the United States to withdraw from Vietnam and to scale down foreign military operations. And this was way back in 1966.
When he approached his draft board for permission to study for a year in Paris, the draft board refused and Kerry decided to enlist in the Navy.
Ann Coulter might say "No wonder we lost." I can't make up my mind if Kerry's prior view makes his service more noble--he opposed the war but did his duty anyway--or hypocritical and self-preserving--he went and killed people in a cause he didn't think justified the killing. If Kerry opposed the war maybe he should have resisted it. It would also have taken some guts, after all, to go to jail.
Photograph of Howard Dean on the Slate home page by Jim Bourg/Reuters.