"And Now I Will Project a Cheery Optimism:" LAT's Gold and La Ganga outline Kerry's somewhat formulaic efforts to "cast his candidacy in sunny sheen." Here, for example, is what they call the "upbeat" ending to his recent speech on bioterrorism:
"But leadership is about telling the truth, and it is about talking about the real choices we face as Americans in order to be stronger. I know we can be stronger here at home."
Whoa there! Don't use up all the soaring rhetoric at once! ... How silly is the Kerry camp's attempt to fake it for 6 months by pretending that Kerry's an upbeat figure? Kerry's not even convincingly sunny for 10 seconds in his new "positive" 30 second spot, "Optimists." Any warm, upbeat human incidents Kerry aide Tad Devine can gather will be overwhelmed in a war with the daily drone of Kerry's pompous default speaking voice. Face it--he's The Man from Mope! Isn't it better to lower expectations in the Cheering Optimism department and focus on a nuts-and-bolts, no-BS jockish competence? ... P.S. "Anybody who knows him says he can be very comfortable, charming, nice to be with," Devine tells the Times. "And if anyone questions his charm and niceness, then everything is on the table. Everything!" ... OK, maybe he didn't say that last bit. ... P.P.S.: So far, Kerry's best "charm" witness is ... intern Alexandra Polier! She says Kerry was "flirtatious and funny"! ... 3:41 A.M.
Monday, June 7, 2004
Transit of Meanness: Various valued kf readers agree that Ronald Reagan was a lot more genial in the 80s than the '60s, though there is some debate about the timing and a lot of debate about the causes. Some possible explanations: 1) The Sixties--you'd be feisty and defensive too if you were a conservative running in the Summer of Love, with the left visibly ascendant and hippies running amok, etc. 2) You almost have to maximize your likability* if you are running a national political campaign, as Reagan was from the mid-1970s on; 3)Everybody seems nastier and more Jack Webb-like in old TV and radio clips, including the reporters. Edward R. Murrow, what an a-----e! And that grumpy old Mr. Cronkite. People just presented themselves differently in public then. More Humphrey Bogartish and Gary Cooperesque. Today everyone you see on TV is coached to be "happy to be here" and nobody laughs at Washington Week'sJeff Birnbaum forcing himself to grin like a raver on Ecstasy. The median has shifted dramatically niceward--but Reagan was genial back then, by the standards of the day. ... P.S.: The one theory I don't think will fly is the liberals' favorite, that Reagan got nicer after he was shot. (Why is it the liberals' favorite? Because it can be implicitly spun as "he finally suffered and learned compassion.") The problem is that Reagan was plenty genial in the 1980 campaign, months before the assassination attempt. ...
*--What about Kerry? The scary possibility is he may already be doing this!. ... 10:59 P.M.
Kerry Suspends Campaigning: Shrewd move. Alert kf reader A.L. emails that Kerry'd be doing better in the polls if he'd also taken a week off when Tony Randall died. ... 3:02 P.M.
While federal law prohibits a person from seeking a third presidential term, the Constitution does not specify whether or not a former commander in chief can become vice president.
Drudge then effectively took it back by citing citing the text of the Twelfth Amendment, which says, in part, that "no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States."