DATE: 4/22/2004 08:20:00 AM
Defining Kerry - Senator John Kerry has just begun a huge and telling ad buy in a number of states. Maine is, unfortunately, one of those states, so I've seen some of the new advertisements. The problem for Kerry is that Gore won many of the states where he now finds himself having to spend money: Maine, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Iowa, New Mexico, Oregon, Wisconson, Minnesota and Washington.
Kerry partisans claim that Kerry is buying the advertisements to "introduce" himself to voters that don't know him. Kerry first announced he was forming an exploratory committee in December of 2002. He has been essentially running for president since then. Why wouldn't people know him? There's a very simple reason - he hasn't told us a single thing about John Kerry. Since announcing his intentions to seek the presidency, John Kerry has told us two things over and over again:
1. He served in Vietnam.
2. He really doesn't like George Bush.The Bush campaign realized this was Kerry's weakness and took the opportunity to define Kerry with their own advertisements. It seems to have worked for now. Despite having a bad month, the Bush campaign is climbing in recent polls. John Kerry misjudged the amount of "Anybody But Bush" sentiment in the United States, and chose to pander to the angry left instead of using the primary season (and the free media coverage) to tell voters about who he was and what he wanted to do for America. Even after it was apparent he would win the Democrat nomination, Kerry continued to bash President Bush in speech after speech, telling the voters nothing they haven't heard before.
Even now, Kerry eagerly jumps on any bit of news that reflects badly on President Bush - the Plame story, AWOL allegations, Clarke's book, Saudi "oil deals." The White House was distracted by each of these stories. Kerry should have used that time to offer himself as an alternative by telling us what he believed. Instead, he joined in the festivities - every time.
Kerry's latest effort to define himself brings me to a simple conclusion - John Kerry is running for president because he wants to be president. Not because he feels he has a vision for America, or any ideas that he wants to implement. In the absence of ideas, his ambition is showing. And voters see it.