As things go from bad to worse in the Kerry "Wannabe" Presidential campaign, it struck me that there is a small ray of sunshine off on his distance, but one he may reach only by slogging through the storms.
The Kerry campaign had a lead back in mid-July, as he prepared for the Democratic National Convention. From there, however, the fall has been steady and depressing. First, John Kerry's own acceptance speech on Thursday at the DNC, was singularly dull and stilted. John promised America would get to know him, and the real John Kerry showed up on nomination night. He now knows this was a bad idea.
Then, the Swift Boat Vets got started. Three ads so far, along with their book, and Kerry has not even begun to respond effectively. Apparently, Kerry does a much better job or pretending to be a war hero, than facing them on the facts. Before the GOP Convention even got started, Kerry's lead was gone.
Kerry hoped for a dull, arrogant GOP Convention in New York, but what happened was anything but that. Kerry's own pal John McCain spoke to support the President, and Arnold rocked the house. When Zell Miller, from Kerry's own party, explained to the crowds how he could not support the Democrats who shared nothing but the name with their illustrious forbears, Kerry must have winced. Presuming the Botox let him do that.
Bush left New York with a healthy lead, and Kerry hoped for his allies to open fire for him. But now, three straight misfires from the Vapid Old Media Conspiracy have left the S.S. PurpleHearts dead in the water.
Of course, it could be worse, and sure enough, Dan Rather seems determined to prove that maxim true. As the scandal widens, more and more people are becoming aware that somebody was trying to influence a Presidential Election with forged documents. The obvious culprit, the campaign staff of John Kerry, have been deer-in-the-headlights frozen, just like Dan Rather. This could have been a minor bump, handled with a quick assurance that they were shocked to have to consider that they might have been tricked, and there will be a full investigation right away, etc. But they did not. Instead, Dan Rather played a take on the foolish side of "The Emporer's New Clothes", and refused to admit even the possibility that the documents were not genuine. The resulting well-earned derision, as evidence pours in to prove the documents false, is showing Rather and the CBS Network for the arrogant fools they are. And somewhere, the leading Democrats are looking at the flaming wreckage of Kerry's campaign, well aware that derision for Rather will certainly be extended to their man, as well.
So, what now? For the foreseeable future, Rather seems determined to embarrass his network and allies even more, and Kerry must bear the weight of his lowly position in the polls. In about two weeks, the first of three debates between Senator Kerry and President Bush will be held. Unfortunately for John, since he has been ducking Swift Boat questions, and now forgery questions also, he can't be looking forward to open inquisition in front of a national audience. Bush will, no doubt, have to practice keeping a straight face. If the debates go as I expect they will, we will enter mid-October with a strong lead for the President.
It is here, however, where Kerry's golden hope remains available. There will be two or three weeks where John Kerry can remain to passive mode, campaigning yet not answering questions, which has always been his most effective tactic. Whatever momentum Kerry can build, it looks like that is where he will find it.
So, the man who once revived a hamster is copying the strategy of Pauxatauny Phil. Although Kerry hopes to pop up out of his hole in November, not waiting for February. Although, with all the other miscues his campaign has had, I could see John forgetting, and starting his last-lap campaign in late January 2005. It would be in line with the success he's had in everything else the past month.