USA today has already crowned John Kerry as the Democratic nominee against our comical Dubya but not without adequate justification. The second JFK from Massachusetts has risen like the proverbial phoenix from a virtual nobody to the unquestionable front-runner, beating the likes of Internet-powered ballistic Dean and baby face drawling John Edwards.
But frankly, the race should be contested on the sole platform of “electability” against Bush because most of the policies of all candidates are inherently Democratic and do not differ much. John Kerry, however I feel is a poor choice as a strong candidate, although he has virtually swept the primaries by winning 14 out of 16 states and was expected to win in Wisconsin yesterday (and he did!). John Kerry, apart from being labeled a Washington insider has little charisma and even less ammunition to stand against the vitriolic Bush. He is too soft-spoken and willingly utter typical anti-special interest rhetoric that has been the slogan for every Democratic candidate since Johnson. His record on Capitol Hill is nothing significant and hinges on credit for mere ceremonial laws than substantive laws. His support for grants for women starting small businesses is the only significant legislative activity in a long political career. His military credentials are going to hurt him the most when Bush will spend a major part of his $170 million war chest in labeling Kerry as a soldier turned protestor against the infamous Vietnam War. Kerry’s Jane Fonda connection will not go well with the pro-war lobby in these trying times, although Bush’s AWOL National Guard stint almost cancels that out. He almost achieved Clintonic status when a rumor (now squashed) surfaced regarding his extra-marital activities involving an intern.
But all said and done, I find Kerry boring and staid. He doesn’t inspire confidence and often seems disinterested himself, a wannabe candidate hiding behind a dour-faced personality. His “bring it on” exhortations made you laugh. He does seem mature and a balanced candidate but in these times of media-driven campaign, you need more than boring slogans and clichéd stands on important issues. You need something different.
Why am I harping on American elections, which are almost ten months away when I could be screaming hoarse on the more exciting Indian polls, which are due in couple of months? Beats me.