Monday, December 02, 2002
Well, I've been making the rounds, and it looks like the consensus is: Kerry is probably the strongest candidate in the race except that everyone who meets him loathes him immediately. Or, at least, everyone in the press does, blogosphere included. I seem to be the exception here, but of course I haven't met the guy. I mean, I don't like him, but I don't understand why everyone hates him.
The reasons they claim to hate him are the reasons people hated Al Gore. He's arrogant. He's got a fantastically inflated sense of his own importance. He maneuvers for political advantage like any other pol but acts like such maneuvering is beneath him. He's not great at passing legislation. All these things, though, are true of John McCain as well, who is probably the most popular politician with the Washington press corps since John F. Kennedy. Is the difference only that McCain is fun? That he's self-deprecating? That he's a self-styled "maverick" who bucks his party? I happen to like McCain, but when you dig down under his "maverick" image, this bucking-the-party business is fairly new (mostly post-2000) and (with the exception of Campaign Finance Reform) mostly futile.
I am not in tune with Kerry's ideological bent, and I am not particularly impressed with his achievements as a legislator. But the personality flaws attested to by the press pale before those of, say, Johnson, Nixon, Clinton and Gore. He does not seem like a raging maniac. His ego doesn't seem especially bigger than your average pol. He's less of a robot than Gore, and less of a trimmer. Again: I wouldn't vote for him, but why does everyone hate him so? I admit, I don't get it.