Thursday, January 22, 2004

Kausfilers, Friends, Countrymen

1. You'll find the linked item below (scroll down a bit). Just for the record, I don't think the NYT "screwed" Edwards. They were just observing the rule of two.

2. You scratch my back.....Mr. Kaus has an excellent piece on the Shrumization of Sen. John Kerry (he's on your side!). For the record, and as someone who covered Kerry as a columnist for the Boston Globe, I think Mr. Kaus "gets" Kerry exactly right.

3. They key to John Kerry as a politician is the speech he gave on affirmative action back in early 1990 (if memory serves). Half of Harvard worked on the damn thing and the idea was that this "repositioning" on a major issue would help him stand out from the field of Democratic challengers to President George H.W. Bush in 1992. He gave the speech (which called for a rehaul of affirmative action programs) and predictably, various liberal interest groups squawked. Within days, Kerry basically recanted everything he just said. It was, and there is no other word for it, pathetic.

Then Operation Desert Storm happened and everybody forgot about pre-Iraq War politics. All the supposed marquee names (including Kerry) of the Democratic Party decided not to challenge George H. W. Bush. And Clinton emerged. Kerry did not factor in again until his sad little Vice Presidential camapign in 2000.

For hard-core Kerry afficianados, the affirmative action speech (and subsequent disavowal of same) lives on as the signature of Kerry's real politics. As Billy Bulger once said, the initials JFK stand for "Just for Kerry." Steadfast, he is not.

Postscript: It appears I had my chronology wrong and that Kerry gave his "major" address on affirmative action at Yale University in April of 1992. Thus all that stuff about Kerry positioning himself for the 1992 campaign is not true. Not that he wasn't positioning himself for the 1992 race prior to Desert Storm (you can bank on that), but that he was using the issue of affirmative action to position himself.

At the time, I was on a fellowship at Harvard University and has fallen in with a nest of Kerry-ites, all of whom were dismayed by the Senator's flip-flop on affirmative action. So that part I know is true. But I should have checked the chronology before I just blathered off the top of my head and I regret the error.