Saturday, February 07, 2004

How Did Kerry Beat Weld?

Here's The New York Times view, from an ex-Boston Globe reporter. It's the Kerry narrative; the story as they imagine it. And so it is worth reading.

I covered the race for The Boston Globe. The key dynamic was controlling how the race was understood by the electorate. It was in Weld's interest that it be seen as a Massachusetts race; the popular governor against the stiff senator. It was in Kerry's interest that it be seen as a national race; the good Democrat against the evil Republicans.

For some reason, it took Kerry and his crack team of consultants 9 months to figure this out, which is why they trailed in all the polls until mid-October. Once they successfully nationalized the race, Weld was a goner. Clinton defeated Dole in Massachusetts 61%-28%. Kerry beat Weld 54%-45%. Massachusetts is the second most "nationally Democratic" state in the country.

The most interesting thing (to me) about the race was that the Weld campaign had nothing to say for the last three weeks. They just coasted along on bad ads and bromides. They appeared to have no understanding of the dynamic that was doing them in.