Archive for the ‘John Kerry’ Category

Welcome Back Joe!

November 19, 2008

Back in July I met with derision when I made a proposal in my then-New York Sun column.

One prominent Democrat, however, can save Mr. Lieberman — Barack Obama. Since emerging onto the national scene four years ago, Senator Obama has emphasized his ability to unite Americans across the political spectrum.

If Mr. Obama wants to demonstrate his willingness to change the way Washington does business and to overcome “the politics of division and distraction” — both of which he has vowed repeatedly — he should offer Mr. Lieberman a political pardon and ask Mr. Reid to allow Mr. Lieberman to keep his chairmanship, if Mr. Obama is elected president. While a new president lacks the power to interfere in an internal senate matter, Mr. Obama’s voice would carry weight with the senate leadership.

With the approach of the Republican parley in Minnesota in early September, the issue will ripen. Instead of speaking in favor of purging Mr. Lieberman, Mr. Obama could offer to reserve a decision on the matter until after the election. Then, if elected, he could urge Mr. Reid to keep Mr. Lieberman within the ranks.

Such magnanimity would not reflect the usual political rules of either Washington or Chicago, Mr. Obama’s hometown, where the typical approach to fallen foes is to cut their legs off and bury them so far under that they are silenced permanently. Mr. Lieberman is, after all, campaigning on behalf of Mr. McCain, often at the candidate’s side. And, according to published reports, Mr. Obama, confronted Mr. Lieberman on the floor of the senate after the Connecticut senator participated in a conference call criticizing Mr. Obama’s foreign policy positions. Among Mr. Obama’s concerns, according to Newsweek, was Mr. Lieberman’s failure to successfully rebut the false allegation that he is a Muslim.

As unlikely as an act of forgiveness might seem now, it would be in keeping with the spirit of Mr. Obama’s rhetoric. “There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq, and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq,” Mr. Obama said during his keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. “We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.”

Permitting Mr. Lieberman, the party’s 2000 vice presidential candidate, to remain within the Democratic caucus would display Mr. Obama’s commitment to those very words. Mr. Lieberman’s issues with his fellow Democrats, after all, began when his strong support of the Iraq War prompted a primary challenge from an anti-war candidate, Ned Lamont.

Few readers liked this column. Progressive Democrats, furious at Lieberman for his position on the Iraq War and support of McCain, frothed at the idea of welcoming Lieberman back. Conservatives, noting that Lieberman was backing McCain, dismissed the thought that Lieberman would need a post-McCain strategy.

Well, now, at Barack Obama’s urging, the Senate Democrats have done exactly what I suggested. John Kerry was particularly magnanimous on the issue. “”President-elect Obama asked for forgiveness for Sen. Lieberman, the caucus has made a decision to censure his comments and strip of his membership on the EPW Committee, and it’s time to move on,” Kerry’s spokesperson, Brigid O’Rourke, told PolitickerMa.

The comments of both Kerry and Lieberman suggest the leniency came, exactly as I suggested, from President-Elect Obama himself. Here’s what the Globe reports about it: “Lieberman partly credited Obama, who has preached unity and bipartisanship since the election, for the lighter penalty. Lieberman also publicly thanked a handful of senators for their support, including Chris Dodd of Connecticut, who said later that John F. Kerry of Massachusetts also spoke on Lieberman’s behalf.”

Keller Leads Drudge With Kerry Story

August 16, 2008


Wow. The lead item on the Drudgereport right now is Jon Keller’s item suggesting that John Kerry really might be a vice presidential pick for Barack Obama.

Given the fact that Kerry lost four years ago, Keller’s potential scoop seems unlikely. But here’s the case WBZ’s political analyst, citing political insiders, makes for it:

“Kerry brings more money and name recognition to the table than any other name on the Obama list so far. Americans do tend to love a comeback kid and this would be the most amazing political comeback since Richard Nixon came back from the dead forty years ago…Polls show many voters question Obama’s foreign policy credentials to be a wartime president. As a decorated veteran and longtime member of the senate foreign relations committee, Kerry could fill that gap. Obama suffers from being a new face on the political scene, but Kerry – warts and all – is well known to the voters, and in 2004, he did draw more votes than any Democrat ever has.”

Keller could have added that Obama owes Kerry, big time, as Dick Cheney would say. Kerry picked Obama to give the keynote address at the 2004 convention launching the rise of his political star. No John Kerry, no Barack Obama candidacy. Plus they also share an important fundraiser, Alan Solomont.

I still think it’s unlikely. Isn’t the country sortof, well done, with Kerry. And from Kerry’s perspective, why would he want the number two job, when he was a state away (Ohio) from having the top position?

Still it’s an interesting premise. I bet WBZ’s site gets the most hits it ever has. That’s the value of having a t.v. political reporter who actually reports.

BTW, I’m writing this from the important swing state of Pennsylvania, which Kerry won in 2004. I could envision a scenario where Kerry is an asset in this race. The main problem, however, is that he reinforces one of Obama’s negative qualities. While he brings great foreign policy and military experience — notwithstanding the shameful and spurious charges of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth — he is also elite and, a bit, effete. I’m not sure he plays in Peoria.

EDIT. I have to correct my item and give credit where it’s due. While Drudge linked to Keller, Keller himself gives the credit for the Kerry story to David Bernstein of The Boston Phoenix. Here’s Bernstein’s original item. BTW, Bernstein has become an invaluable resource on local and national politics.

Obama and John Kerry

August 6, 2008

Jeremy Jacobs has a piece which includes John Kerry’s reaction to John McCain’s recent celebrity ad.

“Sen. McCain’s new ad is straight out of the Rove playbook,” Kerry tells “Sen. McCain’s campaign has decided that they can’t win on the issues, so instead they’re going to try to destroy their opponent’s character.”

Jacobs also quotes me. ” ‘This is very analogous to the windsurfing ad in 2004,” said Seth Gitell, a political analyst and author of ‘In both cases you have the Republican exploiting the perceived weakness Democrats have in Middle America with blue collar voters. They reinforce the idea that Democratic leaders are elites and not people that ordinary people can relate to.’ ”

Read the story here.

Obama at the Boston Seaport

February 5, 2008

Thousands of Barack Obama supporters have convened at Boston’s World Trade Center. The crowd is buzzing with energy. So far Senator Kerry (sort of) and Governor Patrick (definitely) have delivered rousing speeches. Patrick alluded to — but did not mention — the Clintons.

“Do you remember South Carolina?” Mr. Patrick asked a crowd estimated at 10,000 in Boston late last night.“It got as nasty and mean as a campaign could be, but the voters of South Carolina rejected negativity and so will we,” he said in the moments before Mr. Obama held his final event prior to Super Tuesday.

“A whole lot of us have had enough with the clever side of politics.”He also specifically likened his election as governor to Obama.”Eighteen months ago I asked for your hopes, your prayer and your help in my own run for governorand you responded and made history,” Patrick said. “I am asking now for your prayers, your help and your vote in putting Barack Obama in the White House.” He also called Obama “a once a generation leader.”

I’d note, not surprisingly, that Kerry has spoken longer than Patrick with less effect.

Iowa Caucus Day

January 3, 2008

While my expertise is New Hampshire, I’ve been doing this long enough to make a couple of observations about Iowa. Given the vagaries of the caucus process, my sense is still that John Edwards will perform better than expectations. Remember he came in second last time and his organization has worked hard to make itself the second choice of the supporters of the lesser candidates.

The Biden Campaign is denying that it has made any deals with other candidates. Says Biden’s Iowa State Director, Danny O’Brien: “There are no discussions underway and there will be no deal with any campaign. We believe Sen. Biden is strong enough on his own. Everyone knows that Sen. Biden is a popular second choice for the supporters of all the other campaigns. We remain confident that Sen. Biden will surprise folks this evening.”

As for Hillary Clinton, her success hinges on the size of the electorate. If there are many new participants in the caucus process, she loses. But if the excitement around Barack Obama is great enough and if the energy coming from the far left is as strong as it seems, tonight could be a very long night for her. My guess is that her team has identified most of the die-hard participants, the people you need to win a caucus in a normal year. The big question is, is this a normal year?

I’m less interested in the Republican side in Iowa. The uptick in support for Mike Huckabee baffles me as did the margin of victory for George W. Bush in 2004. Both cases seem to reflect the strength of religious and values voters within the GOP — at the expense of other concerns. With John McCain and Rudy Giuliani both having opted out of Iowa and Huckabee — to me — not having legs, I just can’t see this contest being as determinative on the Republican side. That said, if Mitt Romney can win big there, I do expect him to benefit from a slingshot effect into New Hampshire.

A final thought: a string of Massachusetts politicians have profited thanks to their proximity to New Hampshire — Michael Dukakis, Paul Tsongas, John Kerry. In Romney’s case, the phenomena appears to be working in reverse. The more New Hampshire voters get exposed to Romney, the less they like him. I believe this is directly linked to the fact that the persona Romney has forged as a presidential candidate is so different to the one he demonstrated as a governor. In most cases, this wouldn’t matter. But New Hampshire voters got a close look at Romney in 1994 when he ran against Ted Kennedy and again from 2002 until 2006. So for him, the usual proximity advantage is actually a disadvantage.

I’ll post again later tonight.

Kerry Stands Up for Pats Fans

December 12, 2007

Patriot's logo

Senator Kerry entered the fray over the NFL Network’s broadcast of the December 29 game pitting The New England Patriots vs. The New York Giants. Under current rules only local fans who have access to WCVB and those few who subscribe to the NFL Network will be able to watch this potentially historic game at which the Pats could be the first team to ever finish the regular season with a perfect 16 – 0 record. This excludes all those Patriots fans who watch the team on other channels in Rhode Island, Vermont, etc.

Kerry wrote Roger Goodell, the NFL’s commissioner, asking to meet over the quandry. “Given the unique circumstances surrounding this game, we cannot allow proprietary interests to trump commercial interests and prevent an agreement from being reached in time to ensure the broadest possible level of viewership,” Kerry wrote. He also called the team’s “pursuit of a perfect season … an important financial boost for the NFL.”

Read it here.

Also, maybe I’ve got the Patriots on my mind, but doesn’t Kerry’s profile resemble the face in the team logo? Particularly the chin.

John Kerry

Kerry Takes a Shot At Romney

October 1, 2007

Mitt Romney commenced his run for president at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. Romney emerged as a point man critical of the Democratic proceedings in Boston and John Kerry. Today, in a major speech on Kerry’s plans for America’s Middle Class at Faneuil Hall, Kerry took a little bit of Boston-style revenge. Speaking about universal health care Kerry said the following: “And I can’t help noting that Mitt Romney, the only Republican who’s even lifted a finger that diretion — where the wind was already blowing strong, right here in Massachusets — is running away from his own record so fast that it seems he was for his health care plan before he was against it. In fact, he seems to have turned away from his own record so fast he’s going to need a good health care plan to treat him for whiplash folks.”

UPDATE: Romney’s Traveling Press Secretary Eric Eric Fehrnstrom, in response to John Kerry’s criticism, fires back:
“It’s ironic that John Kerry would have anything to say about Governor Romney’s health care plan in Massachusetts. John Kerry was AWOL in the effort to get all our citizens insured. It’s ironic that John Kerry would have anything to say about Governor Romney’s health care plan in Massachusetts. John Kerry was AWOL in the effort to get all our citizens insured. He didn’t lift a finger to help get it done. Maybe that’s because our health care plan was based on private market reforms and did not require a tax increase or a government takeover, ideas that are completely foreign to the John Kerry-Hillary Clinton wing of the party. These are the same conservative principles that form the basis of Mitt Romney’s health care plan for the entire nation. Maybe that’s because our health care plan was based on private market reforms and did not require a tax increase or a government takeover, ideas that are completely foreign to the John Kerry-Hillary Clinton wing of the party. These are the same conservative principles that form the basis of Mitt Romney’s health care plan for the entire nation.”

Drew O’Brien Reenlists With John Kerry

June 1, 2007

Andrew O’Brien, the politically saavy deputy chancellor of the University of Massachusetts-Boston, will be the new state director of John Kerry’s Massachusetts senate office. O’Brien held essentially the same job from 2003 to 2005.

Here’s what Kerry said about O’Brien in a statement. “Drew O’Brien is an incredibly talented public servant who cares deeply about Massachusetts, and I’m thrilled to have him back,” Senator Kerry said. “Drew’s record in Massachusetts is outstanding. From working with Mayor Menino to improve services for all of Boston’s neighborhoods, to helping keep UMass Boston as one of the best universities in the country, Drew’s commitment has made a difference. He has done a wonderful job helping me serve the people of Massachusetts, and I am happy to welcome him back to our family.”

This appointment puts to rest speculation that, with the disappointment of his 2004 defeat, Kerry would tire from Senate drudgery and choose not to run again. The fact that O’Brien, a knowledgeable and skilled political insider, would sign on with Kerry suggests that the junior senator from Massachusetts will now follow the model of the state’s senior senator and work at being the best senator he can be. I’m sure it’s a huge disappointment for members of the Commonwealth’s now resurgent congressional delegation though.

O’Brien will likely report for duty in June.