It's Not About Kerry
Once in a while, E. J. Dionne at WaPo just gets it exactly right, as he does in today's column about the tendency of some Democrats to blame our electoral troubles on specific candidates--in particular, on the personal qualities and campaigning mistakes of John Kerry.
Not only is this approach backward-focused and therefore less than helpful in formulating a winning strategy for 2006 and 2008, but it's also misguided. Kerry was obviously not the perfect candidate. But who is? Make no mistake, no matter who the Democrats nominated in 2004--Kerry, Edwards, Dean, Lieberman, Jesus of Nazareth--the Republican slime machine would have managed, via selective distortions of history (and, where necessary, lies) disseminated by their right-wing propaganda apparatus and abetted by a cowed MSM, to depict him (or her) as weak, corrupt, elitist, hateful, anti-Christian, and un-American. And they will do the same next time around, and the time after that, and the time after that--until we find a way to make their strategy fail.
As any good pitching coach will tell you, if the batter can't hit a particular pitch, keep throwing it until he proves he can. Our problems are not about Kerry but about proving that, as Democrats, we can start hitting the Republican pitches out of the park. (And when they throw beanballs at our sluggers, we need to start aiming a few pitches at their guys, too.)