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 V.13 No.33 | August 12 - 18, 2004 

Payne's World

Bouncing Up and Down

Face facts, Dems: Kerry is a crappy candidate

Anyone with any lingering doubts that John Kerry's lackluster acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention had practically no impact on the race for the White House need only look to the polls.

A Newsweek sampling of registered voters found only a four-point "bounce" for the Kerry/Edwards ticket following the Boston confab—the lowest level of electoral afterglow for Democrats since the zaniness of the 1972 convention when anti-Nixon burros nominated George McGovern. Worse, a USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll found that Kerry actually lost ground to Bush in the more indicative "likely voters" category, with Bush picking up four percentage points while Kerry lost one. The race in the USA Today poll was still close (50 percent Bush; 46 percent Kerry) but a convention normally propels a candidacy forward, not backwards or sideways.

Of course it doesn't help that anytime the Kerry campaign picks up a little momentum with the electorate a new terrorist threat is discovered and the nation's terror level is raised. Either way, Kerry's handlers are running a mediocre campaign and pursuing a crap tactical strategy—a point that will be forcefully driven home when Republicans unleash the beginnings of their "shock and awe" campaign at the Republican National Convention in New York City later this month.

Don't expect los elefantes to operate under the same sort of marching orders Kerry issued at his convention when he insisted the FleetCenter fiesta not become a Bush-bashing butcher shop. If we've learned anything over the past couple of years, it's that Republicans are not afraid of going to war. And look for Bush/Cheney to leave New York with a solid bounce in the polls approaching the double-digits.

Beyond that, the real problem for Democrats is that they simply nominated the wrong guy. Can anyone say, "Obama in '08"?

Oh go shove it, Payne ...

Teresa Heinz Kerry (I honestly don't know if I'm supposed to fit the "Simon-Freres" maiden name into that equation) is an albatross around the neck of the Kerry/Edwards ticket. If they had any sense, they'd find a two and a half month long fact finding mission in Africa for her immediately.

Heinz Kerry's performance at the convention made one wince the way a 7-year-old violinist does working her way through "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." Sure, Heinz Kerry may hold the purse strings to a billion dollar fortune, but her self-indulgent, self-absorbed "Me Generation" ramblings are about as attractive to the average middle class voter as Jack Black wolfing a Filet O'Fish in a G-string. And what is with the ghoulish fixation on the first husband?

Before my friends on the other side of the aisle get too worked up in her defense, you might want to see what other Democrats are saying as well. Check out the Aug. 4 posting ("Is Teresa becoming a problem?") of the Kausfiles at www.slate.com.

Conservatives for Kerry?

The Los Angeles Times recently ran a political analysis entitled "Five reasons that conservatives might cheer a G.O.P loss." For those Republicans distraught over the explosive growth in federal spending and programs under the Bush administration, it might read like Jerry Maguire's "The things we think but do not say."

In brief, the five reasons are:

1. Bush hasn't been that strong of a conservative—especially on fiscal issues.

2. The Bush foreign policy team targeted a nation (Iraq) that, it turns out, didn't have WMD while allowing rogue nations like North Korea and Iran to move forward with their WMD programs.

3. Gridlock. With Kerry in the White House and a Republican Congress, the G.O.P. could go back to resisting new government spending and proposals rather than voting for them in an effort to "support the president."

4. Regeneration. Loss of the White House would force the G.O.P. to focus on who they are as a party: Are the Repubs for smaller government or bigger government? Are they the party of free markets or big business?

5. They'll be back better than ever. Remember, Gerald Ford's loss to Jimmy Carter paved the way for Ronald Reagan. The loss of Bush I to Bill Clinton laid the groundwork for Newt Gingrich and Republican majorities in the Senate and House.

By the way, neither Al Franken nor Alan Colmes wrote the article.

And could you super-size those Freedom Fries?

One of the better jokes to land in my e-mail box (although I didn't know it at first) came with the subject "Lance Armstrong to be stripped of Tour de France title." Rumors have circulated that Armstrong made use of performance enhancing drugs so this was a must read.

The e-mail stated that the French newspaper Le Monde was reporting that Armstrong may lose his record-setting sixth Tour de France win after French officials discovered items in Armstrong's possession that were banned in that country. The contraband in question?

Toothpaste, soap and deodorant.

Hey, after a number of peace-loving "frogs" spit on Armstrong in the final legs of his latest "Tour de France" win, it's my duty as an American to pass that one along.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author. Payne, a former city councilor, can be reached at greg@alibi.com.

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