June 21, 2004
Why was Kerry vacationing on Nantucket, of all places?
To go to this island retreat of the rich sent all the wrong messages to undecided voters, and it discourages his hard core.
Like his ski trip to Sun Valley, Idaho after the primaries, the junket to Nantucket, where Kerry owns a home, reinforces the image of Kerry as a member of the upper class. Since Bush traffics on his own synthetic image as a regular guy, Kerry's indifference to looking hoity-toity is foolish.
What's more, there are millions of Democrats who are so desperate to get Bush out of office that they don't want Kerry to waste a single minute.
Of course, they know he needs to pace himself for the marathon that is a Presidential race. But he's been slipping ever since the Reagan beatification, and the Democratic base wants him to come out fighting, not dining on scallops.
There is another problem with the Kerry campaign: Its lack of a good grassroots organization.
I've just come back from an East Coast trip, where I met longtime Democratic activists from upstate New York and northern Pennsylvania. They had the same experience. They had tried to volunteer or to give money to the Kerry campaign, but no one returned their calls!
And here in Wisconsin, where I live, it has taken forever for the Kerry campaign to get going.
Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are crucial swing states. Why is Kerry dawdling?
Kerry has also been tardy getting his outreach effort together for the Latino and African American vote. By contrast, Karl Rove has been relentlessly pursuing these constituencies.
On top of this, Kerry's failed effort at arranging a shotgun marriage with John McCain has backfired, as McCain showered Bush with praise the other day.
And Bill Clinton's me-me-me book tour--and his guffawing with glee when Bush flattered him at the White House--is a distraction Kerry doesn't need.
If Kerry doesn't leave Nantucket for good and kick his organization into high gear, he will slip further in the polls.