11/14/2004

Speaking Ill of the Dead

Writing for the Wall Street Journal's opinion page, New Republic editor Marty Peretz says "Good Riddance" to John Kerry.

Still, the extreme and bitter judgments against the citizenry after this election are especially tendentious. For what the electorate did on Nov. 2 was essentially (or maybe just merely) turn down John Kerry, a candidate who until very late in the Democratic primaries was almost no one's choice as the nominee, the party's last option because it could rally around no one else. What a pathetic vessel in which to have placed liberalism's hopes! A senator for two decades who had stood for nothing, really nothing.
The charge that John Kerry stood for nothing was a central part of the Bush campaign's efforts. During the campaign, of course, it was widely derided as nonsense, but now it appears that even liberal stalwarts like Peretz are admitting it.

The argument from folks on my own side is that Democratsd would have voted for anyone the Democrats nominated, so strong was their hatred for George W. Bush. I tend to agree with this assessment, and told my wife that the only way most Democrats would not vote for Kerry would be if a photo surfaced that showed him bayonetting a pregnant woman. Maybe.

None of that matters now. John Kerry will eventually take his place alongside Al Gore, Bob Dole, Michael Dukakis and Walter Mondale in the hagiography of coulda-beens. Before that can happen, tradition dictates that his defeat be dissected and that the state of his party be laid at his feet. Afterward, he will move on to his final destination as the answer to a Trivial Pursuit question.