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Kos komes klean

Heh heh, nothing like a little alliteration on a Tuesday afternoon, huh?

I know a few (very few) Democrats who were pretty honest about John Kerry during the campaign. "Sure he sucks," they'd tell me. "He's an embarrassingly bad candidate, but I have no choice not to vote for him." I can respect that. Hell, it's basically exactly how I felt about Bush. But these Democrats were in the minority. The vast bulk of them would insist adamantly that Kerry really is a great candidate, and he does have principled positions, and everything you hear to the contrary is a vile right-wing lie, etc., etc. I was never sure whom they were trying to convince -- me or themselves. Call it the pragmatists versus the Kool-Aid drinkers.

Well these Kerry Kool-Aid drinkers must be feeling pretty blindsided by a fascinating post over at the home of the rabidly partisan lefty Kos. He seems to have set down the Kool-Aid and gone all pragmatic on us. The whole thing is worth a read, but here are a few sample quotes:

"I voted for the $87 billion, then I voted against it." That wasn't nuance. That was idiocy.

...with a primary campaign that consisted entirely of "I'm the most electable", Kerry entered the general without a core philosophy or articulated vision for the job.

A Kerry presidency would've been an unmitigated disaster...

No arguments here. But I read Kos all the time, and I've got to wonder -- how long has he felt this way?


If anything, Kos' new position is the current kool-aid position of many on the left (beginning around November 3rd or so.) Kerry had many weaknesses as a candidate. All of the nine who contested for the nomination had weaknesses as well. The opinion, however, that a Kerry Presidency would have been a disaster is just an opinion, an opinion that I do not share.

You really don't understand what Kos' point is, do you? That is not surprising, being right-wing an all, I would suspect your IQ to be sub-par.

Kos was saying that a Kerry presidency would be a disaster as a result of republican interference. With the GOP in charge of Congress, it would have been easy to scuttle a Kerry adminstration.

Now - however - you are going to have to live with the half wit Chimp as your leader. Enjoy. When he destroys your civil rights, I hope you are not too disappointed.

I think you're misreading Kos when he says "A Kerry presidency would've been an unmitigated disaster." Read in context it seems he's saying that a democratic presidency would've been a disaster because of the republican congress and the dismal state of affairs Bush has left us in with the budget deficit and the war in Iraq. As to the other quotes he's contrasting what he sees as a weak democratic campaign of missed opportunities and poor choices of words to the strong campaign of Karl Rove.
In the end he's really saying the same thing a lot of left wing pundits are, namely that GWB is an idiot, that noone should have lost to him, and that all of the bad things that might happen over the next four years can be used as ammunition in the next presidential election, and that democrats can now sit back and watch republicans self-destruct.
That's what Kos is saying - no different than any other major leftist - he's just stating it creatively. I'm surprised you're not more taken aback.

Look, I agree with much of Kos's post. I just think it's very interesting that we're only now hearing this kind of frankness from him. I doubt these feelings are new. Rather, my guess is he simply kept them close to his vest during the campaign.

By the way, there's another quote from the same article I neglected to post: "But what makes me angry was Kerry and his gang's inability to take advantage of the situation. I may regret saying this later, but fuck it -- they should be lined up and shot."

Now let's see you guys try to put that one in its "proper context." ;-)

In regards to the first two posts, it was quite obvious that had Kerry managed to win Ohio and the Presidency he would have had to deal with a Republican Congress. That said, he had already worked within a Republican majority for some time as a Senator. It was something he spoke about and it would have been a situation he could have handled. To me, certainly on domestic matters, the country was better and more honestly run during the Clinton Presidency, where there was some accountability because there were two parties watching each other, than the present situation where George Bush can do anything and Congress will say nothing.

Sorry, I don't agree that George Bush is an idiot. I do not believe he has the foresight or the experience to see the effects of his actions, but he is a disciplined politician who knows how to turn a bad situation, such as his handling of the war in Iraq into a politically good situation for him (what does it tell the troops to criticize how the war is being handled and is it wise to change the leadership in the middle of wartime.)

Don't get me wrong. I feel that, in terms of how his policies have affected the country, George Bush is the worst President in my lifetime. I don't, however, underestimate him as a candidate and I believe that he would have been effective against ANY of the candidates running this year.

Now, can I criticize John Kerry's run? Yes, I can. There are many assumptions Bob Shrum made that I do not agree with. That said, Kerry did a lot of things right in addition to his mistakes. Howard Dean would have run a far more interesting campaign. It certainly would have been more passionate, but I am not sure he would have won. Bush would have attacked Edwards for his inexperience, Gephardt for the fact that he wanted to raise taxes on everybody.

In short, I don't agree with Kos. To me, the idea of lining up and shooting Kerry and his gang is an emotional response that is just plain immature bullshit. Kerry wanted to win. He didn't. I am not saying that he deserves another chance, but let's not go shooting ourselves.

"But what makes me angry was Kerry and his gang's inability to take advantage of the situation. I may regret saying this later, but fuck it -- they should be lined up and shot."

What's to explain? The proper context is that Kos feels that defeating GWB should have been as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. So he finds it inexplicable that Bush defeated Kerry. So instead of crediting Bush, Rove, or acknowledging that the country is divided he's lashing out at Kerry and his campaign for dropping the ball.

It's exactly as I said before, he's saying exactly what all of his contemporaries are, and that is that - Bush is an idiot, his record is terrible, anyone should be able to beat him, the american people were duped, they're uninformed dullards who bought Karl Rove's plan hook line and sinker.

That's what Kos is saying, that what so many other leftists are saying. It's the polar opposite of what right wingers are saying. Is Kos right? Are you? probably a little of both - the truth is in the grey zone no complex issue is ever purely black or white.

I'm still surprised you don't see that Kos is just saying the same thing as everyone else.

Nameless commenter, it's not a question of whether Kos is right or wrong. What's interesting is his tone in this post is completely different than it was before the election. That's all.

Nameless only by accident.

I'd agree his tone is different. But I just think it's different in the same way as a number of others on the left are now different. Instead of touting Kerry as a saviour, they blame him for losing to an incumbent that they view as a schmuck.

Now did they feel that way inside about Kerry to some extent all along? Probably. I'm sure many on the right felt that way about Bush. To some extent you did I believe.

Agreed. And I think the main difference is that now he's being honest. You're also right that my attitudes towards my candidate mirror kos's in a sense. If you've read this blog for a while though, I think you'd have to give me some credit for being fairly transparent about this. Evidently kos wasn't.

And BTW, I like the new kos better. I feel there is no shame in preferring one candidate to another while admitting there are flaws in both. You don't have to beatify a politician to support him in the polls.

No arguments here

Obviously I can't speak for everyone, but I will say that I never *loved* Kerry. I didn't despise him, and I definitely thought he was (and still do) the better choice, but I spent the last two months before the election wondering what the heck was wrong with this picture that these two men were the best we could do? I definitely warmed to Kerry over the past year, but he was never a great candidate. But what would the purpose have been in talking him down? Yeah, he sucks, but so does, Candidate A, so come out and vote? That always seems to lead to low voter turn-out. That is probably why you didn't hear more people saying anything terribly negative about Kerry.

Good point, K. But isn't there a distinction between being honest about one's candidate and "talking him down?"

And you're absolutely right that there is no way in HELL that these are the best 2 candidates we can come up with. It's the same every year. It's also why I usually vote third party. As long as people keep voting for one of the two guys the parties pick for us (whether reluctantly or otherwise) nothing will ever change.

The current political system eliminates many people who do not fit in the mainstream of one of the two political parties. Each party has a series of groups a candidate must please in order to be nominated. McCain failed to please the Christian Right, Lieberman the left.

In an ideal world, I would require a candidate to win 50% to win a state. If the leader wins less than 50%, then there would be a runoff. That way, there really could be numerous parties running as one could vote for the best person first, then only make a compromise if their first choice does not make the runoff.

Of course, the two parties would never let that happen -- so why not apply the same system to the primaries. Why not have the goal of the beginning primaries to decide who are the top two candidates? Then either have one national primary between the top two finalists or have the remaining big states be winner take all. Under that system, a winner would not be decided by a bandwagon effect, but through one last decision where the voters by then would be able to hear everything good and bad about the two remaining candidates.

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