Archive for September 23rd, 2004

It’s Closing Time

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The
difficult task facing John Kerry is the result of genius image-makers
on the other side pulling off the greatest role
reversal since Usama Bin Laden went from being a friendly freedom fighter
against the Soviets in Afghanistan to the international incarnation of
evil. Somehow, George Bush, scion of an ultra elite family and standard
bearer of the
fat cat business party has become the "aw-shucks" man of the people,
and John Kerry, candidate of the working class/immigrant/downtrodden
party has become the effete  ivy-encrusted Eastern elitist, married
to an heiress, and out of touch with the pulse of the common people.

In ad after ad, public appearance after public appearance,
from ground zero to to bowling alleys to NASCAR races, Bush is seen
slapping backs and kicking back, while John Kerry seems completely incapable
of communicating with the common citizens in their unconscious language
of  gestures and postures, verbal tics and folksy turns of phrase.
In this, George W is a natural who can literally walk the walk and talk
the talk, much more than his old man ever could.

Kerry, on the other hand, seems stiff and aloof even
around his own family. Watching Kerry trying to be just plain folks is
as painful as watching a three-legged dog trying to climb a ladder. Despite
repeated reports that up close and in person he is a charismatic and
caring presence, completely comfortable with cops and firemen and teachers
and taxi drivers, it doesn’t play on TV.

At this point Kerry’s best bet may be to convince voters
that as swell a guy as Dubya is, you don’t necessarily want Bubba next
door to be President of the United States at a crucial time of war and
crisis.

Of course, history indicates this may be a lost cause.
The two most successful Democratic Presidents of our lifetime were personally
magnetic populists, and (most) everybody wanted to be their friend. Bill
Clinton WAS Bubba next door, and he pulled the role off to perfection.
JFK, Kerry’s namesake and model, was personally loved to a level approaching
worship.  Everybody wanted to be his pal, despite his patrician
background and bearing.  Hell, the guy was married to Jackie and
screwing Marilyn.  What more can one say.

The ultimate irony is that in "real life" George spends
his free time with mysterious millionaires and members of the power elite,
while John has  reportedly spent hundreds of heartfelt hours at
the bedsides of injured firefighters, visiting indigent constituents,
and
hanging
at block parties
and charity events with people who never were and never will be rich
or famous. Behind the PR facades and beyond the reach of the image spinners,
Bush is sparkling
at a champaign
reception
up
in
the
Penthouse, while Kerry is down at the bar on the corner, nursing a beer
and bemoaning
his fate with his plebian barroom buddies.

Get your chin out of your beer, John. Mop yourself up
off the floor, and at least go down swinging. You’re reputedly a fantastic
closer. Well, it’s closing time.