Monday, November 10, 2003

Thin Ice

From this morning’s NY Times, Sen. Kerry has fired his campaign manager, Jim Jordan. The campaign was apparently caught off-guard by Gov. Howard Dean’s surge in the polls and the failure of Kerry’s campaign to stir up voter interest. (For an interesting take on the Democratic Party’s overall sluggish performance, check out today’s lead story in Salon.com. Get the Day Pass if you don’t subscribe.)

On a similar note, the Florida Panthers, the NHL team (I know…hockey in Florida?), have fired Coach Mike Keenan after they got off to a lousy start of 5-8-2. Or, in the words of the team owner, “failed to come up with a Stanley Cup-contending team.”

Well, we all have lofty goals, and shit happens. But I think it’s too easy to blame the manager when the team sucks, and also too easy to fire the campaign manager when the candidate is dull, pedantic, and just uninspiring. John Kerry may be a better candidate than Howard Dean in some respects, but if it’s not getting through to the base and the people who vote, it’s not just the fault of the campaign manager. Herb Brooks, the late coach of the miraculous Team USA of the 1980 Olympics had some losing seasons, too, when he had poor players. You can only do so much with some material. Or, as we say in theatre, even a great director can’t make a bad play into Shakespeare (and even Shakespeare had his bad plays).