We had a week off from campaigning because Ronald Reagan hopped the twig. Then we had another week of bad news out of Iraq – death, dismemberment, bombings, and more torture accusations for the Bush administration to deal with. Then Bill Clinton began the build-up to his book release, culminating with the former president appearing on 60 Minutes, a two-part interview on NPR, and nearly every talk show up to the Home Shopping Network and P. Allen Smith’s In The Garden. Now we have the hoo-ha over Fahrenheit 9/11. It almost makes you forget that we have a presidential election coming up and that there’s a Democrat out there campaigning in Colorado, California, Washington State. You remember — who’s the guy — oh yeah! John Kerry. And guess what…he’s actually up in the polls.
So is all this news about the other guys – Reagan, Bush, and Clinton – doing Kerry any harm? Or is it actually doing him good by keeping the focus off him and letting him do the kind of campaigning that really reaches the voters? Well, it depends on who you ask. The American Prospect has a collection of thoughts on the matter from their staff. Some say it’s bad for Kerry, others say it doesn’t matter – we will have tons of news on Kerry in the next few weeks; the VP selection, the conventions, and the fall campaign competing with NFL football and the new episodes of The O.C. All the news about the other guys will wilt in the summer heat.
If anything, all this distraction serves Senator Kerry quite well. The people who don’t watch cable TV news – 95% of the electorate – are going to find that hearing about reforming education, getting our budget under control, rebuilding our alliances overseas, and just getting to hear from a candidate who can coherently put a subject, verb, and predicate together will be a refreshing change. It’s a very stealthy way to campaign, and it may just work.