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Thursday, April 29, 2004
By Steven Taylor

WaPo‘s Richard Cohen admonishes Kerry to Lighten Up in his column today.

Some highlights:

1) Again with the PBJs!

John Kerry has a “batman.” This is a British military term for what amounts to a servant, someone to take care of an officer’s personal needs. In Kerry’s case it’s Marvin Nicholson Jr., who keeps the Massachusetts senator in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and bottled water. This, though, is the wrong man for the wrong task. What Kerry really needs is someone to slip him gags. He may be the presumptive nominee, but he is an objective pill.

Question: if Nicholson enters the room, and Kerry calls out “who’s there” does Nicholson growl “I’m the batman!”?

2) Again with Bob Dole comparisons

But instead of dismissing Bush and Cheney with a lighthearted putdown of the sort that would prompt Bush to seek therapy, Kerry got angry. He waxed indignant. He said, in the manner of Rumpelstiltskin stomping the ground, “I’m not going to stand for it!” In doing so, he mimicked Bob Dole, who lost it entirely during the 1988 New Hampshire primary when he scowled at George H.W. Bush and snarled, “Stop lying about my record.” For Dole, this was not good television.

Comment: it may have been bad TV for Dole, but it is a clip for the ages. I find it to be wholly hy-larious.

3) And, depression (since Cohen supports Kerry) and More Unfortunate (for Kerry supporters) comparisons:

My candidate is a dour man. At least that’s the way he seems on TV. Sometimes he seems angry, which is not good, but most of the time he just seems gloomy. It does not help that he has a face that hardly needs to be enlarged for Mount Rushmore, but what really matters is that he seems as if he is no fun. No one would call Kerry, as FDR did Al Smith, “the happy warrior” or discern some impishness in him. Bush has that quality and so, of course, did Bill Clinton.

About the only recent presidents who were decidedly un-impish were Jimmy Carter, who came to Washington to take the fun out of politics, and the first George Bush, whose joke is only now becoming apparent. Both got the gate after just one term.

Response: Ouch.

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2 Responses to “Cohen on Kerry”

  1. Terje Says:

    Yeah, Ouch pretty much says it. :-)

  2. Moe Lane Says:

    Cohen seems to be working from the assumption that the Democratic base will tolerate Kerry lightening up. From my admittedly partisan vantage poitn, this may not be a supportable assumption.


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