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March 18, 2004

How Kerry Could Win My Vote

Note: this is a post recovered from my old blog, before it died of an insufficient backup. Any comments/trackbacks on it have not been brought over, but can be seen with the original. The date is that of the original posting.


After reading Kevin Drum's site, I found myself wondering if there is anything President Bush could say or do to win Kevin's vote. That led me to wonder if there was any way that Senator Kerry could win my vote.

There are a couple of things that disqualify a candidate for my vote immediately. For example, being a pathological liar (think Clinton or Nixon) or too opportunistic a liar (think Johnson or Daschle). Kerry is likely not a pathological liar, but he seems an excessively opportunistic liar (well beyond the norm for a politician).

Kerry's first hurdle will be to convince me he's not an excessively opportunistic liar. To do so, he'll need some really good explanations for his past behavior - in particular, his part in VVAW & his recent wildly-veering positions on issues.

Once the elimination questions are over, the next thing I think about is a candidate's stand on issues of critical importance. There are only a few of these for me that matter for the President:

  • Protection of the US from foreign enemies
  • Protection of the Constitution against domestic attempts to circumvent or abrogate it
  • Lessening the size - and in particular the intrusiveness - of the Federal government

So far Kerry has done little to convince me that he will be better than President Bush on any of these issues, even with the somewhat low bar set by President Bush on the last two of those.

I doubt that we will ever get to the point that I need to list the secondary issues that are of import to me. If Kerry can convince me that he will be better at prosecuting the war on terror, better at defending the Constitution against attacks against it (particularly by activist judges who read their prejudices into law) and/or lessening the influence of Federal government, I'll be glad to start listing lesser issues that will become more important in helping me decide.


I think, ultimately, the deciding factor for the unaffiliated (who really control the results of most elections) will be the relative credibility of the candidates. If so, Bush has a big lead -- and Kerry has anvils welded to his ankles.

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto on March 7, 2004 08:34 AM
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Posted by jeff at March 18, 2004 12:00 AM

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