I have a piece of unsolicited advice for those who are concerned about the Kerry campaign, that it's not handling things right, and for those who have grave concerns about Kerry as a candidate -- stop worrying about it. Tune out for six months or so, and then go to the polls and vote for Kerry in November.
Boiled down to essentials, there are two and only two probable scenarios for the next 4 years. In one, George W. Bush continues in the White House, and in the other, John Kerry is the President. We don't really know how good a President Kerry will be, and we can't really be sure, even by close examination of his policy releases and statements and consideration of his personality, what he'll do, but we certainly do know what four more years of Bush will be like, based on reasonable projection from the 3+ years we've had to endure of him already. Clearly, what we have here is what General "Buck" Turgidsen might well call "two distinguishable post-election environments."
Given this, the choice is crystal clear. Kerry would have to be phenomenally stupid and hopelessly incompetent to do worse than Bush has, and nothing I see indicates that this is the case. Therefore, there's no particular reason to micromanage Kerry's campaign from a distance and get all upset about his inevitable missteps or the necessary tacking to and fro which are part and parcel of a campaign to get millions of Americans of all beliefs and persuasions to pull a particular lever on Election Day.
The choice will be precisely the same in November as it is now, so why bust a gut over it?
(Unless, like most bloggers, you enjoy second-guessing the whole process from start to finish. In which case, have a good time, but do keep the real-world perspective in mind and recall every now and then that it's truly a classic either/or situation. We can't always get what we want, but in November, we may well get what we need.)
So, give it a rest, let Kerry do what he has to do in order to be elected, and cut him some slack, please, to occasionally do or say something you might disagree with. (Mark Schmitt made much the same point recently in The Decembrist, and thanks to MyFriendRoger for pointing me to the item while I was on self-imposed hiatus from unfutz.)
(To those who think there is an alternative path other than Bush and Kerry, who are tempted to vote for Nader or some other third party candidate, obviously your view of reality and mine are seriously out of sync. Go ahead and play your little games and enjoy your self-induced political fantasy, I live in the real world where 4 more years of Bush in the White House might well so totally warp this country that it would be unrecognizable to us in the end.)
Now, if you absolutely insist on worrying about something, turn your attention to Iraq, which deserve every ounce of worry we can put into it.
Update: Publius is still worrying about the Bush/Kerry thing, but it's OK, because he makes an excellent point:
The belief that a presidential election is a choice between two individuals is probably the biggest fallacy in American politics. What you are actually voting for is an entire Executive branch of government, along with the judges or Justices it appoints. Unfortunately, too many people conceptualize the presidential election as a one-on-one contest between individuals, rather than between two potential Executive branches. ... People need to realize that this race is about two massive entities -- GOP Inc., and Democrats, Inc. -- and not two individuals. And what's really at stake in this election is which of these two entities will get to place its people throughout the entire Executive branch.
And incidentally, he makes a interesting point:
When you think about it, reducing everything to an individual level is actually a common cognitive error in American thought. For example, terrorism is not a systematic phenomenon, but something caused by Osama (and which can be fixed by killing Osama) -- which is the wrong way to think about it. Or, people think that capturing al-Sadr will end the uprising, which is an equally wrong way to understand the situation.
As he says, it's a cognitive error, which is the most difficult kind to guard against, since errors of cognition and perception are so intrinsically linked to our mental hard-wiring. They're what we fall back on because they come so easily and naturally to us, and they presumably had evolutionary value or they wouldn't exist (unless, of course, they are mere by-products of some other process necessary for survival). But whether they had value at one time or not doesn't mean that they're necessarily valuable to us now, in a world that is in many ways different from that one, more complex, less personal, and fundamentally warped by our own amazing ability to re-shape the landscape through cooperative efforts. Its hidden pitfalls and trapdoors have serious consequences, many of them along the lines that Publius writes about.
(Not so incidentally, Legal Fiction is among the best blogs going, and well worth keeping up with.)
Right, there really isn't any choice about the matter, it's either Kerry, whatever one thinks about him, or Bush, and we damn well know what we think about him. Blevins provides evidence in these essays:
Instances of Doucheitude and Why it Doesn't Matter
How Fucked We are Right Now
How Fucked We will be With 4 More Years of George W. Bush
Why This is Not the Time or the Place to Vote for a 3rd Party Candidate
Why Every Conservative Should Seriously Consider Voting Democrat this Fall
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
(click on image for more info)
Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.