April 7, 2004
A Boston Surprise this Summer?By Thomas Lifson
The Democrats have hitched their Presidential hopes to one of the strangest nominees in a long time, John Kerry. His cold aloofness, his thin—skinned nastiness, his habit of marrying wealthy women and living grandly on the proceeds, and his unique propensity for deep—cutting self—satire ('I voted for it before I voted against it'), make him remarkably unappealing to the non—ideological swing voters who will decide the election.
Recall for a moment that the only reason he became the front—runner was the Democrats' desperation in the wake of the Howard Dean public meltdown. Prior to that moment, Kerry's campaign had gone nowhere. He was tested and rejected by the activists anxious to back a winner. Only by virtue of his ability to mortgage a house purchased with his wife's late husband's money was his campaign even alive to pick up the pieces.
His sole positive attribute is his putatively heroic war record in Vietnam. But political gossip—mongers have long known that it is only a matter of time before serious questions about that record reach the public arena. Kerry received three medals, and an early exit from the combat zone, based on self—reported injuries which caused him to miss but one day of work.
Anyone who ponders this record for more than a moment or two is bound to ask questions. How can someone get so many heroic decorations based on his own testimony? How can three injuries serious enough to merit decorations have allowed him to continue his military service unimpeded by hospitalization, crutches, surgery, or visible consequences?
These questions are not in the same league as sexual innuendo, or questioning of anyone's patriotism. They represent legitimate curiosity about facts which comprise the cornerstone Kerry's campaign.
Yet Kerry has adamantly refused to release his military records, which could immediately clear up much of the mystery. This, despite the fact that his opponent, President Bush, released all records, up to and including his dental records, when his Air National Guard service was publicly questioned. By leading Democrats who actively campaign for Kerry. I strongly suspect that in doing so, Bush campiagn officials were consciously baiting a trap for Kerry on the question of his service records.
Then there is the entire matter of Kerry's anti—war activism, yet to be seriously explored. After adamantly denying it, documentary evidence turned up which indicated Kerry had been present at meetings in which leftist activists discussed assassinating politicians. Although Kerry resigned from the anti—war organization holding the meetings, there is no evidence that he reported the criminal activity he witnessed to any authorities.
In other words, he observed the Mafia custom of Omerta, when political assassination was at issue.
Keep in mind that there are still almost 200 days left before the election. There is plenty of time for second and third thoughts about Kerry, on the part of America's non—ideological voters, and plenty for them to think over. The vetting of candidate Kerry has only just begun.
But of course, Kerry isn't really the nominee yet. He is only the 'presumptive nominee.'
So it is time to seriously wonder if the Democrats might not exercise what we can call the 'Torricelli Gambit.'
In the 2002 elections, New Jersey Senator Robert Torricelli experienced a collapse in his electoral viability after securing the Democrats' nomination for re—election. Despite New Jersey state law to the contrary, the Supreme Court in that state decided to allow the Democrats to substitute a more viable candidate after the Torch withdrew from the race. All in the interest of giving the voters a choice, you see. And, as you may recall, the Democrats still hold on to the Senate seat vacated by Torricelli
If you don't think such an option could be exercised again, you are kidding yourself. Would Kerry voluntarily withdraw, the way Torricelli did after being 'counseled' by Democratic power—brokers, to smooth the way? Only time will tell. But if there are any skeletons in his closet, the prospect of facing the electorate without support from senior members of his own party can not be terribly attractive.
Then there is Teresa factor. She has never visibly demonstrated a lot of enthusiasm for her husband's candidacy. Would she support her husband pushing ahead under such circumstances, which could possibly lead to ridicule or scandal? Now that John Kerry has personally borrowed millions of dollars, secured by the Beacon Hill house in which he owns only a half interest, and which he cannot afford to pay back without access to his wife's checkbook, can he disregard her potential opposition?
Even if he doesn't voluntarily withdraw, he could still be rejected by the convention. The Super—delegates are under no compulsion to vote for his nomination. And if delegates selected by primary voters to vote for Kerry do not do so, who exactly is going to stop them? The New Jersey Supreme Court?
If the situation in Iraq is difficult enough to give the Democrats hope of winning the Presidency, and if Kerry continues his propensity for gaffes, bursts of anger, bullying voters with the temerity to ask difficult questions, and his need for rest and recuperation in the midst of heated battle, the urge to withdraw a damaged Kerry and substitute a candidate who would face less than four months of campaign scrutiny could become overwhelming.
And we all know who is waiting in the wings.