A STRONG CANDIDATE. On Friday, Michael Bérubé had some interesting things to say about the Kerry-Haters for Kerry crowd - a group that seems to encompass just about every liberal pundit who's backing Kerry. Including, Bérubé notes, the editors of Slate.
Bérubé's lament is that while conservatives love Republican candidates, liberals only hesitatingly embrace the Democratic standard-bearer, and even then with plenty of disdain. If Kerry wins - and it increasingly seems as though he might - it's going to be hell for him to govern, since there will be no one reliably in his corner. Bush, on the other hand, has had Fox News, Rush, and other conservative media from day one.
Kerry can drive me nuts sometimes. But can we on the near left please admit the obvious? Kerry is a good candidate. His only real shortcoming is his inadequacy as a communicator. He's a solid liberal, somewhat to the left of Bill Clinton while close enough to the center so as not to alienate moderates, except those who choose to believe Republican distortions. He's smart, serious, and experienced.
How strong a candidate is he? Ask yourself where Howard Dean would be right now. The country is too evenly divided for Dean to be putting up McGovern-type numbers, but I'd be shocked if he were running more than 43 or 44 percent. Kerry, on the other hand, is in a position to win despite the Republican Attack Machine's unparalleled sliming.
SPLIT PERSONALITY. Pat Purcell's Boston Herald endorsed George W. Bush a few weeks ago. Yesterday, Purcell's MetroWest Daily News endorsed John Kerry.
SELDOM SCENE. A magazine called Scene Missing interviewed me by e-mail over the weekend. It was a bit weird. There had been some talk that I might be paired with one of the other Dan Kennedys - the guy who wrote Loser Goes First - but it didn't work out. At least not yet. Anyway, you can see the results here.
As best as I can tell, the magazine is much hipper than I am. (Of course, it's generally safe for me to start with that premise.) I hope I didn't make too big a fool of myself.