Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Kerry or not, here they come. It's John Kerry Week in the media. The most significant example is the Boston Globe's seven-part biographical series, written (so far) by Michael Kranish.

Now in its third day, the series accomplishes its institutional mission: being comprehensive enough that no enterprising news org is likely to come in from the outside and dig up any startling revelations about Kerry's past, thus embarrassing the gumshoes at 135 Morrissey Boulevard.

At about 5000 words per installment, it adds up to a small book, which it probably will become once the series has run its course.

Slate's William Saletan is stunned to discover that Kerry can be loose and funny. "If he keeps this up," Saletan writes, "he might actually become president."

In the New Republic's online "TNR Primary" (open to non-subscribers), my former Phoenix colleague Michael Crowley -- who wrote an entertainingly (and perhaps excessively) tough profile of Kerry last year -- gives him a "General Likeability" grade of "A" on the campaign stump. Crowley also notes that the Globe series reinforces Kerry's "special moral authority" in going up against the Hero of the Texas Air National Guard, George W. Bush.

Time magazine columnist Joe Klein follows up the favorable piece he did on Kerry in the New Yorker last year by praising his health-care proposal. Calling it "the first significant new idea of this political season," Klein says that only Kerry's plan is responsible enough to restrict benefits to those who need it the most.

Finally, another former Phoenician, Al Giordano, on his new weblog Big, Left, Outside, believes that Kerry -- for whom he once worked, and whom he covered as the Phoenix's political reporter in the mid-'90s -- can win ... but only if he gets in fighting trim. Giordano writes:

Here's the key: To wake Kerry up, you have to piss him off. You have to put his back up against the wall and slam into him with everything you've got to awaken his mutant powers. And then the real John Kerry stands up: he's golden in those moments: American politics' version of the Incredible Hulk. The American political highway is littered with the higher political aspirations of former giants (Jim Shannon, Ed Markey, Ray Shamie, Bill Weld, and a dozen or so others you probably haven't heard of) slain by Kerry when he was awake.

No comments: