In the New York Times a couple weeks ago, I noticed that Senator John Kerry began the post-Labor Day rush with a slew of predictable, infantile anti-Bush slang best reserved for the goose-steppers over at The cracks on the “W stands for wrong” and a blow to the coalition in Iraq are about as original as a college male quoting “Family Guy.” The fundamental question that needs to be posed to Kerry is that, if Bush is so intrinsically inferior, why does Kerry not focus on his own agenda exclusively rather than continually see himself in terms of Bush’s shortcomings? Since the left galvanized behind Kerry because of the mere fact that he is not George W. Bush, he has no reason to fear that he will lose its vote. Therefore, he should have spent these last few months reaching out to moderates and swing voters. However, since he obtained the Democratic nod, he has made himself look good only to liberals and runs the risk of losing the swing vote, which he sorely needs to win this election.The Democratic nominee for Vice President did absolutely nothing to attract the centrist swing vote, which is still up for grabs. Unlike Joe Lieberman or Wesley Clark, who both have traits that moderates and liberals can value, John Edwards was arguably the most liberal of the contending – sorry to all the hard-core grassroots campaigners out there, but the word “contending” does not mean Kucinich, Mosley Braun or Sharpton – candidates in the primary races. Kerry could have picked a socialist or an anarchist for his running mate and he would still have the left smiling ear to ear at him. However, by not reaching out to the center in his selection of a VP, the first strike against his campaign stands thus. Needless to say, John Kerry opposes George W. Bush on a variety of issues – the war in Iraq, the defense of marriage amendment, women’s rights, taxation, etc. Furthermore, as evidenced in the first example, when he clearly changed his position to specifically put himself at odds with Bush, he exhibited a base lack of resolve and constancy. Although these traits are required for a leader, he cared more about distancing himself from the President. Trying to paint himself as the “anti-Bush” only “preaches to the choir,” a choir who undoubtedly has his vote due to its monomaniacal hatred for Bush – much like the Edwards’ “Two Americas” diatribe preached to the “working class” choir. Conversely, John Kerry needs to realize that being the “anti-Bush” does not ipso facto make him an effective candidate. Not every voter entering this election feels the way that the ovine-minded at feel. In fact, when my team was going against a weak adversary, my varsity soccer coach told us not to play down to the level of our opponents – my team could only win by playing its own, superior, type of soccer. Similarly, Kerry has to be more concerned about playing his own brand of politics than comparing himself to Bush. Until that point, this disaffected conservative just might go home to the Grand Old Party come election time.Scott can be reached at

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