Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Wednesday | September 10, 2003

Kerry frustrated with Dean

I have to admit feeling a bit sorry for Kerry. It seems the only time he or his campaign is quoted anywhere it's in response to yet another piece about Dean.

Well, it appears it's finally getting to him.

The dominance that Dr. Dean has enjoyed, and the corresponding exasperation that has caused his rivals, was clear even before the candidates sat down in Baltimore tonight. Senator Kerry was talking to reporters before the debate here, where he was repeatedly questioned about Dr. Dean's standing in the race and things that he had said.

After Mr. Kerry finished his news conference and began walking away with an aide, David Wade, a live microphone picked him up muttering with evident annoyance: "Dean, Dean, Dean, Dean."

To be honest, I'm quite surprised and quite pleased that most Dems have kept their guns trained on Bush (the floundering Lieberman being the exception). Of course, campaigns dish dirt to reporters behind the scenes (leading to gripes like this one), but a public fascade of unity would go a long way to keeping the party united heading into primary season.

But it's a real conundrum for Dean's opponents. Their obvious strategy is to wait for Dean to make the "inevitable" stumble. But as a frontrunner, Dean has somehow managed to avoid much of the b.s. Kerry had to endure in his brief period as self-proclaimed front-runner. It may be a press honeymoon. It may be a symptom of Dean's deep and committed support.

But it does pose a serious challenge to Dean's opponents. We already have the whisper campaign, a la McCain, that Dean has a temper. But that doesn't seem to be gaining currency. So at some point, they will have to go overtly negative.

And Lieberman will be the first. No doubt the other candidates will sit back and gauge how Lieberman's efforts fare. If Lieberman starts seeing results, the others will pile on Dean. But what if Lieberman's efforts fail, or worse, backfire?

For now, Kerry will be forced to answer questions about "Dean, Dean, Dean". Then everyone (including Dean) will have to answer questions about "Clark, Clark, Clark" next week (whether the general runs or not), followed by more questions about "Dean, Dean, Dean" once he releases his Q3 fundraising numbers.

Kerry and the others not named Dean or Clark will need to make their own news if they hope to shift media coverage away from the two insurgents.

Posted September 10, 2003 07:47 AM | Comments (302)


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