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

Saturday | August 23, 2003

Kerry to announce in front of aircraft carrier

This is worthy of some discussion.

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry will formally announce his bid for the Democratic nomination for president next Tuesday against the backdrop of the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown.
Granted, Kerry won't pull any Bush-like theatrics like "landing" a plane or padding his crotch, but does he want everyone to compare the event with Bush's?

The announcement obviosly targets his Democratic rivals, and the logic seems encapsulated in this Globe piece from last May:

While Kerry and other Democratic contenders concede that Bush's visit to the Lincoln was a photo bonanza for the president and his campaign, people close to Kerry believe that voters looking at the pictures may ask whether any of the Democrats could swap places with Bush on an aircraft carrier and look as if they belonged. One person close to Kerry spoke of ''the Dukakis test,'' a reference to the ridicule Republicans heaped on Michael Dukakis after the 1988 Democratic nominee took a campaign ride in a tank.
In a vacuum, that strategy might actually work. But Kerry spent a great deal of time (properly) criticizing Bush for that PR stunt. This move now has the appearance of hypocrisy.

Then again, perhaps they felt an old-style announcement rally wouldn't create the buzz they seek. Who knows.

Equally as significant, Kerry's initial announcement will be made in South Carolina, not the strongest pickup opportunity. Many are interpreting that as a sign of weakness in New Hampshire. And the campaign is trying to dampen expectations of a NH win, arguing it's not a must-win for Kerry.

South Carolina won't be Kerry territory. It'll feature a battle between Gep, Edwards, and Lieberman (and I tentatively give the edge to Gephardt). Kerry needs NH. A Boston announcement (with Massachusetts media penetration into NH) would've been my choice.

But perhaps I'm thinking too cautiously or conventionally. Kerry obviously needs to shake things up, and this may do the trick. But I have a bad feeling about the aircraft carrier backdrop.

Posted August 23, 2003 01:23 AM | Comments (301)


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