Kerry on Point

28 Aug


I don’t care if Senator Barack Obama wants to scale the Olympian heights beyond the messy fray, but at least one Democrat has to stump in the Midwest with this speech. Whether it’s Joe Biden, Bill Clinton, or John Kerry, this is how a candidate honorably attacks an opponent.

Kerry’s swipes at “the myth of the maverick” John McCain–with his memorable refrain pitting the past positions of “Senator McCain” versus “candidate McCain”–was precisely the sort of clever-but-tough line of attack against McCain that Democrats have struggled to perfect. (Kerry’s ability to turn that joke into a self-deprecating crack about his own “voted for it before I voted against it” formulation–and the crowd’s hearty laughter–also felt like a small moment of redemption in and of itself.) Kerry’s speech recognized the best way to undermine McCain’s formidable image of integrity and honor is through plain and indisputable facts about his record–not ad hominem shots that allow McCain to flash his POW card.

With more authenticity, Joe Biden can probably deliver this stump speech for more firepower than Kerry can. Obama and Clinton can talk about ethereal themes, but Kerry’s assault is the key to victory.

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