The Read Menace 1.0

First, let’s get the pronunciation right. It’s Read (pronounced “red”), not Read (pronounced “reed”). Get it? Good.

Second, what’s going on here is usually a comment on something I’ve read lately. It could be a book, but more likely, it’s going to be a newspaper or magazine. There are a lot of good ones out there, that don’t have as wide a circulation around here as I’d like. Often, they write news or opinion that’s getting missed by the news sources that have the widest circulation.

But when you consider that the news sources with the biggest numbers are the ones that most closely imitate reality TV instead of reality, you see why a lot of good stories are under-noticed. That said, I’m going to make an exception to my own rule here and start with a story that was widely circulated but that almost nobody cares about.

I finally got around to reading the Newsweek piece from this week on Kerry’s explanation of why he lost.

Kerry says he was proud of himself for almost defeating a “a popular incumbent who had enjoyed a three-year head start on organizing and fund-raising.” From where we sit, Kerry should be ashamed of himself for letting an unpopular president who had started an unpopular war, tortured captives, gave tax cuts only to the wealthiest Americans, dodged military service himself, and executed mentally handicapped prisoners, off the mat.

The article goes on to say “Kerry tacitly acknowledged that he failed to connect with enough voters on a personal level,” saying that he was perhaps too “political.”

That’s sure the truth.

Depending on what you mean by “political.” If one means “saying whatever is most expedient at the time” by political, that was Kerry all the way. The way he should have beat Bush would have been to call him a liar every day, much as the Swift Boaters for Bush did for him.

It wouldn’t have been political in the sense that Kerry understands it, but it would have been the refreshing truth. And, it couldn’t have been any less effective that what he did do, which was nothing that anyone will ever remember.

And, what if he was charged with “going negative?” As a very smart man once told me, “It doesn’t do much good to quote the Marquis de Queensbury rules to someone who is kicking you in the balls.”

I’m looking forward to 2008, when the likely Democratic nominee will actually have a pair. I can hear Hillary now: “I kicked Ken Starr’s ass, and I’m coming for you next, Rove.”

–Oliver Tuanis