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June 15, 2004

Victory Sans Enthusiasm

Byron York gives me the impression of a silent star, at National Review. His reporting is solid, his writing interesting, and I don't think he often sparks the amount of discussion that he deserves. Yesterday, he highlighted an interesting dynamic in John Kerry's base of support:

... the sense of excitement was everywhere at the Campaign's three-day conference. It was clear that the activists of the left believe they have the Bush administration on the run.

But for all the excitement about the victory they anticipate, the participants couldn't muster very much excitement for the candidate who is supposed to make it happen. At event after event, speakers were just as likely to say something lukewarm or even critical of Sen. John Kerry as they were to praise him.

The media can't keep up the wall-to-wall negative spin about the Bush administration indefinitely — or at least it can't do so without losing people's attention, if not the last vestiges of its own credibility. Perhaps more importantly, the Democrats aren't going to be able to maintain their candidate's optimal persona as a strong jaw that never opens.

I'm persuaded that much of the discontent with President Bush, on which the liberal activists are pinning their hopes, is in a direction away from Kerry, not toward him. Iraq, the economy, immigration, big government, and so on are all areas in which Kerry will only multiply Bush's ill-conceived positions. Voters know that, even if they grumble about wishing it were not so.

Posted by Justin Katz at June 15, 2004 11:58 AM