April 22, 2004
Howard Fineman comments on the Presidential horserace. Even with the strong resistence in Iraq and questions about President Bush's approaches to terrorism prevention and the war "the fact is that Kerry has lost ground ó ground he has to make up if he hopes to win in November." Fineman then lists some reasons Bush is doing all right despite the current problems.
It'd be hard for anyone to win the Presidency when their claim to fame is being a long-time Senator. The last man to go straight from the Senate to the White House was John F. Kennedy, and he narrowly beat Richard Nixon in 1960. The problem running as a Senator is they're not perceived as leading. Instead, they're part of the messy, convoluted process of making law. It's not that voters don't appreciate Kerry's efforts in his years as Senator. It's just that many don't see the skills developed there as that applicable to a President. A Senator can't will a bill into law. That person has to guide it through committees, past special interests, and around that body's intricate rules. That's far different than an person in an executive branch ordering the police to investigate an incident or dispatching the national guard. Dealing with so many people with their own agendas and interests, a Senator seems more qualified to be ambassador to the U.N. or Secretary of State than commander-in-chief.