Thursday, February 12, 2004
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Will the Kerry bubble pop?
As Josh Chafetz pointed out, an awful lot of centrist media pundity (Jonathan Chait, Will Saletan, Mickey Kaus, Noam Scheiber) predicted earlier this week that the Democratic primary this year resembles a speculative bubble -- a candidate retains their value only if everyone shares the same common conjecture that the candidate is "electable." According to this logic, Kerry is just as vulnerable to crashing and burning as Dean.
Which leads to Matt Drudge reporting today that a scandal is brewing over Kerry's relationship with a woman other than Theresa Heinz:
Now, to be blunt, the Drudge story is pretty incoherent except in saying that there's a brewing scandal involving a women and Wesley Clark said "intern." Editor & Publisher says:
The Scotsman has a straight news summary
Here's the DailyKos report:
I have absolutely no idea how this story will play itself out.
I do wonder if Mark Kleiman's admiration for Wes Clark's candidacy might have been misplaced. [Kos' suspicions focus on Chris Lehane, not Clark. And Drudge has an e-mail saying Lehane was shopping this around--ed. Regardless of how the story plays out, one thing is absolutely clear -- Clark was a willing mouthpiece.]
UPDATE: OK, now this gets really bizarre. From the Associated Press:
ANOTHER UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds acts as the focal point with lots of links, all of them suggesting Chris Lehane as the instigator.posted by Dan on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM
I’m just glad that apparently no conservative is involved in this story. The liberal media would have used it to make John Kerry look like a victim of Republican shenanigans. I've no idea if Kerry messed around with an intern. It is humorous, though, that Wesley Clark may have “outed” him. There are reports that the General is about to endorse Kerry! What’s up with that?posted by: David Thomson on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
While I doubt it'll stop kerry on the Democrat side at least (Consider Clinton!) I wouldn't be quite so quick to discount the tale, Dan...
Word is out that the relationship was part of the problem for the 2000 cycle, and why Gore didn't take Kerry as his VP.
Also, Kerry's people claim they've known about the story for years and are well-prepaired for it.
With this story one thing that will be interest; what on earth will become of the loan he got against his wife's fortune to get this campaign going?
posted by: Bithead on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
I'm not sure where you get "Clark was a willing mouthpiece" from, unless you have some suspicion that he ordered Lehane to release it.
His off the record comments about campaign scuttlebut hardly makes him a mouthpiece for anything.posted by: Rex on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
“It was common knowledge, but the press sat on it for whatever reason (looking for confirmation? Hoping to avoid being labeled as gossip mongers?).”
Is the Daily Kos also a comedian? It sure looks that way. Who is he trying to kid? There is only one likely reason why the liberal “press sat on it”---it doesn’t hurt President George W. Bush! The “mainstream” media is virtually taking orders from the Democrat National Party.posted by: David Thomson on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
posted by: Jon H on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
David Thompson had this fantasy: "There is only one likely reason why the liberal “press sat on it”---it doesn’t hurt President George W. Bush! The “mainstream” media is virtually taking orders from the Democrat National Party."
That would only make sense if the "liberal media" hadn't overplayed Dean's post-Iowa speech by about 600 times, and distorted it by not pointing out the context of being in a noisy room.
The media is jumping on Bush because he's weak, he's defensive, he's hiding something, and there's blood in the water.
Rex: In dealing with reporters, there are things that you say on the record, things that you say off the record, and things that you just don't say during a primary campaign. Wouldn't this fall under the last category (particularly if it was an incident that was more than five years old)?posted by: Dan Drezner on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
Clark was not exactly a seasoned politician, so he may not know those "rules".
Drudge's (aka, the Mouth of Saurove's) timing looks suspiciously like another attempt to change the subject.
Clearly, Clark was Kerry's intern.posted by: praktike on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
Theresa Heinz said she'd only dip into her fortune if the other side tried to smear her husband.
Does this count?posted by: Tim on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
posted by: Jon H on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
Drudge, huh? Like that guy has any credibilty at all. He's just a clearinghouse for the Republican slime machine.
Maybe there's something here, maybe there isn't. But if you go around believeng what Drudge writes, you'll wind up as delusional as Dave Thompson.posted by: uh_clem on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
If it dates back to 2000, it's at least 4 years old (and maybe older). Who really cares?posted by: Appalled Moderate on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
“That would only make sense if the "liberal media" hadn't overplayed Dean's post-Iowa speech by about 600 times, and distorted it by not pointing out the context of being in a noisy room.”
The liberal media wanted to get rid of Howard Dean because he appeared unlikely to beat George W. Bush. Have we already forgotten the wife abuse story put out by ABC news?:
PS: one more thing: “The “mainstream” media is virtually taking orders from the Democrat National Party."” should read “The “mainstream” media are virtually taking orders from the Democrat National Party."”
“Drudge, huh? Like that guy has any credibilty at all. He's just a clearinghouse for the Republican slime machine.”
Nope, nothing could be further from the truth. Drudge has enraged Bill O’Reilly and posted a number of stories critical of President Bush. Matt Drudge is basically a “fair and balanced” National Enquirer type journalist. He may slightly favor the Republicans, but he will not cut them slack if if there is a story to tell.posted by: David Thomson on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
You and I seem of a mind, here.
Agreed, The Clintons seem to me to be the issue here. Even Maripat over at RIGHT WE ARE raised the question about Hillary swooping in on this one... and I tend to agree, it would make sense, if Kerry loses enough momentum.... she'd come in to 'save the day'....who else is in a position to do such? Nobody I can see.
Gee Bithead, I'm surprised you didn't theorize that Valerie Plame was behind this - after all, she did appear in Vanity Fair.posted by: TexasToast on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
As I suggested, tihs isn't Drudge's story.
“So how does the GOP run with this after they backed Arnie in CA?”
The GOP will not touch this story with the proverbial ten foot pole. One way or another, the Republicans will be made to seem like Puritan extremists. Also, they won’t have to do anything---John Kerry will be inevitably harmed anyway if the rumors prove to be accurate. As matter of fact, his wife might cut off a certain part of his anatomy!posted by: David Thomson on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
Will the Kerry bubble pop?
Short answer: No.
Longer answer: When there were a number of candidates in play, the ABB (Anybody But Bush) crowd's support could easily flow from one candidate to another as first one than the other seemed to be ahead. Now that we seem to be down to one person in the race, the ABB crowd has nowhere to go. Of course they'll stick with Kerry.
There's still an outside chance that they could flock to Edwards at the last minute, but I wouldn't give it better than 50 to 1 odds. (Of course, I thought Dean was a shoo-in a couple of months ago, let's not count our chickens...)posted by: uh_clem on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
David Thompson writes: "-John Kerry will be inevitably harmed anyway if the rumors prove to be accurate"
Why? He hasn't been running as a "pure as the driven snow" morals candidate like Bush did. There's no hypocrisy.
Whether he's harmed or not depends on his response. If it's weasely, it'll hurt him. If he fesses up, like people want Bush to do with the details of his service, he'll be okay.posted by: Jon H on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
So I'm sure we'll be hearing "move on" pretty soon, along with those same people recycling unsupportable suppositions (over and over and over and...)posted by: Chrees on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
“Why? He hasn't been running as a "pure as the driven snow" morals candidate like Bush did. There's no hypocrisy.”
President Bush never ran on a “pure as the driven snow" campaign. The exact opposite is the case: he was open about his previous drinking troubles. He repeatedly said that he wasn’t always a saint in his earlier years.
Many Americans don’t believe that hypocrisy is the only sin to be condemned. They feel uncomfortable with a man who cheats on his wife. It indicates a lack of judgment and an unwillingness to live up to his vows. Lastly, how will Teresa Heinz Kerry respond if there are indeed flames behind this initial smoke?
“If he fesses up, like people want Bush to do with the details of his service, he'll be okay.”
Please don’t make us want to vomit. The liberal media jackals are simply on a witch hunt. No answer will be accepted by these sleaze balls other than a guilty plea by President Bush.posted by: David Thomson on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
There is another reason why Republicans should stay away from this story: it might be a setup job to ultimately make John Kerry look good! I can imagine it now:
“John Kerry has been wrongly accused of cheating on his wife. How low will his political opponents go? Why should the American people ever again listen to them?”
John Kerry’s poll numbers might jump up significantly. The liberal media will guaranteeably use this type of story to hurt Republicans. These are scum bags of the lowest caliber---and never to be trusted.posted by: David Thomson on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
The exact opposite is the case: he was open about his previous drinking troubles. He repeatedly said that he wasn’t always a saint in his earlier years.
No, Bush has been quite secretive of his behavior before he quit drinking and matured.... on his 40th birthday. He says even less about the allegations of cocaine use, only replying that he hasn't used drugs since 1974.
My aunt is a drug counselor, and I have helped friends go through rehabilitation. IMO, the key to rehabilitation is complete honesty about your history of substance abuse. Bush has been extremely vague about his history of drug and alcohol abuse.
I believe that he's won the battle against substance abuse, and I applaud him, but I personally believe that he's in a bit of denial about his past behavior.posted by: Tuna on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
Bill Clinton was a big-time womanizer, and everybody knew it. The only people who were outraged by this were the right-wing dittoheads who hated him anyway. Normal people were interested in it as a tabloid story, but they didn't really seem to think that it disqualified him from the presidency.
I don't see any reason to think Kerry will be treated differently by the public, if it's true that he cheated on his wife. If this happened when he was single, it barely qualifies as a tabloid story.posted by: rps on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
I would think normally you'd be right. However, if a story like this is circulating through the campaigns and press (which apparently this one has, at least for a few days if not weeks), I can see talking to the press about it, off the record, in the context of a collapsing campaign. More along the lines of sharing old war stories than smearing an opponent. Remember, Clark isn't exactly used to all the ebbs and flows about this.
(And since it came out after I posted, I think his pending endorsement of Kerry bears this out.)
Rexposted by: Rex on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
Kerry might do Ok, the people who will really take a beating is the mainstream press. The bunch who have left no stone unturned(as long as it was close to an election at least) to come up with SOME kind of AWOL story. But sat on this. The internet is going to beat those frauds to death and good riddance.posted by: Rocketman on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
There have been many Kerry stories among Hill staffers, especially in his randy days between heiresses. One story about 14 years ago involved Kerry caught pantless with a teen-aged intern. Now this wasn’t infidelity, just a gross misuse of the power of his office. Or actually the copier in his office as the story went. But this was a vile, slanderous rumor. And written up in Spy magazine, I’m told.
I'm guessing Drudge's story was planted by the Kerry camp, so they can claim a Republican smear and start dipping into Ms. Ketchup's $700 million.posted by: dakota on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
I really fail to see how anything cited above justifies the claim that "one thing is absolutely clear -- Clark was a willing mouthpiece."
Nothing is absolutely clear here.
For what it's worth I'm glad the allegations have surfaced now, rather than latter, but the allegations themselves are just that at this point. And implicating Clark as a clear "willing mouthpiece" on the basis of what is reported here is absurd.
It would be closer to the truth to say that the proprietor of this blog is a willing mouthpiece.posted by: decon on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
For what it's worth, Kerry has dropped about 15 points at Tradesports in the last 24 hours. He actually dropped about 25 points, but has rebounded to settle at around 77.
And of course the real political bubble is George W. Bush. The wurlitzer has been blowing that one since 1994. It's gonna hurt when it pops.
No WMD. Ouch. Suburban Bubba's job moves to Sri Lanka. Ouch. Trillion dollar deficit. Ouch. Lied about budget, medicare, releasing records, etc... ad nauseum. Ouch, ouch, ouch. Iraqi civil war. Ouch. No Guard Service. Ouch. Snorted Cocaine. Ouch. Outed Plame. Ouch. Didn't act on actionable intelligence to prevent 9/11. Ouch. Refuses to testify before 9/11 commision. Ouch.
Some of the above perhaps unwarranted? Just playing by the house rules.
posted by: decon on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
Wishful thinking, "Decon'?
So is this Sun article the rumor that we're talking about? If so, then this story doesn't have any legs.
Decon does make a point. Bush's strength is/was his honesty. That's how he connected with the public. If he loses that critical connection, he's in a bit of trouble if he has to run on the strength of his record.posted by: Tuna on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
According to this notice from UK's The Sun, Kerry's "intern" "fled" to Kenya with her fiance. John Kerry must be one scary guy.
Somehow, I'm more concerned about the guy with the CIA behind him and the Patriot Act in his pocket.posted by: grich on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
How can anyone trust a man for President - Commander-in-chief who lied about his military service and who's seemingly steadfast goal over 4 months in Vietnam was to garner his 3 purple hearts and get his exit ticket out of there. Recommend reading "Unfit for Command", it's quite an eyeopener. Kerry's campaign is about to implode.posted by: Gold on 02.12.04 at 02:55 PM [permalink]
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