I’m impressed with Kerry’s showing. I’m the last guy to offer up an opinion about how he pulled it off, but like many in this election, I’ve indicated that I want a guy who would beat Bush. I felt Howard Dean was the right guy for that fight — and that the campaign’s strategy was the ideal playbook to take head-to-head. Turns out I was wrong — and Kerry’s strong campaign is evidence that he’s capable of getting the votes needed to get elected.
My admiration for Kerry’s campaign is matched by sadness looking back at the last year. I got involved in the Dean campaign by sending an e-mail more than 18 months ago. I never thought I’d get involved as I did, nor did I think my involvement would garner me any attention — so it was more than a bit surreal to listen to Illinois’s Governor Blagojevich repeatedly thank me by name on Monday for my work on the Dean campaign and for the impact it had in our county.
But most of all, the reason I’m sad is that I’m disappointed in Dean. He inspired such hope and optimism in me that I’m frustrated at how things turned out. (No, this has nothing to do with the scream.)
It’s only fair to assess the campaign through the same lens I looked at others. And when John Kerry fired his campaign manager, I remarked at the time that candidates who couldn’t run strong campaigns didn’t deserve our vote. Kerry had let his campaign corrode from the inside out.
But to his credit, he fixed it.
Dean, on the other hand, didn’t. Two factions grew in Vermont, to the point that they became counter-productive. Dean failed to fix the situation. It became a tense environment, where valuable energy was wasted trying to negotiate competing loyalties and agendas.
That’s no way to run a campaign. And it’s no way to win office.
(More later on what I think the lessons of the Dean campaign are in light of the technological success… but since I can barely lift my fingers anymore, I’m turning in for the night.)
Hats off to John Kerry. He’s the party’s nominee, which means he’s my nominee.
Bring it on.