Tuesday, October 5, 2004

John Kerry: Ghost Senator

John Kerry has spent a lot of time talking about Vietnam and very little talking about his 20 years in the Senate. The consensus is that he hasn’t done much worthy of mention. Bruce Bartlett finds support for that conclusion in Senate staffer Winslow T. Wheeler’s book, "The Wastrels of Defense: How Congress Sabotages U.S. Security:"
"But then," Wheeler writes, "there was also another type of senator I would run across in the elevator or see in the chamber -- the ones I could never associate with any deed or even articulated thought that had any lasting effect. The thought would dash through my head, 'Oh, yeah, he's a senator too; forgot that he was even still around here.' John Kerry was such a senator."

Says Wheeler, Kerry "had all the physical trappings of a senator: the mane of graying hair, the deep, rich voice, the intent stare and the appropriate physical posture. But, Kerry never seemed to make a difference. It was almost as if he was both a member of the Senate and yet not a member, at least not one that mattered. He was a 'ghost senator'; he had all the form, but none of the substance."
I don’t know why the Bush campaign hasn’t tried to capitalize on this. They ought to be able to work the “ghost senator” angle into an effective campaign ad. Bush should make use of it in the upcoming debate on domestic policy as well. Whenever Kerry talks about his proposals for health care, education, etc., Bush should simply wonder out loud why Kerry chose to keep all of his great ideas to himself during his 20 year Senate career.

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