John Kerry, Budding Senator

By December 2, 2004General

For those of you not on his list, here’s a copy of the e-mail that John Kerry sent to some 3 million of his supporters last week. It is noteworthy for a few reasons:

— After a concession speech long on healing, this e-mail appears to put Sen. Kerry back in attack mode, with language less like that of a statesman and more akin to, well, a blog.

— Following a fairly undistinguished Senate career that spanned over two decades, he appears poised to position himself as the activist Senator par excellence (that’s French). That sound you hear from his Democrat colleagues (and future rivals) is the sound of one hand clapping.

— Of all the areas in which to inject himself, he chose health care. This is remarkable if for no other reason than that the leadership on this issue among Senate Democrats for the past few decades has been the sole province of Kerry’s mentor and senior Senator, Ted Kennedy. Is Kennedy ready to cede his position as health care leader to Kerry?

In recent times, losing (general election) Presidential candidates have faded away: Al Gore, Bob Dole, George Bush Sr., Mike Dukakis, Walter Mondale, Jimmy Carter. Kerry is the first losing Presidential candidate since Richard Nixon (a comparison he no doubt relishes) to try to remain in the fray and maintain shelf life and relevance for another four years. This will make for some interesting dynamics in the US Senate, considering he has a few colleagues there who have their eye on the prize as well.

In the 107th Congress, John Kerry had an NAM Vote Rating of 8% (www.nam.org/votingrecord). In the 108th, he distinguished himself as the only Senator with a perfect score of 0%. After twenty years, as he decides to try his hand at legislation, let’s make sure his new-found enthusiasm doesn’t come at the expense of American manufacturing.