Saturday, May 29, 2004

Dated May 29: significantly revised and supplemented at 4:20 pm.

I knew Ronald Reagan and trust me, John Kerry is no Ronald Reagan.

The below paragraph is from a recent posting by (which is sourced and linked to, reflecting an attempt by Larry and others to analogize John Kerry's election challenge today to that of Ronald Reagan in 1980.

"This simple fact has set the strategies for the campaign. To attract on-the-fence voters, Kerry is expanding the use of biographical ads to introduce himself, while President Bush is running negative ads to try to define his opponent first.
In many ways, the presidential race mirrors the 1980 campaign when incumbent Jimmy Carter faced declining approval rates yet the public was unsure of Ronald Reagan, a candidate viewed by many on the ideological fringes of his own party. Reagan's challenge then -- to make himself more appealing to the average voter -- is the same as Kerry's today."

Not quite, [Archpundit, political wire, et al], I knew Ronald Reagan and, trust me, John Kerry's no Ronald Reagan. Indeed, despite all of Reagan's national TV exposure promoting American ideals and business products, his gubernatorial days in California and his presidential run in '76, Reagan was not all that well known in the country, except by establishment Republicans who [sound familiar to anybody in Illinois] thought a belief in the free market and a strong, well prepared military were ideas that wouldn't sell. Boy, were those Rs wrong.

Kerry, on the other hand, may be "too well known,"-- known, that is, as a trimmer. All of that flip-flopping stuff that came at him in the primaries from Democratic opponents was not without a basis. It may seem odd that a guy who the National Journal rates as one of the U. S. Senate's most consistent liberals, in terms of voting records, can be such a trimmer.

For example, Kerry's senate colleague from Massachusetts, that well known expert Chappaquiddick swimmer, diver, charmer of boiler-room female interns and moralist Ted ["I dived repeatedly"] Kennedy, can be accused of a lot of things, but trimming is not one of them. Teddy votes very liberal, talks very liberal, walks very liberal and is proud of it. Kerry, on the other hand, votes very liberal, but talks on all sides, walks on all sides and is proud of his intellectual dexterity. Very different ducks are the two U. S. senators from Massachusetts.

Kerry's problem is not whether he can produce and finance a big ad campaign telling Americans what a great life story he has. No problemo. That can be done and is being done, even as I write this. His problem is to persuade that dwindling set of independents in the middle, the 10-15%, or so, of middle voters in each of those 18 battleground states, that America needs someone with a flexible vision, an adaptable vision-- not someone who has, as his campaign should and perhaps will argue, the tunnel vision of George W. Bush.

I am not saying that I agree with that characterization of W--tunnel vision--I am just saying that if I were someone like Kerry's new Illinois Field Director, Avis [former Clinton, Daley, CPS, University of Chicago honcho] Lavelle, that's the line I would try to sell. Tunnel Vision- really, it is quite catchy-- and perhaps could be tied in with, "No light at the end of the tunnel." And, I give both of those items to the Democrats, with no charge- a free lunch, so to speak, just to show everyone what a fair and balanced guy I am.

But the important theme of this blog is, as I said: Trust me, I knew Ronald Reagan, and John Kerry's no Ronald Reagan. Not then, Not now, Not ever.

Jeff Berkowtiz can be reached by email--

And, remember, airing throughout the City of Chicago this coming Monday night, Memorial Day, 8:30 pm, Cable Ch. 21, our show, Public Affairs, features Cong. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D- Homewood, 2nd CD) debating and discussing The War and democracy; the Al Qaeda threat; Democratic U. S. Senate Candidate Barack Obama; a Third Airport in Peotone and O'Hare and Midway Expansion; Brown v. Board of Education, Zelman v. Harris, School Choice/school vouchers, Education in general and Constitutional Amendments; a casino for the South Side or south suburbs and growing the Economy on the South Side and in the south suburbs with Jeff Berkowitz, show host and legal recruiter.

Partial Transcripts of and commentary about the show with Cong. Jesse Jackson, Jr. are at the blog entries, below, dated: May 26, 12:30 am and 12:00 pm; May 25, 9:00 pm; and May 21, 2:30 am.

Next Monday night's [June 7] City of Chicago Edition of "Public Affairs," features Jack Ryan, U. S. Senate Candidate, answering the question-- Can Jack beat Barack Obama at his own Game.