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SkeeryKerry's Likability Gap....

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  • gmd10ms
    Sen. Kerry s likability gap Posted: April 1, 2004 © 2004 Laurence A. Elder If Kerry goes down in the fall, trace the blame to ... Butchy Cataldo. Kerry s
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1, 2004
      Sen. Kerry's likability gap

      Posted: April 1, 2004

      © 2004 Laurence A. Elder

      If Kerry goes down in the fall, trace the blame to ... Butchy

      Kerry's critics point to his shifting stands on NAFTA, the war in
      Iraq, the No Child Left Behind Act and the Patriot Act. Kerry
      detractors expect the public to catch on when Kerry – a fiscal
      liberal – attacks Bush for "fiscal irresponsibility."

      But, actually Kerry has a deeper problem – his lack of likability and
      the Butchy Cataldo Factor.

      Butchy Cataldo?

      Well, Sen. Kerry doesn't know, either. Precisely the problem,
      according to a window-to-the-soul story in the New Republic.

      The people who know Kerry best consider Kerry aloof, imperious and
      condescending. Even worse, Kerry can't seem to retain their names. At
      a 1996 Massachusetts political affair, a Democratic Massachusetts
      state legislator said to his friends, "Watch this." He walked up to
      Kerry and said, "Hi, Senator – Representative Butchy Cataldo." At
      this, Kerry smiled, slapped his back and exclaimed, "Butchy, so good
      to see you again!" One problem – the guy, the state rep – was not
      Butchy Cataldo. In fact, Butchy Cataldo ran and lost to this Kerry-
      greeting legislator whose name is Bill Reinstein, a man bearing no
      resemblance to the tall, dark-haired Cataldo.

      Call this a likability gap – a problem for Kerry.

      Presidential candidate George W. Bush, in 2000, unaware of an open
      mike looming nearby, whispered to his running mate, Dick Cheney, and
      said, "There's Adam Clymer, a major league a--hole from the New York
      Times." Liberal columnist Maureen Dowd took Bush to task for his
      profanity, reminding Bush that he now, in fact, plays in the "major

      But Sen. Kerry, in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine – not
      during a perceived, private, off-the-record conversation – said that
      he voted for the Iraq war resolution without realizing that Bush
      would "'F' it up." Only Sen. Kerry didn't really say, "F." Major
      leagues, Senator.


      At a campaign stop in Chicago before an AFL-CIO leadership group, a
      supporter urged Kerry to fight hard. Kerry, unaware that his
      microphone could pick up his conversation, said this about the Bush
      administration: "We're going to keep pounding. These guys are the
      most crooked, you know, lying group I've ever seen. It's scary."

      The Kerry campaign insisted that the senator referred only to
      his "Republican critics," not the Bush administration or the
      president himself. (Believe that one when Osama bin Laden converts to
      Judaism.) Republicans equal: crooks-liars-warmongers-environmental-
      rapists and protectors-of-friends-in-high-places.


      On the eve of the first anniversary of the war in Iraq with the
      Democratic nomination cinched, Kerry jetted to Idaho to go skiing. As
      Kerry snowboarded down a hill, a Secret Service agent inadvertently
      found himself in the senator's path. Kerry took a header. When
      reporters later asked Kerry about his fall, he snapped, "I don't fall
      down." Kerry blamed this tumble on his "son-of-a-b-tch" Secret
      Service agent. Son-of-a-b-tch Secret Service agent? The agent
      complained about Kerry's treatment and remark.

      (Maybe the agent feels miffed since his job description requires him
      to take a bullet, if necessary, for Sen. Kerry. A little gratitude
      might be appreciated.) A spokesperson for the Secret Service
      said, "Obviously, the complications and burden of being monitored 24
      hours a day is not just a simple inconvenience. But Sen. Kerry should
      understand agents are working for his safety and well-being."
      (According to the Drudge Report, reporters observed Kerry falling at
      least six times.)


      Kerry faults Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, accusing the
      president of "unilateralism" based on "arrogance." For, as president
      and commander in chief, Kerry expects to be able to bring to the
      table all parties interested in forging multilateral approaches to
      worldwide issues. In other words, Kerry expects to use his diplomatic
      flair and non-arrogant personality to convince the French, Germans
      and Russians – all of whom did business with Saddam Hussein and lost
      money and influence after his fall.

      Does Kerry expect the governments of the Middle East to come to the
      table and agree on encouraging the spread of democracy while it
      threatens to destroy the leaderships' power? Presumably, Kerry
      expects to use his warm, persuasive personality to cobble together a
      coalition that the warmongering, arrogant President Bush could only
      dream about.


      Kerry reminds me of a story I once read about the San Francisco
      Giants' slugger Barry Bonds. Mired in a batting slump, Bonds sat in
      the locker room and complained about his uncharacteristic struggle to
      get his offense going. I can't put my finger on the problem, said
      Barry aloud. I'm struggling. Can't buy a hit. Bonds then looked up
      and noticed a chronically poor-hitting teammate nearby. Bonds turned
      to him and said something like – you must feel like this all the

      So, how could the often tone-deaf Kerry work on his likability? He
      could drop the approach – sincere or contrived – that Bush equals
      Satan. Or maybe he should ask Butchy Cataldo.

      Larry Elder, controversial radio talk-show host from Los Angeles, is
      the author of the libertarian blockbuster "The Ten Things You Can't
      Say in America."
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