SkeeryKerry's Likability Gap....
- 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.
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
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
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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