Kerry's Brilliant Scheme: Roger Simon (the U.S. News writer, not the novelist/blogger) thinks Kerry's idea of not accepting the Democratic nomination at his party's convention--in order to accept it a month later--is "too dumb even for politics."
If Kerry does not accept the nomination at his convention, how will he get anybody to watch it? The damn things are dull enough, but a convention without the presidential candidate accepting? Who would tune in to watch such a thing? And by giving up their audience, the Democrats will give up tons of free publicity. [Emphasis added]
I was initially skeptical of the delayed-acceptance idea myself, thinking it too clever by half. But that was before I realized its diabolical tactical brilliance. You see, Kerry's handlers have clearly been busy analyzing reams of scientific opinion research--and they've reached the same conclusion that pollster Scott Rasmussen reached a couple of weeks ago:
Senator Kerry loses a few points every time the spotlight focuses on him. Kerry's numbers bounce back when the focus returns to the President.
Indeed, Kerry has been virtually invisible on the national radar screen lately--and he's been slowly climbing in the polls.
But the Kerry camp faced what might seem to be an insurmountable challenge: the July Democratic convention in Boston, when the nation's press surely plans to focus on the Democratic nominee, beaming his every word into the nation's living rooms, allowing voters to get to know him and take the measure of his character and personality. Kerry's highly-paid strategists instantly recognized that this would be a disaster for their client. So they have crafted a cunning plan designed to get the TV networks to avoid covering the convention entirely, while the reporters who might otherwise be exposing Kerry to the world are convinced to stay at home. (Give up 'tons of free publicity'? Nothing's more threatening to Kerry than tons of free publicity.)
But there's more to the complex plan than just keeping Kerry off the air. By delaying acceptance of the nomination, Kerry can encourage speculation that he might just turn it down! Why, he may not be the nominee at all! This will result in wild journalistic scenarios about possible "Torricelli options," distracting public attention from Kerry's spirit-sapping persona much as chaff dropped from an airplane causes anti-aircraft missiles to veer off-target. Kerry's vice-presidential pick, in particular, will get star treatment from the press--another plus, since he or she will almost certainly be more appealing than Kerry himself. Perhaps Kerry's lawyers can even figure out a way for his vice-presidential choice to formally accept the #2 slot while Kerry delays--making the vice presidential candidate, in effect, the top standard-bearer and spokesman of the Democrats for a few precious weeks.
The "non-acceptance" gambit is not about campaign money. That's just the cover story! (As if money spent in August made that much difference--a point Simon makes rather forcefully.) Nor is Kerry's seemingly suicidal plan to draw attention to himself by giving a series of high-profile national security speeches over the next 11 days anything but another clever feint. The proof: Just see if he actually says anything memorable! According to ABC's The Note, Kerry plans "town-hall meetings and discussions with military families, veterans, and fire and police personnel." Heh, heh. No network news producer is going to bump Iraq off the air for those proven coma-inducers! If it seems like the Kerry planners are trying to put Mark Halperin to sleep, maybe that's because they are.
A convention without an acceptance speech. "Who would tune in to watch such a thing?" Exactly! The Democratic wizards have tipped their hand. Their secret is out.Their game plan has been revealed to the world! It's to keep the American public from realizing until the last possible moment the grim reality that Kerry really is the Democratic alternative.
If they could take Wonkette's advice and have Kerry delay accepting the nomination until, say, November 1, it might actually work. [She said Nov. 3, not Nov.1-ed. Right! Democrats could urge Americans to vote for a nominee to be chosen after the election by U.N. special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi!} 12:47 A.M.
C'est brilliant, no? If I'm feeling especially industrious later, I'll include Kaus' permalinks. For now, I'm off to Oklahoma City, to see a certain Brer Fox graduate high school.