He's got the experience, the Lincoln-like elongation, the Kennedy-esque turns of phrase, the environmental activists attesting to his record, and the guys from his gunboat attesting to his guts. But can John Kerry campaign?
We'll know soon enough -- tonight, actually -- just how he impressed the citizens of New Hampshire. Another strong victory, coupled with last week's out-of-nowhere triumph in Iowa, will mean Kerry has a commanding lead on the Democratic field. But it will also mark something of a victory of John Kerry over John Kerry.
GOFFSTOWN, N.H. -- The spin room of a desultory debate doesn't really offer much in the way of spin. The Democrats are frozen in the grip of niceness just now; the specter of the penitent Howard Dean (D-Vt.), reciting his record as governor in hopes of arresting his fall, has put them all on painfully good behavior.
If you work for a living in George W. Bush's America, you're a sap.
Take a quick look, or a long one, at the tax code as Bush has altered it during his three years as president, and you're compelled to conclude that work has become a distinctly inferior kind of income acquisition in the eyes of the law. Bush tax policy rewards investment and inheritance. Relying on work for your income, by contrast, turns you into a second-class citizen.
In his first round of tax cuts in 2001, Bush got Congress to phase out the estate tax by 2010. Last year, with Republicans in control on Capitol Hill, he reduced the top tax rate on dividends from 39.6 percent to 15 percent, and brought the capital gains tax rate down from 20 percent to 15 percent as well.
I've got this Howard Dean problem, and it's not that I think he's George McGovern. Actually, I think he's John Wayne.
And not just any John Wayne, but the Duke in his greatest performances, in some of John Ford's later movies. I know -- it's bad enough to tell my fellow liberals that I still have reservations about Dean, but to say that John Wayne was capable of great performances immediately subjects all my judgment and, perhaps, eyesight, to pitiless scrutiny. Nevertheless.