Kenneth Baer

Kenneth S. Baer, former senior speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore, runs Baer Communications, a Democratic consulting firm.

Recent Articles

What I Learned in Tel Aviv

Most people travel to Israel to see the past. I went there last week and glimpsed the future. In a country where more than 920 people have been killed since the second intifada started in September 2000, life goes on. People go to work. Like in the U.S., the high-tech sector that powered economic growth in the late 1990s, while smaller, is still humming along in the office parks of Herzilya Pituach and Kiryat Atidim. Israelis shop at the mall, their corner store, and the outdoor souk. Last week, the country celebrated its first Olympic gold medal (in the unlikely event of windsurfing) -- and celebrated that the school year was beginning without a teachers' strike for the first time in memory. Yet amidst these scenes of normalcy -- scenes that resemble life in America more than life in any country on Israel's borders -- there are constant reminders that the terrorist threat is real and looming just over the horizon. As you pull your car into the Dizengoff Center's parking lot in Tel...

When Incumbents Attack

On Monday, the Bush campaign released its latest campaign ad, called “Intel.” Looking at its name, one would think the ad lays out the president's plans for intelligence reform or touts his administration's record on preventing terrorist attacks. But it doesn't. Rather, the ad attacks John Kerry for allegedly missing 76 percent of the hearings of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and proposing to slash the federal intelligence budget by $6 billion. It ends on a personal note, declaring that, “there's what Kerry says, and then there's what Kerry does.” This comes days after Swift Boat Veterans for Truth -- a technically independent group -- accused Kerry of lying to win medals in Vietnam in an ad that makes the infamous Willie Horton spot look like an ad for Snuggles detergent. Meanwhile this week on the stump, President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney continued to deride Kerry as a flip-flopper, out of the mainstream, and clouded by his own convoluted positions...

When Incumbents Attack

On Monday, the Bush campaign released its latest campaign ad, called “Intel.” Looking at its name, one would think the ad lays out the president's plans for intelligence reform or touts his administration's record on preventing terrorist attacks. But it doesn't. Rather, the ad attacks John Kerry for allegedly missing 76 percent of the hearings of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and proposing to slash the federal intelligence budget by $6 billion. It ends on a personal note, declaring that, “there's what Kerry says, and then there's what Kerry does.” This comes days after Swift Boat Veterans for Truth -- a technically independent group -- accused Kerry of lying to win medals in Vietnam in an ad that makes the infamous Willie Horton spot look like an ad for Snuggles detergent. Meanwhile this week on the stump, President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney continued to deride Kerry as a flip-flopper, out of the mainstream, and clouded by his own convoluted positions...

When Incumbents Attack

On Monday, the Bush campaign released its latest campaign ad, called “Intel.” Looking at its name, one would think the ad lays out the president's plans for intelligence reform or touts his administration's record on preventing terrorist attacks. But it doesn't. Rather, the ad attacks John Kerry for allegedly missing 76 percent of the hearings of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and proposing to slash the federal intelligence budget by $6 billion. It ends on a personal note, declaring that, “there's what Kerry says, and then there's what Kerry does.” This comes days after Swift Boat Veterans for Truth -- a technically independent group -- accused Kerry of lying to win medals in Vietnam in an ad that makes the infamous Willie Horton spot look like an ad for Snuggles detergent. Meanwhile this week on the stump, President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney continued to deride Kerry as a flip-flopper, out of the mainstream, and clouded by his own convoluted positions...

The Big Bounce

More than 24 million viewers, 100,000 balloons, and one 50-minute acceptance speech later, the results are in: The Democratic Convention has given John Kerry the “bounce” of a bowling ball. The Democratic ticket is now running even with or behind George W. Bush, and Republicans note with glee that the last presidential candidate not to enjoy a post-convention bounce was the hapless George McGovern in 1972. Most commentators chalk this up to the dwindling number of undecided voters this year (one recent poll by the New Democrat Network found the number of those truly persuadable at a remarkably low 15 percent), leaving fewer available to win over with a convention speech. As we've all heard so many times now, the electorate is incredibly polarized. But what's caused the dwindling number of undecided voters -- and deadened Kerry's bounce -- is not leftover partisan fervor from the 2000 election. Rather, this year's accelerated political calendar explains what we're seeing. We are...

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