Kerry as FDR ?

January 29, 2004

Harold Meyerson has a nice Op-Ed piece in the Washington Post about John Kerry. He argues that real men will like Kerry, and that Rove will be unable to unman Kerry the way that Lee Atwater unmanned Michael Dukakis.

I was struck by his use of gender roles in his analysis. I was also struck by his argument that Kerry fits into the FDR mold: a patrician who has been humanized by tragedy and cares about people and their opportunities.

Like FDR, Kerry doesn't claim the populist mantle, nor does he have to. "What I'm talking about is fundamental fairness," he told me while bouncing down a New Hampshire highway the day before the primary, addressing people's outrage "that powerful lobbyists could achieve their ends on the Medicare bill to the detriment of the larger interest of the country. I don't call that populism; I call that Teddy Roosevelt-style 'Let's make the market fair.' Republicans misjudge the sense of institutionalized unfairness that Americans are confronted with every day."
I wonder if a focus on "institutionalized unfairness" and principles of common basic decency might not cut through some of Karl Rove's smoke and mirrors.

Posted by Red Ted at January 29, 2004 08:03 AM | TrackBack