This weekend when I was travelling, I tuned in to CNN Headline News to see how much damage hurricane Frances did to Florida, and what did I see? Footage of John Kerry windsurfing. Windsurfing may be a fun and invigorating activity, and may even be an extreme sport, but when you windsurf, you look like a dork. Or at least you do if you’re not doing flips or other tricks that I assume the extreme windsurfers do. So there’s the Democratic candidate for President, the guy who everybody says is about to get buried by Bush, in the most effete region of the country, dressed in a wetsuit, windsurfing.
It was then that I realized that Kerry isn’t afraid of this Bush guy. He never really seemed scared in the Democratic primary when everybody wrote him off, and he hasn’t given the impression of being afraid in the general election, either. I think that’s why so many other Democrats have been panicing — because Kerry hasn’t been. When you look at the circumstances, August was foreordained to be Kerry’s worst month. The Kerry campaign said they weren’t going to spend money in August because the Bush people were able to raise money in August and they were not (due to the intersection of campaign finance laws and convention scheduling), that was going to cost Kerry a few points in the polls. The media’s ugly flirtation with the swiftvets cost Kerry as well. And then the month ended with the RNC smearfest.
The situation was ripe for panic. And yet, Kerry was windsurfing. Not clearing brush, or hunting big game, or engaging in some other swing state approved activity to show that he’s manly and decisive and sufficiently serious. Maybe he knows something we don’t, or maybe he doesn’t and he just doesn’t care, or maybe he’s in denial. But if you want to talk about your great acts of political courage, windsurfing off the coast of Nantucket when everybody on TV is dogging you out for not shifting your campaign to Defcon 5 has to be up there.