Tags: Kerry | Fails | Likability | Test

Kerry Fails Likability Test

Tuesday, 19 October 2004 12:00 AM

John Kerry, on the other hand, lacks an optimistic vision and buoyant personality. He seems unsure of himself as he nuances every word, hoping to be a different John Kerry to each person.

In this campaign we already have seen five different versions of Kerry, and we still have enough time for a few new versions. Democrats nominated Kerry because he promised to be electable. Polling showed that many of the voters who selected him did not really like him; they preferred John Edwards (they liked him) or Howard Dean (he was the candidate of their hearts and ideas) but believed that Kerry was more electable, and the one thing they wanted was to defeat President Bush. This is hardly a ringing endorsement for any candidate.

At the Democratic convention, John Kerry presented himself as the Vietnam War hero ready for duty. Polls showed that voters respected him for his service (at least before the Swift Boat ads) yet were not warming to him personally.

This is in stark contrast to FDR, Reagan and Clinton. These candidates were all viewed as likable when they ran (yes, even Clinton, with all of his personal baggage).

Roosevelt was viewed as a lightweight by many, including Walter Lippman, and seen by Herbert Hoover as the easiest Democrat to defeat. Flying to Chicago and becoming the first nominee to accept his nomination at the convention and pledging his famous New Deal, Roosevelt erased the doubts about his competence and, with his likability, won.

Ronald Reagan was viewed with disdain by Democrats (including John Kerry, who now invokes his name whenever he can) who felt he was the one Republican the hapless Jimmy Carter could defeat. At their one debate, Reagan showed a mastery of facts and a charm that disarmed even the icy Carter. That debate answered the question of competence for voters.

Bill Clinton was viewed as a likable rogue who, in his debates with President Bush and Ross Perot, showed a grasp of detail and empathy with voters that propelled him to the White House.

John Kerry is viewed as competent by voters yet seems to be lacking the personal connection. His attempts to show his human side have continually looked fumbled, and he has appeared almost Nixonian rather than Reaganesque. Voters seem to sense his unease and have yet to appear willing to see him as commander in chief.

Kerry still could make the sale with voters, but the clock is ticking and if he does he is rewriting history. Voters want to be led by a likable leader with a defined vision rather than a politician with an unnamed plan.

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John Kerry, on the other hand, lacks an optimistic vision and buoyant personality.He seems unsure of himself as he nuances every word, hoping to be a different John Kerry to each person. In this campaign we already have seen five different versions of Kerry, and we still...
Kerry,Fails,Likability,Test
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2004-00-19
Tuesday, 19 October 2004 12:00 AM
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