As the saying goes, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” In the political world of 2004, the greatest trick Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry ever pulled was to convince the voters of his moderation.
Starting in Iowa and New Hampshire, Kerry put forth a moderate persona to counteract Dean’s belligerence. And it worked. Polls in New Hampshire at the time showed Kerry with a 43-18 lead over Howard Dean among moderate voters.
ABC News went so far as to tout Kerry’s moderation as a reason for his large lead.
A broad base on issues, a moderate image and a sense of electability powered John Kerry to a double-digit victory in the New Hampshire primary.
But Democrats have another thing coming if they believe they’ve put forth a moderate candidate to take on President Bush this Nov. A sure nominee after winning big yesterday in the largest primary contest yet, Kerry now has the task of fooling the rest of America as he has the Democratic Party.
Being a Massachusetts liberal doesn’t help. Neither does his voting record.
On a scale that ranges from 0 to 100, Mr. Kerry compiled a composite liberal score for 2003 of 96.5, the highest in the Senate. He eclipsed proud liberals like Paul Sarbanes (94.7) of Maryland, Barbara Boxer (91.2) of California, Tom Harkin (89.3) of Iowa and the Senate’s liberal lion, Edward Kennedy (88.3), his Massachusetts colleague. It was the fourth time in his 20-year Senate career that Mr. Kerry compiled a composite voting record that was unsurpassed in its liberalism by any of the other 99 members of the Senate.
And with Ted Kennedy in his corner, this may prove to be his most daunting Houdini act yet.