Jewish World Review April 30, 2004 / 9 Iyar, 5764
Kerry really needs Regular Guy lessons
It's no wonder John Kerry's campaign is struggling so badly. He doesn't know the first thing about a good haircut.
The past few weeks haven't been going so well for John Kerry. Despite President Bush's vulnerability on Iraq despite his relatively low approval ratings Kerry is still trailing him in the polls.
It's not hard to understand why. Most people see Bush as a straight shooter and a regular guy. He isn't a regular guy, of course. He was raised in privileged circumstances, just like Kerry was. He was given an excellent education at the best schools, just like Kerry.
But where many see Bush as a straight shooter and a regular guy, most are befuddled by Kerry, and with good reason.
Real regular guys would never say they voted for an $87 million package to support military operations and reconstruction at the same time they voted against it.
Regular guys would never say they threw away their medals, then say it was just the ribbons not the medals, then say that ribbons ARE medals.
Regular guys would never dine in fancy New York restaurants, where they would bump into world leaders (though I knew a guy in Pittsburgh once who swore he met Manual Noriega years ago in a Taco Bell).
Most importantly, regular guys would never spend $1,000.00 for a lousy haircut. According to the Drudge Report, Kerry flew a French hairstylist into Pittsburgh a week back to style his coiffure. That proves to me that Kerry really is out of touch with the common man.
Pittsburgh is the land of the hairdresser. There are only two professions in that entire regular-guy town: welding and hair styling. Pittsburgh is populated with thousands of competent hairdressers who smoke Marlboro Lights, drive 1987 Camaros with the T-tops off, and spend most of their free time yelling at their boyfriends on their cell phones.
But Kerry wouldn't know that. He's been living in the trappings of wealth for too long. He's been a coddled senator in a small, liberal state too long. He's been living in the land of legislative nuance and word parsing for too long.
And Republicans are having a field day with this.
According to a recent Washington Post piece, Republicans are skillfully executing a strategy to portray Kerry as a spoiled rich fellow, who is out of touch with regular guys. And their plan is working like a charm.
Commerce Secretary Donald Evans got the ball rolling when he said that Kerry looks French. Well, he does look French, and sacrebleu! he named his $750,000 yacht the "Scaramouche."
Republicans routinely remind Americans that Kerry and his wife Teresa own multimillion dollar homes at the beach, on the slopes, in Georgetown and in Boston. And that Kerry's wife compares him to a "fine wine" and even designed an official scarf for her husband's presidential campaign.
To be sure, Republicans, who aren't generally good at street-smart politics, are cleaning Kerry's clock. Every time Bush bumbles his words at a press conference, regular guys don't mind. But every time Kerry says something such as "my family owns an SUV, but I don't," regular guys are thinking, "huh?"
It's too bad Kerry isn't more capable at defending himself, because our country is facing some very serious issues. The hope would be that a hearty debate would be shaping up by now that Americans would be able to really think through our strategy on the war on terror, for instance.
But that isn't what is happening. No, it's early in the campaign yet and old Kerry is already allowing himself to be pigeonholed as a rich, out-of-touch flip-flopper. He's unable to keep smaller, peripheral controversies from sucking all the oxygen out of his campaign. He's sinking so fast, some of his fellow Democrats are turning on him.
If only Kerry had the sense to let a Pittsburgh hairstylist cut his hair. A Pittsburgh hairstylist can out-cut any hoity-toity French woman, and it would have only cost him $20 bucks.
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© 2003, Tom Purcell