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Mark Steyn: So which would America rather have: Pretty Boy or Long Face?
The Sunday Telegraph (U.K.) ^ | 02/22/04 | Mark Steyn

Posted on 02/21/2004 3:51:32 PM PST by Pokey78

Last weekend, George W Bush went to Florida for Nascar's Daytona 500 race. His likely Democratic rival, John F Kerry, did not approve. "We don't need," he declared, in the portentous drone he has been perfecting for three decades, "a President who says, 'Gentlemen, start your engines.' We need a President who says, 'America, let's start our economy.' "

Hmm. If this is the best material Senator Kerry's high-price consultants can provide, it is going to be a long, long while from here to November. It's unlikely that any but the most partisan Democrats can stomach nine months of a candidate who is Al Gore without the personal charm and affable public-speaking style. The Massachusetts Senator with the patrician manner and a face as long as his one-liners is the Default Democrat. He is the guy the party's voters fell back on after concluding that Howard Dean, the surging Vermonter, was, in the pithy summation of the union boss Gerald McEntee, "nuts". And McEntee was a Dean supporter.

So Democrats decided that Kerry was more "electable". Which he is, next to Dean - in the same way that, if Saddam Hussein and Robert Mugabe entered the Iowa caucuses, Farmer Bob would be Mister Electable. But, once Saddam had thrown in the towel, you'd start wondering whether Bob Mugabe was really the best you could do.

So, having anointed Kerry as the unDean, a significant chunk of Democrats are now looking around for the unKerry. The only guy available is John Edwards, the pretty-boy trial lawyer from North Carolina. He is 50 but looks about 13, which is kind of refreshing after that strange feeling you get a third of a way into Kerry's stump speech that your body's atrophying and crumbling to dust. In Tuesday's Wisconsin primary, Senator Edwards ran Kerry a strong second and came bouncing out on stage, his fabulous bangs (that's "fringe" in British) dancing in the air like a Charlie's Angels title sequence.

He said that the voters of Wisconsin had sent a message: "Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear." These words are printed on the wing mirrors of every American automobile, and Edwards meant them as a jocular warning to Kerry: you may be in the driver's seat but I'm closing in fast. He was upbeat and breezy and his line, if only by comparison with the President-who'll-start-the-economy gag, was cute.

At that point, over at Kerry HQ, the frontrunner decided it was time to get Pretty Boy off the air, so he walked out and started his victory speech, knowing the networks would cut away from Edwards to him. Not such a smart move. For the television audience, Edwards's solitary minute was entertaining, Kerry's 20 minutes of hollow stump banalities was a sonorous snoozeroo: "The motto of the state of Wisconsin is 'Forward' and I want to thank the state of Wisconsin for moving this cause and this campaign forward tonight here in this great state. Tonight I say to all of America, get ready. A new day is on the way."

It may be a new day, but already a lot of us are finding it hard to stay awake. As The New York Times put it, when Senator Kerry "bumped Mr Edwards's own ebullient speech off the air, it was as if a pep rally had morphed into math class". When you are too dull a Democrat even for The New York Times, you've got a problem.

On the other hand, if Edwards is the unKerry, he is developing a distressing habit of never doing quite well enough. If Edwards were to come a narrow first instead of a close second, the Kerry bubble would burst: he wins because he's seen as likely to win. Alas, coming a close second is pretty much all Edwards does. He was a close second in Iowa, a close second in Oklahoma, a close second in Wisconsin.

The only difference is that coming a close second in an eight-man race in late January is more impressive than coming a close second in a four-man race in late February. Given that on Super Tuesday, March 2, it will be impossible for Senator Edwards to come worse than second, he really has to win something, and he doesn't seem to have the wit or energy to pull those extra few thousands votes that would put him over the top.

So the race has come down to a weak default candidate v a glamorous insurgent who is not quite glamorous to insurge sufficiently. Other than that, there is not much to choose between them. Both men are enormously wealthy. Kerry was a blueblood of relatively minor means who married a woman worth $300 million and then traded up to a woman worth $500 million. If I were Teresa Heinz Kerry I'd be worried, now Massachusetts is introducing gay marriage, that hubby may start giving the come-hither look to some of the state's elderly bachelor billionaires.

By contrast, John Edwards had a dirt-poor hard-scrabble childhood but managed to sue his way out of poverty. He has made 25 million bucks just from suing tobacco companies. His is an inspirational message: If I can do it, the rest of you haven't a hope in hell. But fortunately I've got a thousand new government programmes and micro-initiatives that will partially ameliorate your hopeless mediocrity. (I paraphrase.)

My favourite line in the Edwards spiel comes about two-thirds in, when, after outlining the regulatory hell in which he is going to ensnare banks, the pharmaceutical industry, etc, he confides: "But I'll be honest with you. I don't think I can change this country by myself." It's good to know the other 280 million Americans aren't entirely redundant. His basic pitch is that the entire electorate are victims, and his candidacy is the all-time biggest class-action suit on your behalf.

Edwards is condescending. Kerry is far too grand to condescend. But both are agreed that America is a vast wasteland of unemployed, shivering, diseased losers. For single-issue guys like me, Edwards barely says a word on Iraq and the war, though I am inclined to think he'd be better than Kerry. The latter seems eager to do whatever Chirac and Kofi want, whereas with Edwards there's always the possibility he will wind up suing the UN Security Council for emotional distress. More importantly, even as he's painting his heart-wrenching portraits of starving children, Edwards is sunny, albeit in a grotesque and mawkish way. And, as a general rule, the sunnier disposition wins (see Bush/Gore, Clinton/Dole, Reagan/Mondale).

It is true that in his five years in Washington Edwards hasn't accomplished anything, but then neither has Kerry, and he has been there four times as long. If Pretty Boy wins somewhere, anywhere, on Super Tuesday, the mantle of inevitability falls away from Kerry. If he doesn't, Dems are stuck with the default guy, and by April they're going to be awful sick of him.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Massachusetts; US: North Carolina
KEYWORDS: 2004; edwards; gwb2004; kerry; marksteyn; marksteynlist; steyn
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1 posted on 02/21/2004 3:51:32 PM PST by Pokey78
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To: Howlin; riley1992; Miss Marple; deport; Dane; sinkspur; steve; kattracks; JohnHuang2; ...

2 posted on 02/21/2004 3:53:03 PM PST by Pokey78 (Steyn: Leftists demonize Wolfowitz because his name begins with a big scary animal and ends Jewishly)
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To: Pokey78
John Kerry = this year's Bob Dole
3 posted on 02/21/2004 3:53:29 PM PST by thoughtomator ("What do I know? I'm just the President." - George W. Bush, Superbowl XXXVIII halftime statement)
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To: Pokey78
BUMP
4 posted on 02/21/2004 4:00:59 PM PST by international american (Dimpled chads for sale...buy one, get one free!)
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To: Pokey78
They both make Bush look really good.
5 posted on 02/21/2004 4:02:17 PM PST by Columbine (Bush '04 - Owens '08)
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To: thoughtomator
Are these two related?


6 posted on 02/21/2004 4:02:59 PM PST by Paul Atreides (Is it really so difficult to post the entire article?)
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To: Pokey78
Even a column about Kerry by our best and brightest, puts me to sleep.
7 posted on 02/21/2004 4:03:06 PM PST by gcruse (http://gcruse.typepad.com/)
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To: thoughtomator; Pokey78
"If this is the best material Senator Kerry's high-price consultants can provide, it is going to be a long, long while from here to November."

Long and boring. He's dreadful Kerry, just dreadful. He makes Al Gore seem like Groucho Marx. Awful, and unlike even old Al, Kerry DRIPS wealth and privilege, I can't imagine who would buy a used "people vs. the powerful" agenda from him.

And what else does he have? Bush stinks? I served in Viet Nam? No Justice No Peace? My wife is too sexy for me?

Pathetic. Go Kerry Go!
8 posted on 02/21/2004 4:03:12 PM PST by jocon307 (The dems don't get it, the American people do.)
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To: Pokey78
It's unlikely that any but the most partisan Democrats can stomach nine months of a candidate who is Al Gore without the personal charm and affable public-speaking style.

Gasping for air!

9 posted on 02/21/2004 4:03:45 PM PST by Aeronaut (Peace: in international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.)
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To: Britton J Wingfield
ping :)
10 posted on 02/21/2004 4:05:35 PM PST by cateizgr8
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To: Pokey78
Mark Steyn: So which would America rather have: Pretty Boy or Long Face?

It doesn't matter, so long as it's ANYONE BUT BUSH!

Heard that from a paleo-FReeper...

11 posted on 02/21/2004 4:05:59 PM PST by Old Sarge
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To: thoughtomator
But both are agreed that America is a vast wasteland of unemployed, shivering, diseased losers.

That's not true! I've got a job!

12 posted on 02/21/2004 4:09:33 PM PST by Homer_J_Simpson
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To: Pokey78
I'll take the cowboy...
13 posted on 02/21/2004 4:09:45 PM PST by CharlotteVRWC
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To: Pokey78
Steyn is fine as usual. Thanks for the post!

BTW: sonorous snoozeroo

Isn't that an Australian wine?

14 posted on 02/21/2004 4:10:19 PM PST by SquirrelKing
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To: Pokey78
If I were Teresa Heinz Kerry I'd be worried, now Massachusetts is introducing gay marriage, that hubby may start giving the come-hither look to some of the state's elderly bachelor billionaires.

Bwuhahahahahaha!

15 posted on 02/21/2004 4:11:49 PM PST by SquirrelKing
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To: Homer_J_Simpson
Yeah, but, face facts: you're just one paycheck away from living under a bridge and eating out of a dumpster.
16 posted on 02/21/2004 4:11:52 PM PST by Paul Atreides (Is it really so difficult to post the entire article?)
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To: Pokey78
When you are too dull a Democrat even for The New York Times, you've got a problem.

Man, it could WELL be a long campaign!

17 posted on 02/21/2004 4:13:00 PM PST by VadeRetro
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To: Pokey78
Edwards is sunny, albeit in a grotesque and mawkish way. And, as a general rule, the sunnier disposition wins (see Bush/Gore, Clinton/Dole, Reagan/Mondale).

Shudder Carter/Ford

Edwards combines all the worst of Carter and Clinton and takes it to the plaintiff's lawyer extreme.

So9

18 posted on 02/21/2004 4:13:11 PM PST by Servant of the 9 (Goldwater Republican)
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To: Pokey78
If he doesn't, Dems are stuck with the default guy, and by April they're going to be awful sick of him.

Hillary takeover at the convention ala Lautenberg

19 posted on 02/21/2004 4:14:16 PM PST by VRWC For Truth
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To: Pokey78
OK. Comparing Kerry to Mugabe, even in jest, is scary.
20 posted on 02/21/2004 4:18:39 PM PST by GeronL (http://www.ArmorforCongress.com......................Send a Freeper to Congress!)
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To: gcruse
My favourite line in the Edwards spiel comes about two-thirds in, when, after outlining the regulatory hell in which he is going to ensnare banks, the pharmaceutical industry, etc, he confides: "But I'll be honest with you. I don't think I can change this country by myself." It's good to know the other 280 million Americans aren't entirely redundant. His basic pitch is that the entire electorate are victims, and his candidacy is the all-time biggest class-action suit on your behalf.

Gotta love it.

21 posted on 02/21/2004 4:25:59 PM PST by Amelia (I have trouble taking some people seriously.)
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To: Pokey78
But both are agreed that America is a vast wasteland of unemployed, shivering, diseased losers.

Snicker.

22 posted on 02/21/2004 4:26:06 PM PST by John Jorsett
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To: GeronL
"Comparing Kerry to Mugabe, even in jest, is scary."

Yeah, but he also compared Dean to Saddam.

23 posted on 02/21/2004 4:28:26 PM PST by jocon307 (The dems don't get it, the American people do.)
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To: Pokey78
I love the Saddam and farmer Bob comparison. Just priceless. I consider Edwards a more dangerous snake than Kerry, Kerry may talk tough on trade but he is not Smoot-Hawley type of protectionist. Edwards on the other hand seems much closer to the Smoot-Hawley type of protectionism that brought brought us the great depression. If Edwards win in Nov 04, I am going to sell short the stock market, I bet we will see dow 5000 and Nasdaq 750 if Edwards' type of protectionism becomes the trade policy of this country. God help us then.
24 posted on 02/21/2004 4:29:41 PM PST by FRgal4u
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To: Pokey78
"Senator Kerry, Your doing so well in the polls, your well on your way to the nomination, Why the long face sir?"
25 posted on 02/21/2004 4:30:42 PM PST by Jimmyclyde (Dying ain't much of a living boy...)
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To: thoughtomator
John Kerry = this year's Bob Dole

I keep waiting for Kerry to start referring to himself in the third person.

26 posted on 02/21/2004 4:33:17 PM PST by TC Rider (The United States Constitution 1791. All Rights Reserved.)
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To: Paul Atreides

27 posted on 02/21/2004 4:34:03 PM PST by Amelia (I have trouble taking some people seriously.)
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To: Pokey78

28 posted on 02/21/2004 4:34:29 PM PST by handk (The moon belongs to America, and anxiously awaits our Astro-Men. Will you be among them?)
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To: Pokey78
"Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear."

The ambulance drivers in Raleigh, NC can attest to that.
29 posted on 02/21/2004 4:34:32 PM PST by Jim_Curtis (Free Milosevic)
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To: Pokey78
He is the guy the party's voters fell back on after concluding that Howard Dean, the surging Vermonter, was, in the pithy summation of the union boss Gerald McEntee, "nuts". And McEntee was a Dean supporter.

McEntee: Howard, I think you're nuts.

Dean: I think my nuts too.

30 posted on 02/21/2004 4:35:36 PM PST by Agnes Heep
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To: Pokey78
"A**holes in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear."

That is what I think about this race.

31 posted on 02/21/2004 4:36:06 PM PST by Rollee ((The iron bolts in his head fill the people full of dread.))
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To: jocon307
Yeah, but he also compared Dean to Saddam.

Well, now we know why Saddam was complaining to the Red Cross.

32 posted on 02/21/2004 4:36:16 PM PST by TC Rider (The United States Constitution 1791. All Rights Reserved.)
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To: Pokey78
Kerry is "Al Gore without the personal charm."

Well, I must confess that I have yet to see Kerry speak on the boob tube, and I'm not about to start. Is it possible that anybody could be less charming than Al the Tree Gore with his silly smirks?
33 posted on 02/21/2004 4:38:39 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: jocon307
Yeah, but he also compared Dean to Saddam

both nuts. both ruthless? lets not find out.

34 posted on 02/21/2004 4:39:19 PM PST by GeronL (http://www.ArmorforCongress.com......................Send a Freeper to Congress!)
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To: scholar; Bullish; linear; yoda swings
Ping
35 posted on 02/21/2004 4:40:30 PM PST by knighthawk (Live today, there is no time to lose, because when tomorrow comes it's all just yesterday's blues)
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To: Pokey78
hubby may start giving the come-hither look to some of the state's elderly bachelor billionaires.

Great article.

Better Kerry start fishing for rich old rump rangers than be President.

36 posted on 02/21/2004 4:40:30 PM PST by thesummerwind (Like painted kites, those days and nights, they went flyin' by)
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To: Pokey78
By contrast, John Edwards had a dirt-poor hard-scrabble childhood but managed to sue his way out of poverty.

LOL! Good statement!

37 posted on 02/21/2004 4:40:43 PM PST by mafree
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To: thoughtomator
John Kerry = this year's Bob Dole

I concur.

38 posted on 02/21/2004 4:40:50 PM PST by Cboldt
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To: Aeronaut
Gasping for air!

In that audio book, what Hillary really said was: "I can hardly breed".

39 posted on 02/21/2004 4:40:50 PM PST by GeronL (http://www.ArmorforCongress.com......................Send a Freeper to Congress!)
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To: Amelia
Please do not compare slimeball Edwards to the wonderful John Ritter.
40 posted on 02/21/2004 4:41:01 PM PST by Extremely Extreme Extremist (EEE)
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To: Pokey78
Thanks for the ping. I have tears in my eyes from laughing.
41 posted on 02/21/2004 4:41:23 PM PST by RightWingMama
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To: Pokey78
It's good to know the other 280 million Americans aren't entirely redundant

This line is almost Coulter worthy. Nice shot at the Breck Girl

42 posted on 02/21/2004 4:47:36 PM PST by lawnguy (Please, not John Kerry........signed: The oppressed people of the world.)
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To: thoughtomator
"John Kerry = this year's Bob Dole"

Don't insult Bob Dole.
43 posted on 02/21/2004 4:48:42 PM PST by punster
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To: Alamo-Girl; onyx; SpookBrat; Republican Wildcat; Howlin; dixiechick2000; SusanUSA; RonDog; ...
Good one from Steyn ...

Mark Steyn: So which would America
rather have: Pretty Boy or Long Face?

Excerpt:

Hmm. If this is the best material Senator Kerry's high-price consultants can provide, it is going to be a long, long while from here to November. It's unlikely that any but the most partisan Democrats can stomach nine months of a candidate who is Al Gore without the personal charm and affable public-speaking style. The Massachusetts Senator with the patrician manner and a face as long as his one-liners is the Default Democrat. He is the guy the party's voters fell back on after concluding that Howard Dean, the surging Vermonter, was, in the pithy summation of the union boss Gerald McEntee, "nuts". And McEntee was a Dean supporter.

So Democrats decided that Kerry was more "electable". Which he is, next to Dean - in the same way that, if Saddam Hussein and Robert Mugabe entered the Iowa caucuses, Farmer Bob would be Mister Electable. But, once Saddam had thrown in the towel, you'd start wondering whether Bob Mugabe was really the best you could do.


Please let me know if you want ON or OFF my General Interest ping list!. . .don't be shy.


44 posted on 02/21/2004 4:49:51 PM PST by MeekOneGOP (The Democrats believe in CHOICE. I have chosen to vote STRAIGHT TICKET GOP for years !!)
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To: Extremely Extreme Extremist
I think they look alike. I'm sorry if that offends you.
45 posted on 02/21/2004 4:51:34 PM PST by Amelia (I have trouble taking some people seriously.)
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To: Amelia

46 posted on 02/21/2004 4:53:30 PM PST by paul in cape
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To: Old Sarge; Pokey78
It doesn't matter, so long as it's ANYONE BUT BUSH!

Barney Frank was heard to say, ANYTHING BUT BUSH!

47 posted on 02/21/2004 4:53:58 PM PST by thesummerwind (Like painted kites, those days and nights, they went flyin' by)
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To: Pokey78
By contrast, John Edwards had a dirt-poor hard-scrabble childhood but managed to sue his way out of poverty.

LOL, I love this line.

Steyn bump
48 posted on 02/21/2004 4:55:18 PM PST by baseballmom
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To: TC Rider
Bob Dole has a sense of humor. The last Democrat to actually have a sense of humor was Mo Udall. I know that Clinton said some really funny things but he intended for us to take hin seriously. "I did not have sex with that woman!" "The meaning of is is . . . " "My administration will be the most ethical administration . . . . "
49 posted on 02/21/2004 4:56:46 PM PST by JimSEA
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To: Jimmyclyde
"Senator Kerry, Your doing so well in the polls, your well on your way to the nomination, Why the long face sir?"

My favorite:

Kerry walks into bar for a drink.
The horse bartender says, "Why the long face?"

50 posted on 02/21/2004 4:57:42 PM PST by gcruse (http://gcruse.typepad.com/)
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