Yesterday I saw a bumper sticker: "Dumb, Dumber, Dubya." It made me smile, then it made me scowl. This is the kind of sentiment that only plays into the hands of the president's reelection committee. I'm from the midwest, and calling the president stupid doesn't go over well there. The midwest, i.e., middle America, is tired of being talked down to by east and west coast "elites" (the conservative radio waves have made excellent use of this label, spinning straw men into gold votes). Middle America wants a guy in the White House with the common touch, someone not unlike themselves. Someone who ain't too big for his britches and talks down to them. That's why Kerry has no noticeable rise in the polls. Because, right or wrong, he is perceived as such.
The media has breathlessly announced that Kerry received no bounce from the Democratic National Convention. Kerry's performance at the convention was exemplary in my view, but he only achieved one half of his purpose: he energized the party faithful. The fact that he has no bounce reveals that he did not achieve the second prong of his purpose: reaching out to independents and undecideds.
The Democrats have an up hill battle with this election. Kerry is part of the liberal elite, a prince of the senate, and wealthy. He's not afraid to take a risk though--I remember when he mortgaged his Boston townhouse to pay for his primary campaign. And that makes me wonder, do politicians, like movie producers, have a code that states only fools put their own money into their projects? But Kerry proved himself to be no Bill Clinton, common as dirt, part lothario, part evangelist. Someone everyone could see a little part of themselves in, who might loaf around on Sunday morning in his undershorts, just like them.