The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Sunday, April 04, 2004

Kerry's website minimalist for a reason, I guess...

Given that John Kerry is running for the most important office in the world - and raising carloads of dead presidents for the purpose - one might a priori think his online presence would be a bit more substantial.

What's it for? Enthusing the base? Converting the convertible?

One gets no immediate sense that it has a clue. For instance, it has a page on Kerry's foreign policy positions. It's a topic - what with the Iraq war and all - on which one would expect a wealth of detail.

Just now, what I'm seeing is a paragraph of platitudes quoted from the Man [1]. And the first item beneath is -
John Kerry's Statement on Venezuela


To be fair, there are three other items, all bearing on the question of US security. They're three speeches, the first of which (the one below the Venezuelan piece) was given on February 27.

Now, reading speeches off the page is an acquired taste. It's hard work to extract useful information from them. And, as a rule, making the customer do all the work is not terribly good salesmanship.

How many hits has the February 27 speech had, I wonder? And how many of those resulted in it actually being read. (Not mine!)

Ideally, what I'd be looking for is, at a minimum, something like Bush's National Security Strategy - a document meant to be read, more than a little platitudinous, but with undeniable substance.

Now, there is, I suspect, excellent sense in the lack of beef: minimising the target offered to the enemy. And offering the fewest possible hostages to fortune over the nearly seven months left till November 2. Thus, he wants his policy platform to be more Japanese house [2] than brick shithouse.

And, since media coverage is all about the horse race, and policy matters - well, mostly don't, there's not much potential reward to put in the scales against the marginal increased risk of snafu.

So Kerry's site is bound to be like the proverbial cowboy movie set: all fronts, and nothing much behind.

(Going across to the Democratic National Committee site, the most prominent item is headlined
Democrats Unite Behind John Kerry

And this is news? Smacks of relief that they didn't all either switch to Nader or slope off home.

Its news page is pretty thin - 20 items take us back to March 17!)

  1. Set in italics - which are not the easier read for passages over a few words in length.

  2. The ones in Tokyo by which Curtis LeMay warmed his hands on March 9 1945, for instance.


What I actually came to the Kerry site looking for was to see how, if at all, it rebutted the '350 tax increases' canard.

In fact, the homepage links a page with a copy/precis of the Factcheck piece I mentioned on March 30.

One gets the feeling that, if Factcheck hadn't done the work, there wouldn't be anything on the site to deal with the matter.


The AP piece (April 2) by Liz Sidoti on the latest ads says of Bush's effort:
The ad claims that Kerry on multiple occasions has opposed tax relief for married couples and the child tax credit, and supported higher taxes 350 times, a figure that includes procedural votes and votes Kerry cast to leave taxes unchanged when Republicans proposed cuts.

So we have a clear change: on March 29, Campaign Desk flagged an AP piece which failed to give the caveat that the April 2 piece gives.

Sign not only of a change: but of a revision of the Conventional Wisdom.

(One swallow and all that...)

  1. As it shall henceforth be known, rather in the style of the Hutton/Kelly/Gilligan 45 minute claim being shortened to the 45.

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