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There is palpable fear among Democrats as they contemplate their presumptive nominee, John Kerry, the candidate who couldn’t keep his lies straight.

Kerry followed a week made disastrous by his military records fiasco with a Monday morning performance with Charlie Gibson of ABC’s Good Morning America that will live in TV history alongside the 1980 Roger Mudd-Teddy Kennedy exchange through which it dawned on America that a senator in search of a verb wasn’t really equipped to be a president.

Gibson’s refusal to be deflected by Kerry’s rambling incoherence led to a post-interview denunciation of ABC by Kerry. “They are doing the work of the Republican National Committee,” Kerry muttered. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Jennings et al., are working for the GOP which is working for Fox News’ Roger Ailes who is, of course, working for Halliburton. Hillary’s vast, right-wing conspiracy just got vaster. Like the Borg, the VRWC has absorbed Disney-owned ABC. Who knew?

There are powers in the Democratic Party, and they cannot be pleased. Tom Daschle, for one, has got to be thinking through the impact of a presidential contest that is over once the polls close at 6 in the East. That sort of wave in 1980 took out George McGovern and a lot of famous liberals just like Daschle.

Streisand’s got to be worried as well. She knows what happens when the movie tanks in the first 10 minutes. People return her phone calls, even though she doesn’t make any sense at all. Rob Reiner knows a thing or two about stiffs as well. Remember 1994′s “North”? Neither does anyone else. Reiner knows that hopes and dreams do not a success make.

And the Clintons-in-Exile, they must hear the music. Forget their ethics and policies, they have a well-deserved reputation for perfect pitch when it comes to politics. Imagine Bill and Hill watching Kerry strangle himself. How they must laugh … then cry. Hillary gets the nod in 2008, but what will be left after the wipeout?

Another movie analogy: Jim Carrey in the bathroom scene from “Liar, Liar” when he tries to injure himself. That’s John Kerry over the past six weeks, throwing himself against walls in front of the national TV audience with the effect of inflicting maximum damage on himself.

It has worked.

Too well, I am afraid. Dems know he’s a loser. But can anything be done?

Who knows? Don’t bother looking up the rules governing nominations. There were rules in Florida, and the Florida Supreme Court tore those up when Gore needed help. There were rules in New Jersey, but when Torricelli flamed, the New Jersey Supreme Court tossed those aside. There were rules in California, and three judges ordered a halt to the recall that only went forward because the luck of an en banc draw brought sanity to the review panel.

No, the rules won’t stop Kerry’s recall. Only Teddy can, and the weight of the senior senator from Massachusetts shouldn’t be underestimated. The Kerry campaign is his last hurrah, and the convention’s in Boston, for goodness sake. What kind of a reception would follow a party that tossed Kerry onto the tracks?

Does Daschle care? Does Patty Murray? Barbara Boxer? Any of a half-dozen endangered Dem incumbents in the Senate and a score in the House? So the receiving committee is a littlie frosty and Teddy dumps them from the Christmas card list – they’ll still have jobs.

And Dean – what’s he thinking when he can get the voices to quiet down? He was robbed, you know … by the same people now conspiring against Kerry. Dean doesn’t forget, and there’s not enough Ambien in America to get him a night’s sleep. What if, with another yell, he decides to demand an open convention. “Let the delegates vote!” isn’t a bad slogan. Bring back all the orange hats and the blog and all that. Quite a party could be had by all.

Bill Clinton just announced the publication date of his new memoir: Late June. How unfortunate for Kerry – Bill has to do a book tour for the month running up to the convention, sucking the air right out of an already spent balloon. Sorry, couldn’t be avoided. Publisher deadlines and all.

So as Kerry melts away, there – on every television screen in the land – will be Saturday Night Bill, playing his sax, blowing his own horn, saying stuff. All sorts of stuff. Looking incredibly large, opposite the incredibly small Kerry.

Tick, tick, tick. The Torricelli Option. Coming to theaters near you this summer.

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