John Kerry, left, likened to TV’s Lurch

While talk-show hosts across America have for some time likened presidential candidate John Kerry to television’s comedic monsters Herman Munster of “The Munsters” and Lurch from the “Addams Family,” the comparison is now being drawn by Howell Raines, the former editor of the New York Times.

In a commentary published in today’s Guardian newspaper in Britain, Raines writes:

“The TV camera is an X-ray for picking up attitudinal truths, and Kerry’s lantern jaw and ‘Addams Family’ face somehow reinforce the message that this guy has passed from ponderous to pompous and is so accustomed to privilege that he doesn’t have to worry about looking goofy. It’s as if Lurch had gone to Choate.”

While Raines says he believes Kerry can win the presidency in November, he feels less sure of that now than he did in the primaries, with new doubts creeping in about the Democrat’s ability to connect with voters.

“I personally find him easier to talk to than Al Gore,” writes Raines, “but there’s no denying that he’s ponderous. And he’s pompous in a way that Gore is not. With Gore, you feel that if he could choose, he would have been born poor and cool. Kerry radiates the feeling that he is entitled to his sense of entitlement. Probably that comes from spending too much time with Teddy Kennedy, but it’s a problem.”

Raines concludes by comparing President Bush to a well-known Disney character as he strategizes the need for Kerry to proffer a clear message voters can understand.

“Surely someone in Kerry’s campaign can figure out a way for him to say, ‘Here’s my plan for getting us out of Iraq and defeating terrorism,’ and ‘Here’s my plan for making sure you’re not sick and poor in your old age.’ And then make him say it over and over again, no matter what question is asked of him. Kerry has to face the fact that even though the incumbent looks like Goofy when he smirks, he’s going to win unless Kerry comes up with something to say. To stay ‘on message,’ you have to have one.”

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