Hey kids, there's a fabulous new craze sweeping the nation! Do you hate President George W. Bush? Well you should! Everyone does! It's the greatest thing since the hula hoop, the wildest sensation since American Idol! Have you see the number one movie in the country this summer? Have you listened to the top radio personality? They all agree - GWB has got to go. So get out and do your part!
In my lifetime, there has never been as wide and deep a popular electoral challenge based on the vast perception of incompetence on the part of the incumbent as there is now. Sure, Carter slammed Ford but that was Watergate, and Reagan walloped a weakened Carter but it was based on his own sunny disposition, and Clinton erased Bush I, but that was the economy stupid.
And the thing is, John Kerry is really responsible for none of that perception (or very little). The daily news by the formerly worshipful news media is grim. Michael Moore just made the most popular documentary/propaganda piece in film history. And Howard Stern may well hand both Florida and Pennsylvania to the challenger with a constant barrage of attacks in two of his largest markets as payback for the FCC's campaign against him. Add in the indredible fundraising of the anti-Bush 527 committees, coupled with the explosion of Dean-style Internet fundraising, has erased Bush's dollar and air-time advantage.
So Kerry has the table well-set by his allies, and by those who just can't stand Bush. He is wisely taking a low-key approach. And give him credit - there are no big mistakes thus far, no gotcha moments, no horrible missteps. That counts. If he chooses a good running mate, offers a sane non-Bush alternative overseas and the basic Clintonist economic plan in the U.S., there's no reason John Kerry can't win in a landslide this November.