In the summer of 2000, just as Al Gore was readying his vice-presidential choice, I wrote an article in Salon saying that John Kerry was Gore's obvious choice. On the same day I published an article about European attitudes toward the death penalty in The New Republic. I didn't know Mickey Kaus at the time. And after reading my piece in TNR he wrote a glowing post about me in Kausfiles telling everyone with eyes to read that I was some sort of rising star.
Then a couple days later he noticed that rousing endorsement of John Kerry in Salon, and promptly recanted the whole encomium, concluding that I must really be some sort of hack. To get a clearer take on Kerry, he pointed readers to this article which came out about a week later in TNR by Ryan Lizza, which took what one can only call a decidedly more sour view of the Massachusetts Senator.
Up until that time I'd never written anything that got more positive or more negative feedback. I wouldn't trouble you with this mess of journalistic insiderdom if it weren't to make a point: this reaction was pretty characteristic of the whole Washington press corps. The negative feedback came overwhelmingly from inside the DC metropolitan area.
As you know, Kerry today made a de facto announcement of his candidacy. For a variety of reasons I think Kerry is one of the very few serious presidential candidates for 2004. And we'll be talking a lot more about his candidacy. But for now let's start with just one point: The Washington press corps doesn't much like John Kerry. And, as we learned with Al Gore, that's important.