Emmett Tyrrell

The reason Kerry is faltering in the polls is that the Massachusetts Braggart is a colossal phony. He has always been a colossal phony, and that is one reason he has never made it out of Massachusetts. He is a second-tier candidate.

A graver worry for the Democrats than Kerry's fall in the polls is the fact that in 2004 -- as in 1992 -- every Democrat seeking the nomination was second-tier. In 1992, the first-tier candidates feared Bush I. By 2004, it appears the Democrats do not really have a front tier candidate.

John Fund, the insightful political observer from The Wall Street Journal, believes this is because the Democrats are dominated by narrow angry ideologues -- for instance, the feminists and the environmentalists. Another reason for the paucity of Democratic presidential talent is that serious presidential contenders come from the governor's mansions. For the first time in decades, the governor's mansions of the four largest states in the nation are inhabited by Republicans.

Thus, the amused political pundits of the nation can anticipate an agreeably comic campaign from the chap whom we now call the Democrats' "presumptive" presidential nominee. To those of you who hooted in joy when Sen. Jean Francois theatrically purchased that jock strap, may I say you ain't seen nothin' yet.

The only damper I can foresee on the proceedings might be the arrival of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on the ticket. She would not inspire laughter either as vice presidential nominee or at the top of the ticket. But then with her vast political background and national following, she more closely approximates a first-tier than a second-tier candidate. Is it possible that just as a Clinton put the hex on a Bush in 1992, a Clinton might put the hex on a Bush in 2004?

Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
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