Kerry & Kos:

Final thoughts on Kerry & Kos: I wonder if this gives us a preview of the Kerry '08 campaign strategy? Most would agree that Senator Kerry has one fundamental question to ask himself: "How do I beat Hillary Clinton?" One strategy would be to try to do to the front-runner (Clinton) what Howard Dean almost did to him when he was the front-runner. Call it "Howard Dean without the scream." How does blogging for Kos potentially fit into this strategy?

(1) Portrays Kerry as the outsider/anti-establishment candidate: Obstacle number 1 is the likelihood that the Democratic Party and MSM will annoint Clinton the front-runner early on. One way to contest this is to say he is the anti-establishment candidate and that he doesn't care what the establishment thinks of his chances. Obviously there is some difficulty to this--he seems about as anti-establishment as Bob Dole was in 1996 (and the Switzerland gaffe doesn't help much). Nonetheless, communing with the blogs helps him to cultivate an anti-establishment persona that distinguishes him from the front-runner.

(2) Portrays Kerry as the "fighting principled liberal": From this perspective it makes little difference whether the filibuster succeeds, what matters is his willingness to fight for it. In a year or two he can say that he fought for what was "right" even though it didn't succeed--i.e., he has the courage to be "right" rather than expedient. I suspect that we will be hearing about his leadership on the Alito filibuster effort down the road. Senator Clinton, of course, has been moving toward the center on a variety of issues in anticipation of positioning herself for the general election. This potentially opens up a space for a credible "principled liberal" on her left flank.

(3) Coopt the Kos: As the blogosphere grows, its influence undoubtedly will grow. With that, one can expect an increasing effort by politicians to coopt the blogosphere and even to gain endorsements from blogs. I have noticed, for instance, that a number of conservative blogs have been endorsing one candidate or another in the House Majority Leader's race. I don't recall blogs making these sorts of formal endorsements to the same degree in the past (maybe I just didn't notice). This positions Kerry for a possible Kos endorsement (and maybe other blogs) down the road, with all the PR and Internet fundraising advantages that may give him. At the very least, it makes it less likely that Kos will actively campaign against Kerry.

Obviously this is just speculation on my part, but I think this is really a pretty interesting and entrepreneurial move by Senator Kerry in light of his specific mission of trying to knock off Hillary Clinton. Moreover, it is not obvious to me what other strategy is available to any Democratic candidate seeking to challenge Senator Clinton. It will be interesting to see if this is a harbinger of things to come.


I see from the trackbacks to my earlier post this morning that Senator Clinton has announced that she too will be joining the filibuster and that Senator Kennedy is now blogging for Kos as well.


A Commenter points out that Senator Kennedy has posted a few times on Daily Kos in the past prior to the filibuster post.