Kerry’s Transformation

Jason Zengerle has a very interesting article on the resurrection of John Kerry throughout the 2008 campaign cycle, a sentiment that I think is only bolstered by watching his speech from last night in which he razed the right wing in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan.

One thing I don’t think people always understand about Kerry is that he was talked about as a likely presidential contender as far back as the early 1970s. Consequently, his entire political career in Massachusetts was understood as a precursor to a presidential run. This, in turn, led to a tendency among other Massachusetts Democrats to unfairly assume that each and every case of Kerry doing something they weren’t thrilled with reflected his opportunistic drive for the White House. For the past two years or so has been the first time in decades when it’s been clear that Kerry won’t ever be president, so his action can be — and be seen as — merely the actions of a United States Senator with a safe seat and a passionate concern for certain issues and causes. As with Al Gore’s somewhat similar liberation from Presidential ambitions, I think in part it’s about letting him find his own voice but also in large part about his voice finally being heard as his own rather than read through the lens of devious ambition.