Man Without Qualities

Friday, April 23, 2004

Pathetic ... And Bound To Lose XXX: Larry Sabato Is Off His Rocker

The refusal of Teresa Heinz Kerry to release her tax returns has already been condemned by a New York Times editorial and similar editorials in several other liberal media. The Times editorial correctly points out that The Mondale-Ferraro ticket was bogged down for a month of controversy before Ms. Ferraro finally prodded her husband, John Zaccaro, to release his tax records. If it continues, this obtuse refusal of this wife worth over $500 Million who has played a key role in the financial support of her husband and his political ambitions will create a disaster for Senator Kerry that will dwarf the Zaccaro mess.

In a word, the refusal is STUPID. Moreover, it cannot be maintained. Eventually, Teresa Heinz Kerry will have to release her returns because if she does not there will come a time when absolutely everything else in the campaign will be overshadowed by one big question: WHAT IS SHE HIDING? While that is going on, John Kerry will be able to communicate exactly nothing. So she will cave. The only question is how much damage she will have done to John Kerry before she caves (the damage has already been substantial - but it will grow exponentially). Her decision to delay filing her 2003 returns until August will ensure further damage - since whatever can be criticized in the returns will be less "old news" on election day than would otherwise have been the case.

Yet, despite the already loud and growing harping on the left for the release of those tax returns, and despite the obvious disaster Teresa Heinz Kerry is crafting for her husband if she does not relent, the Boston Globe reports:

One political analyst, Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia, dismissed the matter as a silly distraction from key issues like national and economic security. "Her tax returns are of interest to a very limited group of people -- almost entirely people backing Bush already," Sabato said. "Whether Teresa Heinz Kerry owns three-quarters of Japan, it just doesn't matter in this election."

At one time Larry Sabato may have been a first-rate political analyst. But not now. The Man Without Qualities has already pointed out other signs that Larry Sabato has gone seriously off course.

His comments on Teresa Heinz Kerry demonstrate his disintegration beyond all reasonable doubt. For example, suppose Teresa Heinz Kerry's tax returns report that she has gifted money to her husband that he has used to support his political campaigns? What if he has claimed those gifts were loans? Suppose she (or trusts or foundations under her control) have supported, say, some nasty religious cult, PETA or some organization linked directly or indirectly to ELF? What if Teresa Heinz Kerry reports income from a company that has been documented to abuse its workers in, say, Costa Rica or Vietnam? Is Senator Kerry going to "explain" that he doesn't own any companies that abuse workers, only his family owns such companies? I do not mean to suggest that I think that Teresa Heinz Kerry's tax returns will show any of the foregoing. How could I? - Teresa Heinz Kerry insists on her "zone of privacy" and won't supply the information.

For the exact same reason I can't say that Teresa Heinz Kerry's tax returns will contain information damaging to her husband, Larry Sabato is completely off his rocker to suggest without any information whatsoever that nothing in the Teresa Heinz Kerry tax returns could be material in - even dispositive of - this presidential campaign.

POSTSCRIPT: I notice that more people are reaching for the word "pathetic" to describe John Kerry. It's the natural, almost unavoidable, adjective for the man. More people in the media should relax, recognize the word's applicability and appropriateness, and just use it. The alternative is looking like an apologist for someone who is, well, pathetic.

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