July 29, 2003

JOHN KERRY MAY HAVE SERVED IN VIETNAM, but he’s afraid of a blogger:

WHAT’S ALL the fuss about the blond guy? I ask Kerry’s Iowa press secretary, Laura Capps. “He takes pictures of himself with the candidates and posts nasty comments about them,” she says. I’m not sure, but this may be a historic moment for the Iowa caucuses: The Kerry campaign is terrified of how their candidate will be portrayed by a blogger.

Later, I sidle up next to the man to ask about his Web site, which turns out to be ninedwarfs.com. (Next to a man who’s probably 6 feet 5 inches tall, the nine Democratic contenders look dwarfish.) So far, he’s snapped pictures of himself with six candidates. This is easy to do in Iowa, where campaign events usually end with a ritual that resembles Picture Day at a Major League Baseball game, as voters line up to take snapshots of themselves and their children with the candidate du jour. The ninedwarfs.com blogger needs shots of Kerry, Carol Moseley Braun, and Bob Graham to complete his collection, but he fails in his mission at the Kerry barbecue. Instead, the next day he adds a picture of Kerry’s head on the body of a chicken to the top of his site.

Trifle with the blogosphere at your peril, Senator Kerry. (Here’s a link to the page, including the chicken photo and a blogged account of the event.) I’ll bet Howard Dean wouldn’t be afraid of a blogger. But then, Howard Dean is a blogger, of sorts.

UPDATE: Josh Fielek thinks that this picture of Kerry on a Harley will do him more harm than the one with the chicken. (“John, you may just have had your Dukakis moment. It’s the hair and the high-waters and the black socks. I do appreciate that you at least made the effort to get on the bike, but please, please, please put on some appropriate riding gear.”)

I think that when people are debating questions like that one, you need to work on buffing up the campaign.