Déjà Duke

By SCOTT LEHIGH  |  November 14, 2006

There the evidence is mixed. On the bus up to Manchester, a Dukakis campaign aide approached New York Times reporter Matt Wald to ask what the Times would do with the announcement story. Wald explained that the coverage would be limited, since as far as the Times was concerned, the announcement in and of itself was hardly news, given Dukakis’s March 16 speech. “But this is the official announcement,” she insisted.

Ultimately, the announcement may have helped Dukakis’s name recognition — both NBC and ABC gave him good play — but it did little to give his candidacy the definition it badly needs. Like a renewal of marriage vows, it was feel-good symbolism largely devoid of real significance; the words may have been repeated, but it’s difficult to see that anything new has really been added.

Ultimately, what was lost was a valuable chance to add dimension to the Dukakis candidacy. The speech tried to do that, of course, though only symbolically, by trying to conjure up images of JFK. Ted Kennedy was there on the platform, Dukakis noted that his announcement came “some 27 years after another son of Massachusetts began the long quest for the White House,” and part of the peroration had some of the flavor of Kennedy’s famous “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country,” And Dukakis did succeed in creating a sense of déjà vu. Unfortunately, that déjà vu harkened back not to John Kennedy’s historic announcement of 27 years past but only to Dukakis’s own long-shot declaration of a month and a half ago.

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  Topics: Flashbacks , Michael Dukakis, U.S. Government, U.S. State Government,  More more >
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