When I ran for a seat in the U.S. Congress a few decades ago, I was an unknown Democrat trying to unseat a Republican. During the campaign I was asked how, as a clergyman, I could serve in Congress, where so many compromises would have to be made. I replied by saying something about how we don’t live in a perfect world and about ambiguity in politics. It was not a response on which to build a successful campaign. (I lost 73 percent to 27 percent.)
With each passing presidential election it becomes more difficult for a candidate to speak of ambiguity or nuance. An experienced U.S. senator would seem a logical choice to move into the White House. Instead, elections indicate that the nation consistently rejects senators who run for president. John Kerry is only the latest to confront that fact.