Columns » Kenneth Cleaver

Kenneth Cleaver

Consumer Correspondent

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Kenneth H. Cleaver

P.O. Box 1034

Colorado Springs, CO 80901

July 29, 2004

John Kerry for President, Inc.

Attn: Media Relations

901 15th Street, NW, Suite 700

Washington, D.C. 20005

To Whom It May Concern:

Since you accept unsolicited contributions, perhaps you'll consider some unsolicited strategy advice.

As we are both too aware, pundits and reporters typically describe Sen. Kerry as a: Boston Brahmin, New England patrician or Washington insider. However, charges about the president's privileged background are ignored. Other adjectives of mass destruction include out of touch, steely, distant and wooden.

At a certain point in a campaign, such descriptions crystallize into their own sort of putative truth. Relatively recent examples include Howard Dean's so-called anger problem or Al Gore's purported claim to have invented the Internet. One charge was subjective, the other patently untrue. Both helped obscure the candidate's positions on actual issues.

In the interest of combating smears and clichs, wrap your noggin around this scenario: Every time a George Will or a Cokie Roberts or a Tim Russert uses one of the aforementioned phrases, donors will pledge a predetermined amount to the Kerry campaign. You could call it a clich tax or smear insurance -- or just a fabulous idea by a political nobody.

In the interest of putting my money where my mouth is I wish to pledge 25 cents for every time one of these pundit millionaires slips into mindless verbiage.

Start tallying.

Sincerely,

Kenneth H. Cleaver read the response

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