Looking into my crystal ball, I see . . .
1. A Kerry win.
2. A full-court conservative attack on Kerry that, “as Matthew Yglesias notes”:http://yglesias.typepad.com/matthew/2004/10/the_sea_was_ang.html, will backfire in the long run. The thing to watch out for especially is when bad news comes out of Iraq and they actually have the gall to blame Kerry for it — I’m clenching my teeth already just thinking about it. They will not let up. It will make what they did to Clinton look like a cakewalk.
3. Partly because of this, partly because of a hostile Congress, and partly due to his own limitations, Kerry will not win a second term. He will run against John McCain and lose.
Now, I’ll take Kerry followed by McCain over Bush followed by _whomever_ any day of the week. And my crystal ball has been configured with the assumption that Kerry will be a competent President, but not a great one. Just in case he has some of that “great” potential, though, here’s some advice for him:
Senator Kerry, take advantage of the turmoil in the Republican party that will bubble up after their election loss. There are plenty of conservatives who are beyond fed up with Bush and will have little appetite for attack-dog politics over the next four years. Reach out to them. Be a genuine uniter-not-a-divider when it comes to your Cabinet. Ask Colin Powell to continue to be Secretary of State. You’ll piss off some wingers on your side of the fence, but you will also isolate the wingers on the other side, and it will be easier for people to see their attacks against you for what they are: the frothing at the mouth of the lunatic fringe. If you can pull this off, even if you don’t win a second term, your friend John McCain will have the opportunity to lead a Republican party that’s not an embarrassment to the nation.