is there a hidden message in here?

Quite a few of us have been writing to John Kerry these past two weeks, asking for him to stay engaged in the fight against Bush and the radical right, and not to just fade away into obscurity. (Even though he wasn’t the ideal candidate for a lot of us, as the man who took 49% of the popular vote, he’s in a unique position to demand press coverage, etc.) A few of us have even written to let him know how pissed we still are that, after all our efforts on his behalf, he conceded the fight before the votes were even done being counted. Well, after hiding out for the past few weeks, he’s just written to those of us who contributed to the campaign, telling us what he’s got in mind for the future. Here’s a clip:

Regardless of the outcome of this election, once all the votes are counted — and they will be counted — we will continue to challenge this administration. This is not a time for Democrats to retreat and accommodate extremists on critical principles — it is a time to stand firm.

I will fight for a national standard for federal elections that has both transparency and accountability in our voting system. It’s unacceptable in the United States that people still don’t have full confidence in the integrity of the voting process.

I ask you to join me in this cause.

And we must fight not only against George Bush’s extreme policies — we must also uphold our own values. This is why on the first day Congress is in session next year, I will introduce a bill to provide every child in America with health insurance. And, with your help, that legislation will be accompanied by the support of hundreds of thousands of Americans.

OK, first off, I’m struck by the fact that he starts out by saying, “Regardless of the outcome of the election.” It is possible that he’s still holding out some hope? Is he perhaps signaling that shoes might start dropping? I’d heard it suggested in the past that he may have offered his (legally nonbinding) concession early so that the difficult work of recounting could be done out of the spotlight, without casting him as a sore loser, as had happened to Gore in 2000. So, now, almost two and a half weeks after the election, he sends out this note suggesting that there is at least a possibility that he might still have a shot. I’ve heard friends say that this is just his way of appeasing those of his supporters who are still pissed about the early concession, but I’m wondering if there could be more to it than that.

That little nugget aside, I think it’s a pretty brilliant idea he’s got, taking the fight back to Bush on the first day that the Senate reconvenes with two proposals that it seems would have widespread support. Bush will, of course, fight to destroy both, but in the process he’ll prove himself to be neither 1) a man of compassion, or 2) a man who wants for the vote of every American to count equally. It’s great strategy. Of course, I would have liked to have seen this kind of thinking earlier, but the important thing is that he’s championing causes vital to the future of this country now. Perhaps it’s just a gambit to build his legislative portfolio (it really worked against him in this race that he hadn’t authored more legislation in his 20-year history in government) before the 2008 races, but the important thing is that he’s not just stepping back into the shadows.

Pleasse, if you have a moment, go over to his site and sign the petition in support of his bill that would guarantee healthcare for all Americans eighteen and under. I would love to be able to put a petition with a million signatures in his hands and then see what he can do with it.

*This post was brought to you by the cameramen of Falluja.

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