OPINION

Why Kerry lost to Bush

I would like to respond to the recent letter of Mr Gerasimos Polakis (November 5), a Greek American living in California. I am an American married to an Athenian Greek, whose first child was born in Greece and who lived in Greece for nearly four years. I still visit Greece frequently. Mr Polakis was commenting on the US preidential election, and providing reasons why Mr Bush was re-elected. First, I was surprised that Mr Polakis was «certain that John Kerry would win.» If that’s true, he knew something no one else knew. The race was a nail-biter right down to Election Day, and no one was sure how people would vote, or what would be the effect of over 10 million newly registered voters (who could not be accessed by the various polling organizations). Nothing was certain. On the other hand, Bush did finish a hair ahead in virtually all the polls. So there was absolutely no certainty about Kerry. Second, the Northeast is «No Man’s Land» for presidential politicians. The last candidate from the Northeast to win was John Kennedy, 44 years ago, who barely defeated Richard Nixon. The plain fact is that politicians from the Northeast do not inspire the rest of the country. Finally, there was the comment: «If he were a senator from Texas, Alabama or Kentucky he might have won last night.» Sitting senators are simply not elected presidents in the United States. The last senator elected was, again, John Kennedy. Before him, in the entire 20th century, there was only one man elected president from the Senate. Elected presidents usually come from the ranks of state governors, most recently Carter, Reagan, Clinton and Bush II. Part of a senator’s job – to «bring home the bacon» to his state and to his constituents – requires him to make the kind of political deals that open him wide, in a national election, to the charge of «flip-flopping» that mortally wounded Kerry. Finally, Bush didn’t exactly win as much as Kerry lost. As brilliant and articulate as he is, Kerry lost because he could not communicate from the heart with the American people. People believed Bush whether they liked him or not. They didn’t believe Kerry.   GEORGE HOWARD, Princeton, New Jersey.