John Kerry back on the campaign trail

Sen. John Kerry emailed his campaign supporters yesterday imploring them to get to the polls… and cast their vote for Kevin Youkilis in MLB’s All Star Game Final Vote.  The senior Senator from Massachusetts used the occasion to take a swipe at the Yankees:

Youk deserves to be in the All-Star Game — while the team has grinded [sic] it out in spite of injury after injury, he’s been a rock. But now he needs to win a fan vote to make it to Anaheim next week.

“The stakes are also just a little personal: in the fan voting, currently Nick Swisher of the Yankees is in first place. Swisher’s having a fine year, but Youk is better in just about every category, batting average, slugging, home runs, everything, and he plays Gold Glove defense to boot. Please don’t let anyone say that Swisher beat Youkilis because Sox fans have gone a little soft after ’04 and ’07. Let’s show we’re still the most ravenous fans in baseball.

Give Kerry points for acknowledging Swisher’s year so far.  That’s the closest thing to real bipartisanship we’ve heard from Washington this year.  However, he may be a little insensitive – that “ravenous” fan base has caused problems in the past.

The fan voting has drawn some attention to MLB’s strides in advanced media (they wisely don’t call it “new media”).  Swisher has been active on Twitter for a while, and his 1.2 million followers offer a ready-made network for an online vote.  The voting by text message feature is available only to Sprint customers, making cell phone coverage maps an issue – which looks like a drawback for Texas’s Michael Young and Minnesota’s Delmon Young.

However, anyone handicapping the race must acknowledge that the excitable Red Sox Nation Kerry references is a study in how offline enthusiasm can turn into online action.  The tech-savvy city of Boston has done well in online All-Star balloting since Nomar Garciaparra edged out Derek Jeter in the fan vote to start the 1999 game.

But of course, like so many of the other pressing issues that face our nation, John Kerry is wrong (if only because Swish’s endorsement deals are more wholesome than Youk’s).   You can answer by casting your vote for Swisher – and like some Boston elections of yore, you can vote as many times as you like.

When Supreme Court nominations stop being polite and start getting real

The Elena Kagan pick has been a perfect, hand-in-glove fit with the criticisms that Washington DC has grown out-of-touch with the rest of the nation.  The prospect of an exclusively Ivy-educated Supreme Court has sparked questions about Eastern corridor elitism.

Of course, not helping was that Senator John Kerry picked a Politico Arena discussion board – ostensibly set up to discuss whether the nominee is too steeped in “Ivy League education and elite positions in government” – to sing Kagan’s praises from their time working together on high stakes tobacco legislation in 1998.

Kagan’s camp could not have asked for a worse messenger with a worse message:

“Massachusetts has been Elena Kagan’s adopted home, but it’s not for such home state boosterism, parochial reasons why I think she’s a terrific choice.

No, it’s because I got to know her well not in Boston, but here in the Senate.”

That’s John Kerry, who connected so poorly with voters in 2004, the poster child for liberal elitism.  And his comments have nothing much to do with the topic: he’s essentially adding his two cents to a discussion about Euros – and helped keep alive the notion that Kagan is an insider pick.