As far as I can tell, nobody cares any longer about the presidential election of 2004 – not even me, as it turns out.
George W. Bush, who was re-elected that year, is painting while keeping an eye on history’s reception of his presidency. John F. Kerry, who lost to Bush by a whisker and honorably declined to contest the result, is working at Cabinet level on climate change, a problem more important than ever. William F. Weld, who once had a chance of becoming a Republican presidential candidate himself, having moved from Cambridge to the Great Blue Hill, is still practicing law and politics – he ran for vice president 2016 as a Libertarian Party candidate and as a Republican, for president, in Iowa, in 2020.
Me? I was briefly caught in the middle between Kerry and Weld at the end of their 1996 Senate campaign. After one final week of thinking over events since, I’ve discovered that I don’t care much about 2004 election either, not compared to the work at hand, covering today’s economics profession. So I am putting away what I learned back in the day, once and for all.
I’ll add only this: for all its disparate and discordant voices, the anti-war movement was right. It took three presidents eight years to end the American war in Vietnam. Hard as it is to leave Afghanistan after twenty years, Joe Biden is right. Turning back the clock to 2001, before the US invasion began, is not an option.