Jan. 29, 5:45 p.m.: Kerry rides high

Democratic primary race is taking shape.

By: Hank Kalet
   The contours of this year’s race seeming to be taking shape. With John Kerry winning the New Hampshire primary Tuesday in rather convincing fashion, it appears that he will be the man Democrats are counting on to unseat President George W. Bush.
   There is a lot to like about the junior Senator from Massachusetts. He is a decorated Vietnam veteran with a moderate to liberal voting record and has taken on several high-profile investigations of banking and international affairs.
   And there is a lot not to like for leftists like me. He has been far too committed to the current shape of the our international trade agreements. And he voted for the Iraq war, even though he says he was opposed to it.
   More troubling is that he seems to be far too similar to candidate Al Gore in 2000 in terms of his presentation. He seems a bit uncomfortable up there, a slight bit patrician, and could be the kind of candidate the Bush folks would most like to run against.
   That said, each of the Democrats is flawed and Sen. Kerry is one of the better ones on balance. And his win in New Hampshire could mean his party is ready to coalesce behind him and use whatever resources it has to take down the president.
   If you’re into the horse race aspect of the election season, check out Terry Neal’s Primary Dispatches in the Washington Post.