Thank God. And I say that as someone who voted for the doofus in 2004. In my defense, I would have voted for a trained pig if the alternative was another four years of Bush. My vote was a vote against Bush rather than a vote for Kerry.

Anyway, this isn’t a big surprise; nobody wants Kerry to run, and any polling he did would have confirmed that. The real story would have been if Kerry was stubborn and tin-eared enough to run anyway.

One question remains: What will Kerry do with the $13 million in his campaign war chest? That’s enough money to make a difference in either the primary or general elections. The question is, would anyone want the money bad enough to accept the “supported by John Kerry” tag that goes with it?

Assuming he gives it to anybody — as opposed to, say, using it for his own Senate re-election campaign or donating it somewhere — I see two intriguing possibilities. He could give it John Edwards, framing it as a donation to his former running mate, which would take away some of the “Kerry supports me” stain. Or he could give it to Dennis Kucinich, who doesn’t stand a chance of winning the nomination but could do some interesting things with $13 million in his pocket.

He can’t actually give much of the money directly, due to campaign finance limits. But he could use it for “independent expenditures”, or just donate it to the DNC or one of the Congressional campaign funds.

Going a little further afield, consider what might have been had Kerry won in 2004.

We might have begun an earlier withdrawal from Iraq (although there’s a chance Kerry would have tried to show he could fight the war better than Bush). But outside of that, assume he was as terrible a president as his critics feared. His power would have been hobbled by the Republican majority in Congress, so there would be a limit to how much damage he could do. Further, Congressional Republicans would have had a good foil to work against, and not been borne down by the lead weight of Iraq. So conceivably a Kerry presidency might have left the GOP in charge of Congress after the 2006 elections, and positioned them well to recapture the White House in 2008, since Kerry would presumably run again.

“Be careful what you wish for” seems appropriate here.

Politics Kerry bows out