Why Kerry is doing poorly

I got into a stimulating email exchange with some friends and e-acquaintances who live on the Left Coast the other day. We made lots of insightful observations. l take the liberty of paraphrasing myself:

Speaking of the grand right-wing propaganda apparatus and its roots back in the Goldwater days, an excellent article about it appeared in the September 2004 Harper’s (don’t have it handy for reference, sorry). It’s by Lewis Lapham, and we know his biases; but he states that this essay was inspired by a matter-of-fact and (jaw-dropping) presentation he saw given by some dude who was anything but a lefty, some kind of finance industry guy. It is an extraordinary and important article.
I haven’t read Thomas Frank’s book The Trouble with Kansas but I read his Harper’s article based on the book, and heard some radio interview snippets. His ideas have been the topic du jour in left/liberal scholar/activist circles, it seems. A very important read. The main criticism it seems is that he condescends to them Kansas rabble — too dumb to know their own interests. He says it ain’t so. Well, bullshit. You gotta be at least a bit of a dumbass to think Bush is a good christian man who’s gonna care about working class you.
The big question is: why, why, why is Kerry at best even with W. in the polls, given how thoroughly the lies arrogance incompetence etc of W.’s admin have been documented and exposed? IMHO the answer, judging from all the lefty magazine articles I’ve had time to read (combined with maybe just a pinch of independent thought on my part) is something like this:
(0) The question itself suggests the answer: because it doesn’t matter how unbelievably horrible Bush is, because:
(1) See Thomas Frank.
(2) See Lewis Lapham.
(3) Kerry totally blows. Who’s genuinely excited about Kerry? Nobody, and rightly so.
(4) When you effectively exploit the mob’s anger and fear (see 1 and 2 above), mobs turn to the right whether it’s in their real interest or not. See 1920’s Germany (and some piece in a recent Nation that reminded us of this). And these guys have done a masterful job of exploiting the fear. (See Michael Moore, or check the current Terror Level)
(5) The polls are rigged (see Gore Vidal). When they ask a question like “who do you think would be more effective in prosecuting the War on Terror, Kerry or Bush?”, what the FUCK is that supposed to mean? It means you’re supposed to accept the premise that the War on Terror is not a fraud but a Good Thing. Poll questions like that are part of the problem, or maybe a symptom of it.
I am pessimistic about Kerry’s chances. Somebody please persuade me otherwise. Maybe that absurd spectacle they call a presidential debate will less vacuous than usual, and Kerry will slap that bitch’s head around in front of millions. We’re told he’s been “ramping it up” and “picking up the pace.” One can always hope….