Kerry's statement was not planned. He did not expect to see me. His sister, Peggy Kerry, purposely invited me to that fundraiser so that I could hand the senator a copy of my book. (She too understands the urgency of getting the top Democrats to push the issue of electoral reform.)
So I spoke briefly with him just as he arrived, and handed him the book, saying, "You were robbed, Senator." He said, "I know!" with a clear gesture of extreme frustration, and then said that he can't get any of his colleagues on the Hill to face the issue. Said that he had lately had an argument about it with Chris Dodd, who didn't want to hear about it. Kerry tried to tell him about all the problems with the electronic touch-screen machines, but Dodd refused to listen, saying that he had looked into it, and that "there's nothing there." (In bringing the subject up with Dodd, Kerry was not influenced by the GAO report, which he didn't even know about until I mentioned it to him. Indeed, he seemed mightily impressed that the GAO had come out with a strong report.)
I urged him to spearhead a major senatorial investigation into what went down last year, in the spirit of his best work in that chamber, when he led inquiries into Iran/contra and BCCI. He said that, given his position, he doubts that he can be the one to go out front about the issue, because of the "sour grapes" factor. I appreciate his dilemma, but still think that he must embrace the issue of electoral reform, for the country's sake. (I also think that it would be the only way in which he might redeem himself for his deplorable concession just a year ago.)
Believe me, I understand, and share, your feelings of impatience at the senator's long silence (which, again, he certainly would not have broken if I hadn't happened to bump into him). But if he'll champion the issue of electoral reform, we stand to gain much more than we can get from merely cursing him for his timidity. I therefore would advise you all to shower him with strong encouragement ASAP.