A colleague got a note the other day from Kerry campaign intern Karim Logue, who reports: "I (and others) have become increasingly frustrated by the disconnect between the candidate and his campaign." Logue said he is a staunch fan of Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), but "I feel that we are not playing to win, but are rather playing not to lose, and fear that this risk-averse approach and the 'vetting' bureaucracy severely limit our effectiveness."

So he put his concerns in the form of a poem, a follow-on to "Casey at the Bat." "Perhaps you would be able to publish it before the Democratic National Convention. Perhaps it might serve to wake us up a little."

Well, Karim, we can't run the whole thing. For that, go to www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/looppoem.html. But here's a bit of it:

We don't recall what happened next. Truth told: We do not care

Whether Casey hit a homer or slugged right on through the air.

For these are simple details which quickly escape our senses,

But in our mind lives Casey and he's pointing to the fences. . . .

Yet while we grumble on about what Karl Rove has done

George Bush is busy claiming God, patriotism and the gun.

While we depend on polls to find out where the country's going

We, dizzy, follow the weather vane which the GOP is blowing. . . .

They say we're flip-floppers. We say that we have better hair.

Bush has a room divided. We have one that doesn't care.

For every Monday morning we come out with a new slogan

And end up looking like Pee Wee Herman to their Hulk Hogan. . . .

They say the road to hell is paved with bricks of good intention,

But frankly I'm more worried about our Democrats' Convention.

I fear that it will turn into a shiny happy hug-fest

While Republicans cork their bats and prepare for a slugfest.

Kid's got a real future as a poet. Maybe not much of one with the Kerry campaign.

Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Media?

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has been accused of dodging the media recently because his popularity has fallen off a tad. This is flatly untrue. Why, just Friday he gave an interview to Blanquita Cullum of conservative Radio America.

Rumsfeld was more than willing to be grilled by the talk show host, and the interview didn't turn out to be a contentious session. The end of the Pentagon-supplied transcript indicates why Cullum wasn't particularly rough on him.

Cullum: "Thank you, Mr. Secretary."

Rumsfeld: "Well, thank you, Blanquita. It's fun to talk to you, and I hope to do it again."

Cullum: "Well, you know I'm one of your big fans. I love you a lot."

Rumsfeld: "Oh, terrific. Come and see us when you're in Washington."

Cullum: "Well, I live here. In fact, I work for the president. I'm on the Broadcasting Board of Governors for you guys."

Rumsfeld: "Well, for Pete's sake, why doesn't [Pentagon spokesman] Larry DiRita get you over here someday?

Cullum: "I would love it because, you know, I'm out there on TV a lot, and I'm one of your biggest allies. I stick up for you all the time."

Rumsfeld: "Good for you. Thank you. I appreciate it."

Cullum: "Take care, Mr. Secretary, and bless you. Thank you very much."

Rumsfeld: "Thank you."

Note to Pentagon transcribers: Probably best to cut these things off after the first "thank you."

Peddle It Somewhere Else, Kid

Greg Baker, an Iowa teenager, has been raising money to attend the Republican National Convention next month in New York. He's been doing things such as selling cookies at the Madison County fair to gather the $1,800 he needs.

He's also sent a "To whom it may concern" fundraising letter. Some were less concerned than others, especially County Attorney Martin Ramsey.

"Good luck with your fundraiser," Ramsey, a Democrat, wrote in response, according to Des Moines TV station KCCI. "I think my money would be better spent purchasing tickets to Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11."

Asking for money from a Democrat to help "your president and his gang," Ramsey said, "is very similar to asking me for a book of matches because you are going to a cross-burning."

A bit rough? "I don't think it's harsh," Ramsey told KCCI. "I don't regret anything I said in it."

Probably felt better, too.

Can't Be Too Careful With Those Democracies

President Bush, chatting with reporters Monday about Iran's alleged aid to the 9/11 terrorists, said: "I have long expressed my concerns about Iran. After all, it's a totalitarian society where free people are not allowed to, you know, exercise the -- their rights as human beings."

Hmm . . . But here's Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage, telling a colleague of ours in February 2003: "The axis of evil was a valid comment, [but ] I would note there's one dramatic difference between Iran and the other two axes of evil, and that would be it's a democracy. [And] you approach a democracy differently."

So it's a totalitarian democracy?