I say yes.
My own emotional scars from waking up that cold November day in 2004 and learning that Bush fucking won still haven’t faded away. I was shocked and hurt by the news. I thought it was pure disaster. But now I look back on that day and breathe a sigh of relief.
It would be naive to think that Kerry would not have inherited the economic mess. The wheels on that trainwreck-to-be were set in motion years before 2004 and odds are he wouldn’t have had the cojones or gravitas to stop the inevitable crash, even if he’d seen it coming. Maybe Kerry would have made some strides in ending the war, but any accomplishments in that arena would have been overshadowed by the credit collapse. So let’s assume he would have done what Bush did–because that’s what the Democrats ended up agreeing to–and took the bailout option.
A Democrat president spending $700 billion on saving the banking industry from itself? Such a move would have destroyed his chances at reelection along with that of his Senate comrades. We’d probably be looking at a Republic blowout right now. Kerry and the rest of the Dems would have been sent home with their tails between their legs, and September 2008 would forever go down in history as what happens when you let Commie Pinkos run the country.
And someone like Obama would never have gotten a chance to get elected.
As it happened, I think the only reason why Obama succeeded was because a lot of independent factors came together at just the right time that:
1) People were sick of 8 years of Bush and other Republicans. 2) He went against Hillary Clinton in the primary...and HC is an easy person *not* to like, rightly or wrongly...and as woman, she didn't have a clear advantage over him in the -ism department. 3) McCain picked the one person (Palin) who messed up his best face card: experience. 4) The economy went into cardiac arrest while Bush was holding the hot potato.
Take away any of these things and I don’t think Obama would have been able to get into the White House, in spite of his charisma and brilliance.
Now if Kerry had won in 2004, he’d more than likely be the Dem nominee and therefore Obama would have been irrelevant, but looking at the big picture, I shudder to think what would have happened to the party if 2004 had gone differently. Not only would the idea of a black president still remain the stuff of daydreams, but I think the Dem party would have been dealt a fatal blow. And if not a fatal one, a hit that takes decades to recover from. The emergence of an electable black president from a party that emasculated would be close to impossible under those conditions. All the Republicans would have to do is remind people what happened when those Commie Pinkos were in power to retain their power grip. Any future economic woes could and would always be blamed on Kerry and 'em.
So my thesis: Because a Kerry victory in 2004 would have ultimately killed the Democrats and allowed a complete Republican takeover, it is a wonderful thing that he lost. What could have potentially been gained by his presidency is greatly overshadowed by what would have almost certainly been lost.