Why The Long Face?

I’ve said before that John Kerry is toast.

Well, he’s even toastier than he was before.

It’s clear that Kerry’s recent staff shakeup and his inability to shake the Swift Boat Vet allegations have severely hurt him.

And I know exactly what John Kerry is going to try to do.

Kerry is preparing to go absolutely full-throttle negative. He’s going to bring up Bush’s service record. He’s going to try every smear in the book to attack George W. Bush. The addition of Joe Lockhart to the team is a sign of desperation – and when Democrats get desperate, they go on the attack. It’s going to get ugly.

In the end, if this is truly the Kerry strategy, and based on the scuttlebutt floating up from the Kerry campaign it very likely is, Kerry is not only going to shoot himself in the foot, he’s got a massive howitzer pointed there.

Kerry’s problems go beyond the Swift Boats. He made his campaign about his service record and not being Bush. Other than that, there’s nothing else to it. He’s a profoundly unlikable candidate and he’s managing to actively turn off swing voters that may have disagreements with Bush but like him personally. His campaign was based on the erroneous assumption that everyone hates Bush as much as he does.

The fact is that Bush is doing exactly what Kerry did not at his convention – reaching out to swing voters. McCain, Rudy, Arnold, the last two nights have been targeted not at the GOP base, but at those voters who consider themselves sympathetic to the GOP but not hardliners. Bush is reaching exactly the sort of people he has to reach, and I’m making the prediction that he’s going to get a nice bounce out of New York.

Kerry didn’t do that. He didn’t expand his appeal. He didn’t elucidate his strategy. He didn’t provide a reason for voting for him other than he was in Vietnam and he’s not Bush. That ain’t gonna cut it with the American people.

Tomorrow night Bush has two things he has to do. He has to show that he’s a leader to reassure voters on him personally and he has to show a vision for the next four years. Granted, that’s not an easy task, but I think Bush can do it.

If he can do this, John Kerry is going to follow in the footsteps his his former boss, another liberal Massachusetts politician that was steamrolled by a member of the Bush family.

UPDATE: CNN has more. Kerry is also violating an unwritten rule of campaign etiquette by campaigning during the GOP convention. Another sign of desperation on the part of his campaign to be sure.

16 thoughts on “Why The Long Face?

  1. Dubya timed the boneheaded argument with himself over whether the war on terrorism is winnable or not very well. If he had said it last week, the story would have really hurt him, particularly since Bush’s perceived “strength and resolve to destroy the bad guys” is the only remaining string that keeps his puppet from falling to the stage floor. But with the RNC going on, few are paying attention and nobody in the press is likely to comment on it after the convention speech. Still, it gives Kerry an opening to stage an October ad barrage about “the real flip-flopper in this campaign”.

    I don’t think even American voters are stupid enough to believe that John McCain and Rudy Guiliani are representative of the lunatic-right delegates on the Madison Square Garden floor, feigning muffled applause with one hand holding their nose during their speeches. But then, I wouldn’t have thought the American voters were stupid enough to buy into charges of Texas Republican Party hacks who claim to have personally witnessed John Kerry’s lack of heroism from their Swift Boat outposts a few miles away from Kerry’s.

    Between the easy-to-manipulate “swing voters” and the stunning stupidity of the Kerry campaign in waving a white flag and surrendering every pink state where polls have showed he and Bush tied for months, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous at this stage of the campaign.

  2. Yup, the Democrats are toast.

    Harping on one statement that was clearly taken out of context, still trying to distort the records of the Swifties, and trying to paint someone who has a 94% approval rating among delegates as being out of the mainstream of the party.

    You’re definitely right on one thing though, the Democrats should be nervous.

  3. Enough with this 94% approval rating red herring. It boils down to one question: could Rudy Guiliani ever be nominated by the Republican Party faithful?

    And since when does the party who smeared Kerry’s explaination for voting against the $87 billion to Iraq by profiling an out-of-context remark have any moral high ground in declaring the same thing being done to Bush as out of bounds? Had this not happened on convention week, Bush would have really hurt himself with this remark. I still think Kerry can get leverage from it if he sits on it for awhile. The remark speaks volumes about how Bush’s real goal is to use the War on Terrorism as a political weapon, ensuring a never-ending helping of red meat for his Pentagon constituency and doling out the same “we must stay the course–vote Republican to stop the terrorists” rhetoric to voters for every election cycle in the foreseeable future.

  4. Kerry wasn’t being quoted out of context. Furthermore, there’s the tape of Kerry saying on Meet The Press that even if the the $87B came up without the tax amendement it would be “irresponsible” to vote against it.

    If that weren’t enough, there are plenty more like that right where it comes from.

    If this is the kind of thing we can expect from the Kerry campaign in the next few months, they are sunk.

  5. At this point, I’m far less afraid of what Bush can do to Kerry than what Kerry’s own people can to do him. I can’t get over the fact that they’re surrendering nearly every pink state except Florida and Ohio, and renewing Gore’s foolish campaign strategy of trying to win just enough states to get to 270 electoral votes and not one more.

    I’m becoming convinced that we should be prepared for some ugly rioting whoever wins this election, far worse than what we saw in 2000 and perhaps comparable to what seen after the Rodney King verdict in LA in 1992. The conventional wisdom says that the “professional protestors” like many of those in New York right now will be the only ones protesting the election outcome. However, many of us remember when polo-shirted GOP thugs violently obstructed a legally-mandatory recount of votes in south Florida in 2000, and are acutely aware that the same crowd is likely to pull themselves away from the country club long enough to stage another such uprising this year even if there isn’t a recount. Furthermore, the public bulldozing of Dixie Chicks CDs last year indicated the redneck right is fully capable of responding fiercely to things not going their way.

    The Bush administration has made public its plans to delay the election in the event of a Bush poll deficit, er terrorist attack. I hope they’re giving at least as much thought to how they’ll deal with the bitter fallout of this election outcome. With the ferocious polarization of this country, I just can’t see whichever constituency ends up drawing the short straw as being gracious losers.

  6. Harping on one statement that was clearly taken out of context

    In what context does “I don’t think we can win the war on terror” mean “I think we can win the war on terror”?

    Nice try, but the context of Bush’s statement was pretty clear – he doesn’t believe that the war on terror can be won.

  7. Please keep this up. If we get more comments about “polo shirted thugs” and the “rednecks right” from the left, Kerry will go down harder than Mondale.

    And you people wonder why you’re losing?

  8. Oh, yes bulldozing CDs (with rented bulldozers and CDs that were paid for) and looting and pillaging they are the same.

    For how violent the hawkish right is the left seems to be the crazy ones with 1000 people in Jail over there in New York.

  9. from the transcript…

    Lauer: “You said to me a second ago, one of the things you’ll lay out in your vision for the next four years is how to go about winning the war on terror. That phrase strikes me a little bit. Do you really think we can win this war on terror in the next four years?”

    President Bush: “I have never said we can win it in four years.”

    Lauer: “So I’m just saying can we win it? Do you see that?”

    President Bush: “I don’t think you can win it. But I think you can create conditions so that those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world –- let’s put it that way. I have a two pronged strategy. On the one hand is to find them before they hurt us, and that’s necessary. I’m telling you it’s necessary. The country must never yield, must never show weakness [and] must continue to lead. To find al-Qaida affiliates who are hiding around the world and … harm us and bring ‘em to justice –- we’re doing a good job of it. I mean we are dismantling the al-Qaidaas we knew it. The long-term strategy is to spread freedom and liberty, and that’s really kind of an interesting debate. You know there’s some who say well, ‘You know certain people can’t self govern and accept, you know, a former democracy.’ I just strongly disagree with that. I believe that democracy can take hold in parts of the world that are now non-democratic and I think it’s necessary in order to defeat the ideologies of hate. History has shown that it can work, that spreading liberty does work. After all, Japan is our close ally and my dad fought against the Japanese. Prime Minister Koizumi, is one of the closest collaborators I have in working to make the world a more peaceful place.”

    Lauer: “Your daughters are how old now?”

    President Bush: “Twenty-two.”

    Lauer: “Twenty-two years old. They’re approaching the age, President Bush, [when] they’re going to have their own children. And when their kids are teenagers are they going to those kids – your grandchildren – be reading about al-Qaida in the newspaper every day?”

    President Bush: “I know if steadfast, strong and resolute — and I say those words very seriously — it’s less likely that your kids are going to live under the threat of al-Qaida for a long period of time. I can’t tell you. I don’t have any … definite end. But I tell you this, when we succeed in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s the beginning of the end for these extremists. Because freedom is going to have a powerful influence to make sure your kids can grow up in a peaceful world. If we believe, for example, that you can’t win, and the alternative is to retreat … I think that would be a disaster for your children. I’ll tell you why. If al-Qaida and their ideologues were able to secure a nuclear arsenal, then your children would grow up under the threat of nuclear blackmail. I think you would look back and say, ‘Why did George Bush not hold the line?’ We cannot show weakness in this world today, because the enemy will exploit that weakness. It will embolden them and make the world a more dangerous place.”

    full transcript found here:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5866571/ part 1
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5868209/ part 2
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5878028/ part 3

  10. Jay, I hate to break it to you, but I don’t think the messages I post on your blog will be read by enough swing voters as to influence the election this November. Perhaps there are some undecided voters who visit this site and wear polo shirts and bulldozed Dixie Chicks CD’s last year that may well have been insulted by my comments enough that they’re now planning to vote for Bush. I call on anyone who fits either of these categories to identify himself or herself right now. Somehow, I’m not preparing myself to see a number of responses comparable to the number of Democrats and independents who contributed to the 1984 Reagan landslide…but you never know I guess.

  11. Goddamn, I wish we had a president who could speak.

    Yeah, I don’t see the context that turns “I don’t think you can win it” into anything but a prediction of never-ending global conflict.

    Bush doesn’t think the war has an end. The context makes that clearer, it doesn’t negate it.

  12. Well, I consider myself a swing voter

    I’m curious, Weber, if this is due to a philosophical position that mandates noncommittment until the election; puzzlement about the candidates’ platforms; or just that you feel you haven’t done the requisite research yet?

    I literally don’t understand the mind of the swing voter. Bush has been in office for four years. Either his record convinces you he’s done a good job, or else, it’s convinced you he hasn’t. What is there to swing about?

  13. I’m curious, Weber, if this is due to a philosophical position that mandates noncommittment until the election; puzzlement about the candidates’ platforms; or just that you feel you haven’t done the requisite research yet?

    Yes, all of that. Much like, as you’ll remember, I don’t like going to a movie that I know anything about and why I dig CSPAN. I don’t want my opinions to be shaded by anyone else’s. It takes a great deal of effort for me to make up my mind and I ultimately want to make the best decision. A lot can happen in four years, and even tough the internet has redefined information gathering for our generation there still is a ton of stuff we miss. I suppose, mostly due to information overload.

    But it’s almost more than that. I feel that its my civic duty not to make a decision until all the information is in. That may I can be comfortable with my decision afterwards. I want to be able to look back and say I came to that conclusion independently.

  14. Chris, given that I grew up on a farm and prefer country music to other genres, I would be referred to as a redneck by many and was not attempting to assign derogatory implications with that word alone. Listen to an hour of country radio and you’ll quickly discover that the term is a badge of honor rather than an indictment.

    You’ll also note that I used the term “redneck right” which I applied to those who bulldozed Dixie Chicks CD’s. Not every rural American was compelled to destroy the artwork of those who expressed anti-war or anti-Bush sentiments, just as not every rural American has gun racks and Confederate flags on his or her truck.

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