September 05, 2004

Final Furlong Preview

Last Friday we learned that Bush has sprinted past JFK to a post convention double-digit lead in the polls. While many prominent democrats are worried, Spitball and Scream are cool as cucumbers.

Kerry: "We're doing good. They are going to get a bounce out of the convention. But we'll be coming back."

Dean: "I tell you, I'm the one person in America other than Bill Weld that knows John Kerry can respond."

The problem is that in both cases, Kerry came from behind among a very liberal electorate. Against Dean in the Dem primary and beating Weld in Massachusetts by 8 points while the same voters chose Clinton over Dole by a 33 point margin. Kerry is campaigning in Hard America now where the rules are different, as we all know.

Weld does give us a preview of what to expect from the Senator:

"He will have it both ways. As he moves to the center, he will run not against the Iraq war, but against this Iraq war. He'll attack, but he will always be careful to wave the flag as he does so. He will lament positions of the Christian right, but attend church without fail. He will stand for gun control, but remind voters—in appropriate states—that he is a bird hunter. He will, in other words, be pro-military—and against this war; pro-religion—and against the "extremists"; pro-gun control—and pro-guns. He will run knowing that Americans like to be for, as well as against, things."

In other words, he will attempt to fashion his flip-flop policy into a virtue. He'll pursue a sort-of 'coalition of the easily duped' trying to peak just before election day. Heck, this sounds like 'politics as usual' to me.

Posted by JohnGalt at September 5, 2004 08:16 AM

My hubris meter is still pretty high.

I can't see Senator Kerry closing a big gap in the debates. He could hold or possibly close a small gap with a good performance. But he is not a charismatic figure. And it is hard to look more Presidential than a sitting President.

If he is behind, furthermore, he will tend to try too hard and possibly give a VP Gore-ish performance, while W can afford to play it cool.

The staff shakeup is probably Senator Kerry's best hope. If he gets some of the Dem best and brightest honing his message, he has plenty of time.

Posted by: jk at September 6, 2004 09:27 AM

HA! Before the shakeup I heard Willie Brown on Dennis Miller's show say something like, "It's terrible! It's like they've got the same guys running this campaign that ran Dukakis!"

The new co-campaign manager last managed the campaign of... Michael Dukakis in '88. Go Spitball go!

Posted by: johngalt at September 6, 2004 09:59 PM
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