Monday, March 29, 2004

John Kerry getting no love on WoT

Akim on Empty Days blog conveniently hosts one of the oldman's posts about the Democratic lack of credibility on the WoT. Elsewhere on Needlenose blog, in the midst of the Clarke controversy the oldman predicted that Kerry was still behind. Stirling Newberry has more on the reversal of Kerry's fortunes.

The USA Today story about Bush's most recent poll numbers confirm that indeed, just as the oldman predicted, that while Bush's credibility numbers are down he's actually pulled ahead of Kerry among registered voters.The gap is even bigger among likely voters.

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The Bush administration did not do all it could to prevent the attacks, 54% say, and 53% say the White House is covering up something about its handling of intelligence before Sept. 11.

Still, 67% say the administration should not have been expected to prevent the tragedy.

But Americans' doubts have not meant greater reluctance to return Bush to office.

In a two-way matchup, Bush leads Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic candidate, 51%-47%, which is a 7 percentage-point gain in three weeks for Bush and a 5-point drop for Kerry. Three weeks ago, when Kerry was coming off a string of primary victories, Bush trailed him by 6 points.

If independent Ralph Nader is included, he gets 4%, Bush 49% and Kerry 45%.

The poll suggests that Bush campaign ads charging Kerry with a flip-flopping record in the Senate are taking a toll. Before they began, 60% rated Kerry favorably and 26% unfavorably. Now, 53% view him favorably and 36% unfavorably.

"Bush seems to be having some success in selling the idea that Kerry's voting record in the Senate is all over the place," says Maurice Carroll, polling director at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.
[emphasis added]
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This as the oldman predicted over at the Blogging of the President 2004 means that:

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That's what Dem's don't get. It's not enough to portray Bush as ineffective, selfish, and abusive of power. Those will only help him get relected.

We're talking essentially about a challenge situation. Kerry has to show himself able to challenge Bush in basic ruthlessness, cunning, and decisiveness. Only then if he's nicer will he get the electoral nod.

I've tried explaining this before and have been told that the jobs situation and Iraq will defeat Bush, not Kerry. I think this is idealistic, but dead wrong. Think about Dukakis. Think about Dole falling off the podium. People won't vote in a weak President. They will vote in a corrupt or lying one. But not a weak one, or one percieved as weak, especially not when they're concerned about security.

They'd rather have the big mean ineffectual corrupt alpha male than the well intentioned but not so nasty nice guy. That's the key to this whole thing.

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Unless Democrats realize what is going on and get some credibility in the WoT, the election is over for all intents and purposes. It is not enough to just engage President Bush on the issues. Without a credible forward engagement plan on Iraq, terrorism, Alqueda, that assures the President that the Democrats and specifically John Kerry "get's it" about how serious the problem is, then the election might as well be conceded barring unusual and unexpected future revelations.

In retrospect, taking a vacation in Idaho for a week was a castatrophic error that has put the Kerry campaign on a backfoot. Despite the Democratic advantage in that most of their policies are ones that the public prefers, they're getting killed by political gamesmanship (MSNBC) and the Bush PR blitz. Kerry can recover from this setback, but he won't until he not only "get's it" about how serious this race is but he begins to show it. He's got to be "hungry" for it, or voters won't respond. Sking in Idaho sent the wrong message to the public, that Kerry couldn't care less. Now he's got to start from scratch again.

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