Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

July 8, 2003

by V

CW Pretzels: First in a series

It's pretty funny to watch the media twist itself around to recast the Conventional Wisdom so it can keep putting out negative stories about Democrats. It's like it's their job or something.

The headline yesterday from Ron Fournier of the AP is: Dean Lacks Money in the Bank
Howard Dean lags behind his top Democratic presidential rivals in a key category: Money in the bank.

...Dean is the only candidate airing TV ads - $300,000 worth in Iowa - and he invested thousands of dollars to build an Internet-driven grass-roots operation. Those expenses and others, including a growing campaign staff in Burlington, Vt., leave Dean with more than $6 million cash on hand and fourth overall, aides said Monday.
So, let me see if I've got this straight.
  • In early June, Dean was not widely considered a 'top-tier' candidate. The CW was, "Yeah, he's got people interested on the Internet, but he'll have to be able to run TV ads to compete."

  • Dean spends money on TV ads. CW="Dean's daring, but he'd better get more money so he can keep this up."

  • Dean surprises everyone by raising $7.5 million for the second quarter. CW="Stunning upset victory for Dean, but he can't possibly keep this up. Besides, his supporters don't actually know his real positions."

  • Dean's expenses land him fourth in cash-on-hand. CW="Since Dean is not ahead by every measure, the supposed 'frontrunner' now 'lags'."
What a difference a month makes.

There's a simple explanation for the Dean cash-on-hand numbers: that in order to get enough recognition to raise his campaign's profile so successfully, he had to spend significant chunks of money. Duh.

The headline could just as easily be: "Dems sit on funds while Dean builds buzz, base". Sure it's selective; so's the original.
Posted by V at July 8, 2003 12:21 PM

Oo, headline alliteration fun! How about: "Dems Dawdle while Dean Builds Buzz and Base."

You're right. They do keep adjusting expectations, in sometimes flat-out contradictory ways. Like "He's too liberal" said by the same folks who claim that his base will desert him when they figure out "he's not really that liberal." As though the term 'liberal' has any meaning anymore when a pro-gun, balanced-budget-loving, equal-rights supporting Governor is labelled 'liberal.' Hey, if supporting the Constitution is 'liberal' now, bring. it. on.

Posted by: J at July 8, 2003 12:58 PM

Recommended Reading:

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Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush
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The Great Unraveling
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