Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

January 25, 2004

by V

Three Lists

Many fascinating lists floating around in the blogosphere today. First, another shockingly nice-to-Dean section of The Note (from yesterday):

ABCNEWS.com : The Note
For months, when Dean was riding high, Team Kerry regularly cried in its Heinekens over the the failure of the press to hold Dean accountable for statements and actions present and past.

Of course, Dean's fall was accompanied by a level of scrutiny that at times bordered on the absurd - and often represented shifting and inconsistent standards.

The press too often keys off of the political combatants to decide what to go after and what not to, but for reasons that will be much discussed at Harvard in 2005, this week at least, John Kerry can do no wrong.

If Kerry were being treated like Dean was when Dean was the frontrunner (assuming any of you can remember that far back), these things would be monster flaps and areas of aggressive reportage:
  • Kerry saying "North Korea" instead of "South Korea" in the debate.
  • Kerry limiting his press availabilities.
  • Kerry "borrowing" aspects of Dean's message.
  • Kerry's record of legislative accomplishments (?).
  • Fritz Hollings using the word "Chinaman" at a Kerry event yesterday and Kerry not denouncing him.
  • Kerry bragging about his campaign finance record in the face of taking presidential PAC money, DSCC record, and Busta Caps.
  • Kerry claiming "endorsements don't matter" and then saying "We got Hollings and Mondale!" and, today, the League of Conservation Voters (and more are coming ... ).
  • Kerry's apparently limited release of his tax returns.
  • Kerry showing an unpresidential temper in flipping out at kindly David Wade.
  • Kerry's team putting his traveling press corps at a different hotel than the candidate.
  • Kerry not being attacked at the debate and there being almost no pickup for his Vietnam medals answer.
  • Luis Navarro's quitting after yesterday's hiring of Steve Elmendorf.
  • A million other Kerry controversies that have been chronicled in the Boston papers over the years and clips on which exist in a bulging RNC file.
  • No Mike Isikoff stories (or: are there??).
I'd say half of those are not story-worthy, but there are at least a few that I think should be covered if the press were going to be remotely fair. Thanks to the Note for saying specifically what they mean rather than just saying Kerry's not getting enough scrutiny.

Here's the top ten list Dean read on Letterman Thursday night:
10. "Switch to decaf"
9. "Unveil new slogan: 'Vote for Dean and get one dollar off you next purchase at Blimpie'"
8. "Marry Rachel on final episode of 'Friends'"
7. "Don't change a thing -- it's going great"
6. "Show a little more skin"
5. "Go on 'American Idol' and give 'em a taste of these pipes"
4. "Start working out and speaking with Austrian accent"
3. "I can't give specifics yet, but it involves Ted Danson"
2. "Fire the staffer who suggested we do this lousy Top Ten list instead of actually campaigning"
1. "Oh, I don't know -- maybe fewer crazy, redfaced rants"
And from August J,. Pollak, some of the things Dean should do so people will think he looks more like a President:
  • Announce proudly that no president has ever done as much as him for human rights.
  • Dress up in a crotch-accentuating flight suit and land a jet on an aircraft carrier.
  • Brag repeatedly about a sub-standard college grade point average.
  • Get arrested for public rowdiness at a football game.
  • Attempt to recite a cliché adage at a press conference and promptly forget how it goes in the middle of saying it.
  • Mount, and promptly fall off, an unpowered Segway scooter.
  • Drop his dog in front of cameras.
  • Consistently mispronounce the word "nuclear."
  • Condescendingly mock the upcoming execution of a death row inmate.
  • Trade away Sammy Sosa.
  • Choke on pretzel bits to the point of losing balance and bruising his head.
  • Attend a public event in which Stevie Wonder is performing and wave to him from the balcony.
Hopefully, Dr. Dean can get a few of these confidence-gaining moves in before the New Hampshire primary. After all, image is everything.
Kudos to all of the above.
Posted by V at January 25, 2004 08:08 AM

Does anyone know Kerry's attendance record for votes in the Senate? I heard it was something like 28% but I would like a source to cite. THank you.

Posted by: Jamie J at January 29, 2004 03:42 PM

Recommended Reading:

The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir
The Politics of Truth... A Diplomat's Memoir

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

Against All Enemies by Richard Clarke
Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror

LIES by Al Franken
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right

The Great Unraveling
The Great Unraveling

The Great Big Book of Tomorrow
The Great Big Book of Tomorrow

Clinton Wars
The Clinton Wars

Blinded by the Right
Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative

Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat

Subject to Debate: Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics, and Culture

Living History

The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton

John Adams

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace

In Association with Amazon.com