Tactics and Substance in U.S. Elections GoogleNews: congressional.election

February 13, 2004

by J

Not Bad, Not Bad

An encouraging sign that the Kerryites mean it when they say they'll fight back against the Dubya smear machine.
In a new video message being sent to millions of people, President Bush's re-election campaign casts Sen. John Kerry as a tool of the special interests he regularly denounces.

[...] Kerry's spokeswoman, Stephanie Cutter, responded: "If the Bush White House wants to raise special interests as an issue, then bring it on."

"This White House has never met a special interest it didn't like. In fact, George Bush took more money from lobbyists in 2003 than John Kerry has in his entire career, and has managed to reward them handsomely for it too at the expense of the environment, our economy and the middle class."
I give it an A-. Succint, incorporates campaign soundbite ("bring it on"), turns the attack back against Dubya, raises issues (environment, economy) and includes an easily-verifiable fact for lazy reporters.
Posted by J at February 13, 2004 1:56 PM

I think "bring it on" sucks, since it shows that Kerry has no leadership capability... his strategy is to play on the field laid out by the Bushies... reacting to their agenda. Leadership would mean "take it to them" by redefining the terms of the debate, setting the agenda, laying out his own playing field.

Posted by: Todd at February 13, 2004 2:49 PM

Well, I agree that if they simply accept the Republican terms of the debate they're dead. Dead. But that's true for all of the Dems. Dean is willing to reframe issues, as is Edwards to an extent. John "marriage is about babies" Kerry... not so much that I've seen.

The reason I like "bring it on" is because of the implicit mockery of and disdain for Dubya that it conveys.

Posted by: J at February 13, 2004 2:52 PM

I'm with Todd. One thing I seriously disliked about Clark was that he was always saying "I'm the only one who can go toe-to-toe with George Bush on national security." Like that's some great acheivement.

Right now, I'm seriously worried about two things:

1) A bimbo eruption in the general. I'm no Drudge fan, but Kerry's denial on Imus didn't read terribly strong to me. If it was me, I would've gone with something more like "This rumor is a complete and utter fabrication. It contains not a single shred of truth nor evidence. I have never, NEVER cheated on my wife."

2) That Kerry will fall apart without Dean taking all the hits for him, and framing the debate. We'll see the Kerry that got trounced by Dean in the beginning of this campaign. Boring, rudderless, uninspiring.

It comes down to this...either anybody could beat Bush in November, or nobody could. It's not entirely within either candidate's control. But if the former is true, then of all the serious candidates since the get-go, it seems to me that Kerry is most likely to fumble it.

Posted by: Madden 11 at February 13, 2004 5:29 PM

Well, IMO anybody could beat Bush if he has a meltdown, which may be a possibility. WIth $200 million and the presidency as a platform, I tend to doubt that though. Bush has had a bad month and Kerry a good one, and they are still pretty even in the polls.

A Bush meltdown is Kerry's only chance IMO. Absent this, I think Dean has the best chance to beat Bush since he is a wild card type... and shows the most natural leadership ability.

Posted by: Todd at February 13, 2004 8:05 PM

>>Kerry's spokeswoman, Stephanie Cutter, responded: "If the Bush White House wants to raise special interests as an issue, then bring it on."


you call that a defense?? difference between kerry and bush on this issue is that bush didn't dance around fraudulently posture himself as a populist vowing to fight special interests like kerry's done. get it?

it's kerry who looks the hypocrite. kerry still hasn't defend charges that he gave favors for contributions. saying nominations for cash was merely a "coincidence" doesn't cut it. if you actually buy that line, i've got a bridge in brooklyn to sell ya.

Posted by: niner at February 14, 2004 5:54 AM

But that's the point niner. It's not a defense. Dubya attacking anyone about special interests is hypocritical beyond belief.

And to my mind it's a good thing that instead of accepting the criticism and attempting to rebut it (which is just another way of accepting the Republican terms of debate, a fatal flaw among Democrats lately), the Kerry campaign is going to fight back.

It doesn't matter what I buy or don't buy about Kerry. As much as I don't like Kerry, Dubya is worse for this country than Kerry, often much worse, in just about every conceivable dimension.

Posted by: J at February 15, 2004 9:47 AM

you can't beat corruption with corruption-lite.

while republicans can get away with murder, democrats are held to a higher standard. of course that's not fair but that is the reality.

Posted by: niner at February 20, 2004 2:57 AM

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