The Myth: The SBVT controversy seriously harmed the Kerry campaign. Bush comes into his convention in much better political shape than he has been for quite a while.
The Reality: The race has changed little since the start of the SBVT controversy. Bush enters his convention with basically the same political vulnerabilities he had previously.
Here's another instance where I don't think excerpting helps very much -- better to read the entire entry, it's pretty short. (Basically, Teixeira believe that Kerry's decline in the polls is a natural fall-off of the lift he got from the convention, and what remains is the extremely negative ratings for Bush that all the polls show.)
This is Bush's problem. He's got to run on something and, unfortunately for him, he has precious little to run on other than being the president of 9/11. The SBVT ads and subsequent media feeding frenzy didn't change that equation in the slightest--and it's not an equation that favors Bush's re-election.
Read the piece for the specifics, it might make you fell a little better.
BTW, the truth that Teixeira speaks, that Bush has nothing specific to run on (since his administration doesn't have any real accomplishments that it can sell as positive ones to the general public -- as opposed to selling them to their clients) is the reason to continue to believe that this will be the dirtiest campaign any of us has seen in a long time, perhaps the dirtiest in our lives.
These guys have their backs against the wall, they've got the loss suffered by Papa Bush to live down, they've got a clientele that expects continuing results for the good money they've paid, and they've got the spector of ongoing criminal investigations which could lead to potential repercussions from a Kerry administration if they're not in office to suppress and control them. This election is pretty much do or die for them, and that, along with their penchant for unscrupulousness, dirty tricks, and cheating, makes them extremely dangerous. It also means that we're going to see wave after wave of negativity, attack ads, smears (like Hastert's absurd one on Soros), innuendo and rumor-mongering -- all the varied skills and techniques of unethical immoral political hardball (which they are so very, very good at) will be unleashed.
It's going to be nasty and disgusting, and it's not going to stop any time soon.
That being so, we've got to gird our loins for the force of that continuing and unrelenting attack, we've got to keep our heads and not lose heart every time there's a blip in the polls or a bit of a misstep from Kerry, we must keep our own negativity about the outcome under control and remain firm in the belief that we can win, and the reason we can is that more people want Bush out than want him to stay. If we lose resolve, then it's going to be difficult to convince others that they should keep theirs, and we need every single vote in every single state, not just in the battlegrounds.
(This is not the year for tactical vote swapping with Naderites or other independents -- if push comes to shove in the end, we may need the moral authority that a strong win in the national popular vote can bring with it. That's something I never would have thought would be necessary, but after 2000, one cannot take anything for granted.)
So, I hope the rumors of shakeups in the Kerry campaign are aimed at getting it in shape to respond forcefully and quickly to what will undoubtedly be many, many shocking "revelations" to come. I hope that John Edwards really is engaging in the "stealth" campaign he's rumored to be on, flying under the radar of the national media to get to the grassroots through local media and stir up the passionate responses we need to get people to get out the vote in their areas. I hope that John Kerry's reputation as a strong closer who never gives in and pulls it out of the fire just in the nick of time is a deserved one. I hope that our country can survive the onslaught which is to come, and I hope that we can somehow find it in our hearts once we win to forgive our political foes their wretched behavior, even as we freeze them out for the next eight years and onward.
(In a way, if I may stretch a metaphor a while, Kerry's position is somewhat similar to the less powerful opponent in asymmetrical warfare. Although the money disparity is not as bad as it once was, it still exists, which puts Kerry at a disadvantage. Also, Kerry doesn't have the big guns that Bush has access to, in that the media will follow along with a Bush smear in a way they will not with one launched by Kerry.
We can argue for hours if that's because the media is biased, or if it's a structural artifact of the way journalism is done, or that it's because the GOP excels at gaming the media -- exploiting its loopholes and weaknessness for his own benefit, or all of the above, but the fact exists that the media doesn't deal with Kerry and the Democrats in the same way it does with Bush and the Republicans. This gives Bush a tremendous advantage, but only in the way that the stronger opponent in an asymmetric war has the "advantage" over the weaker one. The trick for the insurgent is to not play by the rules that give the stronger one the advantage, to move the fight to another arena where those advantages cannot be so easily brought into play, and where the size, scope and scale of the larger opponent actually works against him, while the relative smallness and powerlessness of the insurgent are themselves advantages.
That's why I blanch whenever I see suggestions that Kerry and the Democrats need to counter Bush's smearing with their own frontal attack on Bush's character and personality -- as opposed to his failed policies and the credibility of his administration. For that kind of direct attack against an opponent's strong points to work, you've got to have the troops to carry it off, and Kerry simply will not have the media with him if he launches it. Better to come in from the side, where it's least expected, and work stealthily and surrepitiously to undermine the position of the opponent, then waste your resources on an attack that will never work.
Saying this in a general way as I have is easy, where expertise comes in is in knowing the hows and whys and wheres and whens of it -- and I certainly hope that Kerry's got some people who can think that way, because we're gonna need them.)
Addenda:Publius, again, says a similar thing, that Kerry shouldn't get caught in the trap of debating whether Bush has "resolve" or not, instead he should move the goalposts and change the terms of the debate to whether Bush is competent to do the job.
Kerry or his surrogates should say something like: “The Republicans spent all week arguing that Bush has the resolve necessary to win the war on terror. We agree with them. The issue isn’t the President’s resolve, it’s whether he’s competent. His policies have been a failure on everything from national security to Iraq to the economy to stem cells to outsourcing. Normally, when people make mistakes, they change course. But not Bush. He himself has said that when he makes a decision, he sticks to it. Well, that’s the whole problem, Wolf. We have a President with a firm conviction to keep driving America off a cliff.”
(I've always thought that the competency issue can be a winner for Kerry, but many long-time pols are afraid of it, because Dukakis based his entire campaign on it. That was a really bad decision, but it shouldn't preclude using the ammunition that we've got when it's in our hands, or from framing the argument in a way that helps us.)
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
(click on image for more info)
Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.