The Political Werewolf
If you know me, then you know I'm a big political nut. So, I've decided to add my own personal flavor to the realm of political discussion. We'll be talking about various issues - some of them having to do with current events, others perhaps more on a philosophical level. But in any case, you're free to respond to whatever you read here, either by E-mail or on the message board.
All righty, here we go.
It's All Downhill From Here
He hasn't even chosen a running mate yet, but if you read the tea leaves, you'll realize that this campaign is over before it even began. For a number of reasons - five, to be exact - it's becoming more and more apparent that John Kerry has already lost this election.
Why am I so confident, when all the polls out there are showing this to be another tight race, with Kerry even leading in some of them? Well, first of all, you have to realize that most people aren't paying attention to political stuff right now. They tend not to until around Labor Day. It's like looking at a scoreboard before the game even starts, then marveling at the fact that the score's tied. As the intensity of the campaign grows, there are a number of things that are going to prevent John Kerry from claiming the White House as his own. What are they? Well, let's go down the list:
1. Bush is weathering the storm. In the last month and a half, everyone from Richard Clarke to Richard Ben-Veniste, from Bob Kerrey to Bob Woodward, and every other left-leaning power player in between, have been throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the President. If you were to believe the press and the partisan hacks, it was Bush's fault for 9/11 because he didn't personally wrestle the plane controls out of Mohammed Atta's hands. Meanwhile, the situation in Iraq has become more difficult, with our troops coming upon a somewhat more organized resistance than they had in the past.
With all that going on, Bush is still running neck and neck in the polls. Kerry ought to be trouncing Bush at this point, even despite the small amount of attention being paid to the campaigns right now. That he isn't means that the voters are willing to ride this out, and don't necessarily want to change horses mid-stream. That Bush is managing to hang tough despite all the bad news he's faced recently means that he'll be poised to open a lead in a few months, and looks to capture a large amount of votes by the time November finally rolls around.
2. Kerry is playing the contrarian. I've said it a few times before, and it bears mentioning again - No candidate has ever won an election simply on the grounds that he isn't the incumbent. Kerry, in the wake of the primaries, has yet to tell the American people exactly what he's for. (Of course, he's flip-flopped so many times he may not even be sure himself what platform he wants to run on.) Kerry is all problems and no solutions. Besides the platitudes of "bringing the international community together" and somehow creating millions of jobs, Kerry seems to think that just criticizing the President at every turn - combined with his image as a war veteran - will be enough to earn the popular support he needs to win this. Meanwhile, the Bush campaign is taking this opportunity - and rightfully so - of establishing Kerry's Senate record. While Kerry won't give you a single reason to vote for him, Bush is giving people plenty of reasons not to vote for Kerry and keep Bush in office.
3. Kerry's image as an elitist and a hypocrite. He brags to an audience in Detroit about his extensive SUV collection, then when asked about it on television, he claims that those aren't his - they're his family's. (A family he doesn't belong to, I guess.) He decries "Benedict Arnold" companies - while his wife's company has 79% of its workforce overseas. He says he threw his Vietnam medals over the Capitol fence, then he says it was someone else's, then he says they were just his ribbons, not his medals, and that the two are one in the same. And of course, there's the famous verbal gaffe of Kerry explaining how he managed to vote both for and against the $87 billion appropriations bill for soldiers in Iraq. He desperately tries to come off as the everyman, the blue-collar schmoe who's just like you and me, while hiding the yachts and mansions in his estate.
When anyone runs for president - regardless of the party he represents - these sorts of things are crippling. One misstep alone can submarine your bid for the Oval Office - just ask Bush the senior about checking his watch during a debate in 1992. Kerry has shown an almost uncanny proclivity to jam his foot in his mouth, to show a lack of principle in his decision-making, and appear to thumb his nose at the little people when he thinks nobody's looking. Again, people might not be paying a whole lot of attention now, but the Bush campaign isn't about to let the multitude of fumbles Kerry has committed go unnoticed.
4. Kerry isn't getting anyone excited. The primary season isn't even over technically, and already the Democratic party is showing signs that maybe nominating this guy wasn't exactly the best idea. Remember, Kerry never really earned the nomination - this thing was Howard Dean's game to lose when the good doctor started getting belligerant. Kerry was simply in the right place at the right time when Dean swooned. The base didn't vote for him because they thought he was the best Democrat for the job; they based their vote on the bizarre principle of "electability". Even now, Kerry is failing to drum up even his base. Over the last week, a number of news outlets have reported of the growing grumblings that are taking place behind the scenes.
Although there is a large section of the Democratic party who would vote Omarosa from The Apprentice into office if it meant that Bush would lose, it won't be enough to push Kerry over the top. The biggest problem is, to the hardcore left, Kerry isn't liberal enough. Every time Kerry tries to appeal to the center, he runs the risk of turning off the fringes in his base - and Ralph Nader looks more and more appetizing to them. And if John Kerry can't get his own party enthusiastic about voting for him, what hope does he have of energizing the rest of the country?
5. The Clintons won't let him win. Let's be perfectly honest here - Bill and Hillary still own this party. And while they would certainly love to see liberalism regain its hold on the country, they don't want it to happen at the expense of their own ambitions. Now that Hillary Clinton has declared that she would not seek out Kerry's open spot as a running mate, you can be sure that the Clintons and their cronies will be doing their best to sabotage Kerry's campaign, which would leave the 2008 nomination ripe for the picking.
Don't believe me? Then explain this - originally, Bill Clinton's memoirs (which, if you ask me, ought to be sold as fiction - most likely in adult bookstores) weren't going to come out until after the election, so that Kerry could have the next six months all to himself. All of a sudden, the release date has been pushed forward to June 16. You can bet dollars to donuts that in the weeks preceding and following this book's publication, the media will be focusing primarily on Clinton, not on Kerry. With Bubba stealing the scenes for a solid month, it will be extremely hard for Kerry to get back into the spotlight, especially considering the immense gap in charisma and personality between the two men.
Of course, the general election is still a long way off, and anything could happen that sends Bush's numbers into a freefall. But the way things are looking right now, George W. Bush looks to have an easy time winning re-election.
4/2/04: Dick Clarke Hosts American Grandstand
3/17/04: Terrorism Won
3/1/04: Why I'm Not Voting for Bush
2/22/04: The Natives Are Restless
12/17/03: Catching the Rat
12/9/03: Thank God for Freedom of Religion
10/8/03: We're Not Gonna Take It
8/27/03: Getting Rid of Splinters
7/14/03: Where's the Utopia?
6/30/03: Minority Reports
6/9/03: With a Capital T and that Rhymes With D and that Stands for Democrats
5/26/03: Where's the Harm?
5/12/03: The Ten Questions a Liberal Will Never Answer
5/5/03: Let The Fun Begin
4/21/03: It's My Money, Not TheIRS
4/14/03: Bush Won - Get Over It
4/7/03: Conservative Business 101
3/31/03: I'm a Celebrity - No War in Iraq!
3/24/03: Patriotism vs. Nationalism