‘Not being Bush is not enough’:
Ah, the old post-Labor Day homestretch. Lots of homestretch fodder to choose from yesterday (here
, for instance). But I liked this E.J. Dionne Jr. piece
about whether John Kerry can be the Comeback Kid. Dionne seems hopeful, then piles up all up all the obstacles Kerry has to overcome, chiefly himself. ... (Dems to JFK II: Stop the wind-surfing shots! ... JFK II to Dems: But I got to show I have vigahhh via black-and-white photos from the Kerry Compound on Nantucket! ... Republicans to everyone: More wind-surfing shots, please!)...
Will the Kerry emphasis on the economy and healthcare work? I’m not so sure. There are obviously two main issues out there: the economy and the war. Kerry has to seriously dent Bush on one of those two -- or somewhat substantively on both. In two months. Not good. The economy now seems barely improved enough to help Bush, or at least buffer him against sustained attacks. The prospect of a serious economic slide in two months is highly unlikely. Points to: Bush. ... The war in Iraq is not an issue Kerry can easily exploit, considering his contradictory positions, and Scott Lehigh
notes there’s a huge confidence gap between Bush and Kerry on the issue of war, Kerry on the losing end, not surprisingly. Points to: Bush. Again. ... But why did Hub Blog say the other week that ‘it’s the war, stupid’
? Because if you believe the more important economy is just solid enough to shield the president, then that leaves only the war as the other big issue for Kerry to pound into. And the war news is grim. There’s this CSM piece
about how British experts now think civil war in Iraq is likely. There’s this NYT piece
about how the U.S. military is all but conceding parts of Iraq to insurgents. The Iraq war, as Andrew Sullivan
notes, is intervening on its own in the election, regardless of Kerry’s flip-flopping rhetoric. ... I know, I know. The Clintonites are now joining Kerry’s camp and President Clinton has urged Kerry to emphasize the economy, stupid. But Clinton ran against Bush I during an economic downturn and after a war, while Kerry is running against Bush II during an economic upturn and an ongoing war. There’s room on the economy for Kerry to exploit. But that 27-point confidence gap on the war has to be closed by Kerry. Or he’s a goner. ... Mickey
feels roughly the same way. Wars count, folks. ...
FYI: Count me as a new member of the Militant Middle
FYI II: There’s always an overlooked component in every campaign. My early nomination for a hidden issue/development could be the Christian Right. They don’t seem so steamed up. Maybe it was the silly excesses of the GOP convention (and the mere sight and sound of the Bush daughters). They really did unite the country, in their own way. Whatever. But still ...
‘I must have misspoke’:
You just knew this was coming. More on Bush’s dubious National Guard service
during the War of All Wars, aka the Most Pivotal Period in the History of History, i.e. Vietnam. OK, get it out of your system, lefty and righty worker bees. Start buzzing. Start stinging. Start arguing facts you know nothing about. Then let’s concentrate on the future. ...
Remember Hub Blog’s cheat sheet on the earth-shattering issue of What Were You Doing During Vietnam, Daddy:
Bush -- Combat dodging Vietnam-era veteran.
Kerry -- Exaggerating Vietnam combat veteran.
Now, back to Hub Blog’s sofa-stretch vacation. Blogging will be light. ... Quickie recommendation for total get-the-rat-race-out-of-your-system lazy afternoon bliss: Geary Pale Ale and Mickey Spillane. HIGHLY EFFECTIVE.