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The Therapy Sessions
Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Kerry vs. Bush

I don’t do predictions very well.

I remember watching Dukakis after the Democratic convention is 1988. He had just made a dramatic speech, and he led the senior Bush by 17 points in the opinion polls.

I remember thinking that the man was going to be our next president.

When I went back to college (where I saw very little TV), the winds in the country had changed dramatically. I never knew what happened to Dukakis, but I – being a young liberal – was convinced it was all some dirty trick played on the country by the Republicans.

(Now the idea of Dukakis having been president in 1990 scares the crap out of me: we would be staring down a nuclear armed Saddam Hussein, sitting on top of most of the world’s oil, and the Soviet Union might still be around (I think that with a weaker American president, the Soviets might have cracked down more tightly on the first voices of democratic dissent)).

Kerry or Bush ?

Gee, I don’t know. But I do think that Kerry’s contradictory positions are going to be a real problem for him.

Bush’s strategy is going to be simple:

1. Attack Kerry as being inconsistent (going on now through late spring).
2. Attack Kerry as being liberal (around the time of the convention).

His defense against the first charge has to be nuance: there is other way he can explain all those votes.

The second charge is more fatal: Kerry needs to move toward the center to attract swing voters.

And when does, the public’s perception of his inconsistency (the first charge) will be confirmed.

Kerry's strategy seems to be tell people that the attacks are coming so that he can portray Bush as being a big meany.

Mean and tested vs. inconsistent and liberal?

If I had to bet, I'd bet the South, most of the West, and the Midwest will vote Republican.

Game, set and match for Bush.

I could be wrong, though (it’s been known to happen - ask my wife).

But I do believe that Kerry election would be a tragedy for nation that is – as much as we wish to forget it - truly at war.

Steven Den Beste likens quitting the war now to be very similar to a tuberculosis patient quitting his drugs before the disease has been eradicated from his body.

The enemy will bide its time, learn from its mistakes and come back better and wiser than before.

This is no time to change course in the war. We are winning, but we haven't won.

We have to see it through.

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