The Therapy Sessions
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
The Bush bounce will fade
The polls are all over the place after the Republican Convention. Time and Newsweek have Bush up by 11 points, and they describe the despondency of the Democrats. CNN sees it as a 5% Bush lead and calls "the bounce" modest.
I didn't see the Zell Miller speech, but I read it online. The media is trying to compare it to Pat Buchanan's nasty, race baiting 1992 speech, calling Miller's attacks unfair and mean. But it was mainly a criticism of Kerry's Senate voting record, and that is where he is most vulnerable. People who think that is mean-spirited should ask themselves what kind of society (or campaign) would declare such attacks off limits.
No matter: coming soon will be a barrage of ads targeting Kerry's Senate voting record (please get us away from this Vietnam nonsense), and that is Kerry's Achille's Heel. I still see Bush as being on target for a fairly decisive November victory (as I have been saying now for several months). There are, of course, all kinds of unpredictables out there (assassinations, new candidates, terrorist attacks)but I think generally the winds are blowing Bush's way. I'm pretty sure that there will also be an escalation of violence in Iraq, as al Qaeda tries engineer a "Tet Offensive" to make Bush look bad. But I think that the Democrats have been paralyzed by the issue and they will be unable to take advantage of it (Is Kerry capable of seriously answering the question of how he would manage things differently?).
By late October, most people are going to be wondering why anyone thought Kerry had a chance.
Post convention bounces usually mean little. But I think the GOP Convention did a good job of highlighting the moderate side of a conservative party.
But the real Bush gains will come slowly over time.
This will be a nasty campaign, a grinding war of attrition. It has to be: while the Republican coalition is solidly behind their man (to the point of fanaticism), Kerry's people are united about nothing - except defeating Bush.
The election will be all about convincing them that Kerry is an empty suit.
Given his record, that should not be especially challenging.