Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Starting to come together

I haven't always been a huge fan of how the President "presents" himself, whether it be through informal dialogue with the press or through press junkets announcing some grand stategy movement. I've let it go before, mostly because the substance of these less-than-kodak-moments has been to my liking. He may not be the most polished politician, but his is an inspirational leader.

But lately, his presentation has really started to "take it up another level". His campaign seems to be the pace-setting one, and his performance publicly has been pretty solid. Some highlights:

-- two weeks ago, when even some folks from the "right" (okay, so I'm referring to Sen. McCain here) were asking for the President to denounce the Swift Boat Vets ads, the President clearly stated that ALL soft-money (read: 527) ads should be banned. It may have appeared weak at the time, but a) it's really the only recourse he has, without making a mockery of the first amendment and the campaign finance laws; and b) it's the only position he could have had at THAT time that will stand up to the new wave of liberal 527s that are apparently about to flood the airwaves. Not to mention, by means of comparison/contrast with the other candidate, this 527 thing shows some real differences between the two men: Kerry cries foul on ads that are negative towards him and "picks and chooses" his disagreements with the several millions of dollars that Kerry-backing groups have thrown/are throwing into their ads, while Bush says that all of the ads of this type should be abolished. One thinks that what's "fair" amounts to "what is best for his own interests", while the other believes that "fair" should be a standard for the entire system. Me-first vs. big-picture--it doesn't get much more Kerry vs. Bush than that.;

(side note here: notice how McCain hasn't said much about the second Swiftee ad? I'm sure that Kerry was hoping to have the "watchdog"'s dislike of all Swiftee ads in his back pocket as he made the allegations of lying and smearing onto this group, but McCain has gone silent so far on the ad that has been running over the weekend. I think this says something. . .and I think that it's not good for Kerry)

-- while Kerry spends time and money INEFFECTIVELY dealing with the SBVTs allegations (just release your darn records and let the verdict fall where it will, for crying out loud!), the Bush campaign starts hammering on "the issues" that Kerry supposedly would like to make this election about--specifically, taxes. This is a very informative ad, detailing not just Kerry's history of supporting tax hikes, but also placing that history against the promises his campaign has made. The question it indirectly asks voters: do you trust the main stimulus for the economy's recovery in the hands of the man who has a history of seeking to take more of YOUR money from your pockets? I think this will be a main theme as we reach the convention, as the "2%" difference that Kerry STRESSED in his convention will be analyzed (at it's face value), questioned (as to whether or not the candidate actually means this is the ONLY group that will see it's taxes upped, AS WELL AS whether or not the strategy would even work if it is implemented) and attacked as a poor tool to further economic recovery;

-- The president took the initiative last week by announcing a re-shuffling of troop deployments that will better address the security needs of the world we live in now. Kerry automatically called the whole plan hogwash--of course, he fails to have a counterproposal handy. Two things about this: a) I think that Bush's plan is solid, dealing with the threats--and the possible responses to those threats--of the future; and b) the fact that Kerry's response leads one to believe that he would keep the status quo shows a lack of understanding that the world today is different than it was 5, 10, or even 30 years ago. Either that, or his lack of a counterproposal shows that he hasn't really thought about how he would shape our forces as Commander in Chief --and it's too darn late in the game for him to have failed to think about that!

-- And all the while, the President has made himself immensely accessible. He appeared on the talk show circuit, he still regularly answers questions in his public appearances--he's a guy who actually wants to talk TO you about the state of this country. Kerry, meanwhile, hasn't held a public Q&A in a loooooong time. And even worse, he hasn't allowed his Band of Brothers to answer questions the public is dying to ask. I mean, one of the calling cries of the Dem Convention was to spend 3 minutes with the men who served with Kerry--and now Kerry either a) won't let us (in the case of his BoB), or b) doesn't think they served with him (in the case of the SBVT). So who are we gonna spend time with in order to figure out what kind of leader he is? Kerry himself? Then LET US ASK YOU SOME QUESTIONS!!!

All in all, I think the Prez's campaign is rounding into shape nicely. I look forward to the further assertion of the message of "ownership" at the convention (I bet Reagan himself would be proud of that strategy), as well as the stressing of the "positive" campaign that Bush/Chaney has run thus far. Funny--I thought "positive campaigning" was a "policy" of the Dems? That sure lasted long!


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