Sunday, September 05, 2004

Kerry Stategery, part II

On the front page of the Washington Times this morning (not the headline, but still front page):


subtitle: Democrats appear ready to cede issues on national security to President Bush

The rest of the article is no surprise, especially considering the heavy print at the top. But there were some important quotes to bring out:

"I don't want to see him pulled into the national security debate, because that [sic] is not the driving issue for voters here", said Mike Callaghan, the Dem chairman of West Virginia;

"Kerry can't ignore the commander in chief stuff, but that's not where the election is going to be won or lost", says Harold Ickes, a senior party strategist.

Okay, for starters in analyzing this thing, nowhere in the article does the Times get a senior Dem strategist to "cede" the issues on national security to the President. So the eye-catcher on page one is exactly that: an eye-catcher.

BUT: saying that national security is not the driving issue ANYWHERE in this country today appears silly. Your job, your nestegg, your plans for the future--they can all disappear in a flash of an instant. And I've got news for you: that flash likely isn't coming from your health care plans or the education of your children, and the location of that flash isn't restricted to areas that have coastal ports or major metropolitan areas. While "domestic" issues ARE very important issues, the absolute, #1 priority of this election and every election for the foreseeable future has got to be national security, period. If that point hasn't been hammered home yet by the GOP, it will be in the next two months. And for Kerry's strategists to not only believe otherwise, but to drive Kerry's message away from that topic shows a serious lack of understanding of the times we live in.

I can understand the strategists trying to focus on the issues that their candidate is strongest in for the next couple weeks--they certainly need to stabilize their campaign, and that can only happen when Kerry himself stabilizes. But to say the things that Callaghan and Ickes did
(Ickes in particular, almost dismissing the importance of the commander in chief issues by calling it "stuff") sends a frighteningly unrealistic message from the Kerry camp. And they've had a week to come up with this stuff???


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