Wednesday, March 10, 2004
previous entry | main | next entry | TrackBack (0)
Gonna be an exhausting campaign
Kevin Drum has a great post up delineating the barbs and counter-barbs between the Bush and Kerry campaigns since Super Tuesday made Kerry the de facto nominee. There's been a fair amount of cross-fire for one week -- and reading between the lines, Kevin already seems exhausted by the campaign.
This leads me to wonder how the Feiler Faster Thesis will operate with eight months to go in this campaign. The thesis, to reiterate, is:
Feiler's implication is that campaigns will have constant twists and turns. There's another possibility, however -- if there are no external motivations for changes in strategy, voters could get bored fast.
That may be the case here. According to USA Today, the extent of party polarization in this election is at a historic high (however, as Eric Weiner points out in the Los Angeles Times, America is actually not politically polarized compared to other countries). The extent of polarization means there's a low probabilty of public opinion dramatically shifting one way or the other. Given that the two candidates are pretty close in terms of support, and the stability of that support, there may be no change in the relative position of the candidates for quite some time. Which means there's no incentive to change strategies for the near future.
Which means the campaign could get old fast.
I stress "may" because there are always exogenous shocks to the political system, so in all likelihood this situation won't last for 8 months. However, the Feiler Faster Thesis suggests that it will feel like eight months.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Josh Marshall advances the "exhaustion" meme.posted by Dan on 03.10.04 at 02:42 PM
Well, if McCain, who is more hawkish than Bush on foreign policy, could sign on to that ticket, I'd view it as a sign that McCain believes the War on Terror would continue under Kerry. (And I'm sure McCain would insist, as a condition of his support, that the campaign follow the spirit of McCain Feingold, and reject the shadow George Soros campaign.)
So yeah, it'd change my reluctant Bush vote to a hesitant Kerry vote.
But I just don't see this happening. Kerry is not going to choose someone who would overshadow him the way that McCain would.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 03.10.04 at 02:42 PM [permalink]
Kerry'd be better off with Hillary if he's willing to carry the burden of McCain.posted by: Richard A. Heddleson on 03.10.04 at 02:42 PM [permalink]
This year’s presidential campaign will indeed bore many voters. Most people are working and doing well. President Bush seems to be doing a good job fighting terrorism---and ironically this may very well be hurting him. Hey, baseball season and the NBA playoffs are going to start in the very near future. The voters rarely pay attention to politics until after Labor Day, and I don’t sense anything different this time around.
Yeah, you got my meaning correctly, Dan. Naturally, I'm one of those Dems who's in favor of fighting back and not letting you evil Republican types push us around so much, but after a week of this I'm wondering if I can take it for 30 more weeks.
I wonder if we'll all somehow get desensitized, just like movie violence? 30 rounds might turn out to be too long for a prizefight.posted by: Kevin Drum on 03.10.04 at 02:42 PM [permalink]
Hmmmm. Very interesting. Dick Morris, who seems to run at about 60% correct/40% wacked these days, is saying how Bush is being way too quiet, why the hell isn't he out there swinging, he's getting killed, etc etc, and the polls back him up.
But is Bush, well... again... playing a deeper game than his genuis detractors just don't get? And in this, many detractors are Republican Bush fanatics.
Might Bush be keyed into what Dan is writing here? That people will be just plain sick of a lot of things by late summer, and, under this scenario, most of what they will be sick of will be what Democrats are saying.
If true, this is a HELL of a gamble, and completely rewriting the book.
Which seems to be Bush's style.posted by: Andrew X on 03.10.04 at 02:42 PM [permalink]
But David, you told us a few weeks ago that once Bush started the campaign Kerry would be a goner. As I recall you predicted Bush ahead by 7 in the March polls.
And now you tell us we shouldn't care until after Labor Day?
Are you flip-flopping?posted by: GT on 03.10.04 at 02:42 PM [permalink]
I am prediciting mass suicides by Kerry campaign staffers and press embeds.
After I read that I figured out what Kerry's campaign motto should be:
"In a minute there is time for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse."posted by: Robert schwartz on 03.10.04 at 02:42 PM [permalink]
you said barbs....
man it is gonna be loooonnnnnggggg.....posted by: jason on 03.10.04 at 02:42 PM [permalink]
McCain. I don’t think so.
Dr. Poole rates McCain as the fourth most Republican Senator in 2003. To be sure, his rating was lower in 2002, but I just can’t see him jumping ship. The upside is too small (remember what John Nance Garner said about the Vice Presidency) and the downside too big. Besides, McCain was an upfront war hawk in spring 2003. I can’t see him doing a complicated exfoliation of his position like Kerry and I can’t see the Democrat Party faithful embracing an unreconstructed hawk.
Hillary won’t. two things could happen. She could lose in which case she would be tarred as a loser. Or, She could win in which case she would be stuck in the back seat until 2012 when she will be 65.
Further Kerry won’t ask. He figures he has the northeast wrapped up anyway. He needs help in the South and the West and Hillary will not bring Nascar Dads. What Hillary will bring will be Bill and his famous ability to suck all of the oxygen out of a room and make sure the conversation is about him. Won’t happen.
McCain said "if offered, I'd have to take it seriously". He's got a twisted western/Navy sense of humor (I can relate) and so I dn't think most people saw the subtextual "which Kerry will offer shortly after pigs fly out my ass."
Then CNN et al fell for it.
Kerry has since been quite forceful about not being in the running.posted by: Charlie (Colorado) on 03.10.04 at 02:42 PM [permalink]
Daveposted by: Dave Dufour on 03.10.04 at 02:42 PM [permalink]
How about Kerry announcing his intention to put McCain on the ticket, then getting enough delegates to secure nomination, then deciding to step aside and persuade the Democratic Convention to make McCain the Presidential nominee? That would be enough to get me to vote Democratic this year.
Seriously, though, we're in the era of the Me Generation Presidency, and neither Bush nor Kerry will offer any escape from it. I have to point out also that beginning in the 1992 election cycle the major parties have between them put up nominees for President eight times, and seven times they have nominated someone who got at least part of his education at Yale University, citadel of intellectual mediocrity, self-indulgence, and personal entitlement. That neither party can do better this year ought to be a source of national humiliation.posted by: Zathras on 03.10.04 at 02:42 PM [permalink]
Kerry may not make it to the starting blocks:
"Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry called Wednesday for deeper tax cuts for the middle class than proposed by President Bush and described his Republican critics as "the most crooked ... lying group I've ever seen." The chairman of Bush's re-election campaign called on Kerry to apologize "for this negative attack."
This week Mr Kerry claimed that foreign leaders had told him they could not publicly offer him their support but added: "You've got to beat this guy, we need a new policy."
It is entirely possible that the guy will self destruct in the next few weeks.posted by: Robert Schwartz on 03.10.04 at 02:42 PM [permalink]
“But David, you told us a few weeks ago that once Bush started the campaign Kerry would be a goner. As I recall you predicted Bush ahead by 7 in the March polls.
And now you tell us we shouldn't care until after Labor Day?
Are you flip-flopping?”
In a fair world John Kerry’s flip flopping campaign should be essentially over---but we don’t live in a fair world. I’ve also long said that every Republican presidential candidate starts off with 5% negative because of the liberal media. President Bush’s poll numbers have been hurt by the recent lies and distortions of the New York Times, CBS, and other “mainstream” media outlets. It will take awhile to straighten out the mess. I must admit that I underestimated the effectiveness of these lying scum bags.
“That people will be just plain sick of a lot of things by late summer, and, under this scenario, most of what they will be sick of will be what Democrats are saying.”
I agree completely with Dick Morris. He accurately warns the Bush administration that it cannot afford to think that the general public will see through the lies of the liberal media. Morris is upset that President Bush is running positive adds. Instead, he should be going negative. The average voter, at this stage of the campaign, barely looks at the headlines. Unfortunately, one often will not understand how the liberal media distorts the truth unless they do some serious reading. Sadly, few people will put in that much effort.
“It is entirely possible that the guy (John Kerry) will self destruct in the next few weeks.”
President Bush should not take this for granted. Still, the liberal media can only protect John Kerry to a certain extent. The general public is only now starting to realize how indecisive he is. His flip flopping voting record is certain to harm his campaign.posted by: David Thomson on 03.10.04 at 02:42 PM [permalink]
Regarding the veepstakes, Kerry's biggest problem is going to be finding a veep who doesn't upstage him. McCain? Has more personality in his fingernail than Kerry. Edwards? Similarly, more charisma in his fingernail. Hillary? The drama that swarms around the Clintons alone would upstage him.
Incidentally, as a 2000 McCain supporter, McCain on the ticket would probably actually persuade me to vote for Kerry, but as a former Arizona resident familiar with McCain's humor, I share Charlie's assessment of the subtext to his comment.posted by: Nicole on 03.10.04 at 02:42 PM [permalink]
It's already boring the Democrats.
I ran a link yesterday to Tom Glavin's place, wherein Tom noted a very low Democrat turnout in the primaries this year... a point which is not being reported, for the most part.
" Citing varying percentages of high voter "anger," the media networks failed to note that primary voters were, by the vast majority, partisan Democrats. The news that these primaries were the third lowest on record fly in the face of the media theory that Democrats were rushing to make their voices heard and show their dislike for President Bush. "
Indeed, so bad is it, that:
"Democratic turnout was 11.4%! "
To my mind this, confirms Dan's point about it being a long campaign..They have nothing to go on... and the rank and file knows it.
It would also seem to explain the level of vitriol coming from the left this cycle; the press has been getting, polling, and interviewing the most extreme 11% of the party, who are trying with some desperation to light a fire under the remaiing 89%. What would you expect them to sound like?
Of course the press will never tell us this...posted by: Bithead on 03.10.04 at 02:42 PM [permalink]
We just had the Texas primary.
Nobody voted. Why? Because everything has already been decided.posted by: TexasToast on 03.10.04 at 02:42 PM [permalink]
" I must admit that I underestimated the effectiveness of these lying scum bags."
Such a long response to come to this? Just saying "I was wrong" would be enough.
David, I am not predicting who will win. But you kid yourself if you think Bush is the hands on favorite. Bush is in big trouble. The economy is not doing well where it matters politically. And the lack of WMDs also hit hard.posted by: GT on 03.10.04 at 02:42 PM [permalink]
Let's do a little experiement, shall we?
The unemployment rate is not particularly relevant this time around. it is low because so many people have simply abandoned the job search.posted by: GT on 03.10.04 at 02:42 PM [permalink]
I'd vote Kerry-McCain over Bush-whoever, for sure. but I'd have to be a little worried about having a Pres and Veep with such divergent views. As it stands now, the President is the world's biggest assassination target, and the Secret Service have plenty of work to do keeping him safe. If the Veep is on the opposite end of the political spectrum, that provides lots of extra motivation for crazies who would seek political change with bullets or bombs.posted by: Steve on 03.10.04 at 02:42 PM [permalink]
The unemployment rate is not particularly relevant this time around. it is low because so many people have simply abandoned the job search.
If so, then won't that be reflected in a lower per shousehold income figure?
I doubt they ARE all that divergent.
McCain bashing is so pre-9/11. McCain-Feingold is turning into the best thing that ever happened to the GOP, as it is going to put Kerry in a money bind. McCain himself is foursquare behind Iraq and the War on Terror, and would even be harder on North Korea. He's pro-life, pro-Israel, pro free-trade. The main divergences between he and the President at this point are taxes and deficits. And this is not the sort of thing a sane partisan mutters "RINO" under his breath about.
I chant?posted by: GT on 03.10.04 at 02:42 PM [permalink]
McCain bashing is so pre-9/11. McCain-Feingold is turning into the best thing that ever happened to the GOP, as it is going to put Kerry in a money bind.
Is that not what one does, with a mantra?
Post a Comment: