The River

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Kerry's problem

The war on terrorism is THE issue of this presidential campaign.

Josh Marshall was musing on a possible signature message for the Kerry campaign, one that can define the candidate and serve as an umbrella for a host of other sub-themes.

Currently, the broad war on terrorism Bush campaign theme is: We removed a dictator threatening our safety. America is safer because I am taking the fight to the terrorists rather than sitting back and waiting for them to attack. Fighting them over there instead of over here. And we’re not turning back.

It’s working.

Kerry’s theme has changed practically weekly. Last I checked, it was: W stands for wrong. The wrong war at the wrong time in the wrong place.

His problem with this slogan is that the average voter will wonder, “Why are you complicating something so straightforward as war lust? You want to go back to when we were sitting ducks waiting to be attacked?”

Marshall asked readers for ideas on a new, hopefully killer theme for Kerry. I thought of a few likely candidates (no pun intended), although they aren’t in slick, refined slogan form.

Where is Osama?

Kerry’s problem: Bush could pull Osama(or an actor) out of a hat. We got him! Told you we were working on it.

Iraq war not worth it.

Kerry’s problem: Kerry puts a limit on how much he’d spend to protect you.

Are you safer than you were four years ago?

Kerry’s problem: Yep. No attacks on American soil.

Iraq is a mess. I would conduct this war better. (this was a message at one time)

Kerry’s problem: Americans don’t see Iraq as a mess, just a struggle against terrorists. We’re having problems over there because they hate freedom.

I would have been on the job on 9/11.

Kerry’s problem: How can you criticize our President who was as surprised as we were on that day? How can you politicize their deaths?

We need to consider foreign relations in our war on terrorism.

Kerry’s problem: Bush is stronger on the war issue; he would never ask for a permission slip to protect Americans.

Bush is creating more terrorists in the war on terrorism.

Kerry’s problem: You can’t reason with terrorists’ insane desire to kill Americans. They are barbaric.

War is not the answer.

Kerry’s problem: None. This is the only point of attack that works. It is discredited in the media, but, given a skilled messenger, the people would respond to it anyway, because it is the truth.

Our problem: Howard Dean knew that, and that made him too dangerous. The media conspired to scuttle his campaign. The fact that Dean talked about busting up media concentration didn’t help.

The bandwagon effect of losing the presidency is going to hurt any legislator who runs in a contested area and the DLC will tank any progressive or Green who looks likely to rock their boat. The only way they'll learn is by a severe, crushing defeat. The only way to get the incompetents out of power is to thoroughly smash the campaign. We must destroy the Democratic presidential candidate's chances in order to save the country. Yes! Crush, kill, destroy! I must be channeling Ralph.
yeah, i should have said "the media and the Democratic establishment conspired"
People looking for Kerry campaign help should head over to the Rude Pundit's blog. When in doubt, go rude.
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