Sunday, May 23, 2004

Bad Advice

I don't quote Dick Morris to make fun of him (honest!) I exhibit his columns when they provide instructive examples of Clintonthink, which must be kept down.

Today Dick Morris actually praises the President's leadership on the War on Terror. He goes on to say that neither Kerry nor Nader will provide that quality of leadership. But he repeats four errors from the Clinton Spin Machine:

Moral Equivalence.
"[Bush's] commitment to principle and stubbornness may lead him to pursue the democratization of that savage land, but unless he gets a dose of reality soon, it will cost him re-election. "
In fact, Bush's commitment to principle is what keeps his head above water. He has annoyed conservatives with liberal programs, he has annoyed liberals with conservative judges, he has annoyed the centrists with his idealism. He survives that by being uncomplaining, positive, dedicated, and sincere--in a word, respectable.

Style over Substance
Since 9/11, no event has rivaled that excruciating day in impact and lasting effect. But the Abu Ghraib scandal comes close. Its effect on this election and on our self-image is likely to be considerable unless and until Bush rescues us from his miscalculations and errors.
Is there anyone who believes this? Besides pundits, I mean.

Every Week Is Election Week
More depressing than his diminished fortunes is the difficulty in seeing how he can emerge. There is no issue on which a majority of voters rate him positively. Bush could once depend on terrorism and Iraq to provide the potential for gains. But in latest Gallup Poll, he gets a 47 percent vote share, but only a 41 percent positive rating on handling the war in Iraq. And only 44 percent report feeling the invasion was worth it. So the bars Bush could once have grasped to pull himself up and raise his vote share above 50 percent are no longer there.
Why is this week's poll more decisive than last week's? Or the one taken the week before? Especially since nobody will mention this poll after two weeks?

You Do What Sells, Don't Sell What You Do
As outrage grows over the war in Iraq, catalyzed by the shameful and shocking mishandling of Iraqi prisoners of war, the left expects Kerry to step up to the challenge and run against what it perceives to be a latter-day Vietnam. But Kerry, anxious to preserve his centrist credentials and to assure Americans of his toughness in the War on Terror, seems intent on talking about everything but Iraq.

Bush must choose between insisting on democracy in Iraq and continuing to provide America the leadership it needs in fighting the War on Terror in other places.
What is so radically impossible about shaping public opinion?

By November 2nd, Iraq will have had 93 days of transition government and be less than two months from national elections, we should be in our twelfth consecutive month of job growth, and America will have witnessed a solid week of live, prime-time Byrd, Pelosi, Kennedy, Gephardt, Dean, Kerry, Biden, Waters et al. at the Boston Unconventional. Solid reasons to believe in re-election.

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