Skip to comments.The GOP Convention Could Seal Kerry's Fate
Posted on 08/22/2004 6:35:25 AM PDT by kattracks
President George W. Bush and his Republican Party have been given a golden opportunity to possibly clinch the sale of a second Bush term.
Since George McGovern's presidential run in 1972, all presidential candidates have received a sizable bounce in the polls following their party conventions. But with the Democratic convention now a footnote in history, President Bush comes into his own convention knowing that Massachusetts Senator and Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry received little, if any, bounce in the polls.
To most who view political contests with a practiced and judicious eye, these polls matter little at this stage of the race, with the real significance of poll watching reserved for late-September until election day. Essentially, it is a way for campaign-weary journalist to create news, where there otherwise may not be anything of real consequence regarding the race.
When the conventions and summer are behind us, Americans resume their normal work week, kids go back to school, and presidential politics creeps into the conversation of millions.
The Democratic convention was a success as far as party continuity and thematic appeal, as those who watched would tell you. However, the numbers do not lie. As suspect and misleading as the polls can be, it has always been a near-absolute that after a convention, the candidate can expect a modest if not superlative bounce in his poll numbers.
Today, the race stands as it started before the DNC bash in Boston--dead even. But the dynamics have now shifted in favor of the Bush camp. With the Democrats back in their box and their convention stars out of the spotlight, Kerry must now wait for the GOP convention in New York. It is here where Bush can inflict heavy damage on Kerry, possibly enough to leave a lasting impression until Election Day.
Though many Democrats feel that the race is Kerrys to lose, Republicans will tell you to wait until their convention begins. Bush has a history of rising to the expectations associated with a major speech, and the party faithful will expect as much now. Arguably, this will be the most important speech Bush will give since his noteworthy address to Congress and the world on September 20, nine days after the nation was attacked.
For Bush, he will go into this convention with the wind at his back. Assuming the polls stay grounded within the margins of error, Bush will have a committed and consolidated Republican base not seen since the presidency of Ronald Reagan. He will have plenty of pre- and post-convention cash on hand. Bush will have a record of accomplishment to run on, something that John Kerry went out of his way not to point to during his own convention.
Bush will also be a short cab-ride from the hallowed confines of Ground Zero, literally two miles away from Madison Square Garden. This will not be lost upon the watching electorate. With the third anniversary of September 11 mere days away, the GOP will cast an aura of tragic yet heroic remembrance of the victims and their families, and trumpet the leadership of the president who has kept America safe since that awful day.
Further, Bush will stress to the country his ability to lead. His one-time campaign line that America has turned a corner and is not turning back is designed to cast Kerry as a tax-and-spend liberal, fickle on defense and the fight against terrorism, and no desire to advance American leadership around the world.
While Kerry has made much of Democratic Party unity, it is Republicans who have the more committed voters today. Typical Kerry voters cannot give reasons for their allegiance to him, but can readily give voice as to why anybody but Bush will do.
Bush can point to something the Democratic Party cannot, and that is his accomplishments during his first term. His successful war against terrorism and the rising economic outlook will be his twin towers of strength for his conservative base. For his more moderate supporters, he can point to legislation such as the No Child Left Behind Act, and the Medicare/Prescription drug bill. For social conservatives, Bush can point to the partial-birth abortion bill, and his proposed Constitutional Amendment against gay marriage.
In Boston last week, voters heard John Kerry mouth such banalities as ''We can do better'' and ''I will do more,'' but virtually omitting the fine print of just what he plans to actually do.
Expect President Bush to also unveil his plan for a second term at the convention. He will promote Social Security savings accounts and call for his previous tax cuts to be made permanent. In recent days, he has called for troop reductions within the broad theater of Europe--some 170,000 troops and family members. He will call for meaningful tax reform, meaning a serious look at the IRS and ways to eliminate its impact. Most importantly, he will stress to the American people that the war against terror will not end regardless who is elected on November 2.
For his part, John Kerry can do little but react. The ''Swift Boat Veterans for Truth'' ads and book sales have rattled his campaign. Kerry has not answered the questions put forth to him by the vets--any more than he has answered the question about what he would do in Iraq. For Kerry, the object has always been to somehow adopt all possible positions without ever committing to one. In the end, this will be his undoing.
The GOP convention is a golden opportunity to force Senator Kerry to play ''ketch-up,'' and force Kerry to define himself yet again to the electorate. If Republicans are bold in their ideas come convention time, Kerry will have a hard time doing what he has to date failed to do: capturing the voters attention with reasons as to why they should vote for him. With two months left until Election Day, there will be little reason to think that Kerry could offer something now. The ''anybody but Bush'' candidate could have much to worry about on the morning of September 3.
About the Writer: Vincent Fiore is a freelance writer and activist who resides in New York City. Vincent receives e-mail at Anwar004@aol.com.
I pray that you are correct. Nice analysis.
Just got one BIG question. Because there are so many people galvanized in each camp there seems to be few people whose vote would be considered flexible. What if President Bush, like Kerry gets no bump or a negative bump from his convention? We made lot's of hay about Kerry's lack of a bump.......it could also happen here.
Want to join in the fun? Click the logo to donate to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth!
Don't count your chickens...
True, but I think he'll have even more to worry about the morning of November 3...
Nobody likes to say they voted for a loser.
Bump! There's no question in my mind President Bush will put that joker away. He'll demonstrate to the country real leadership is not based on empty talk and poll-tested platitudes. Its having a real record of accomplishments to run on. When the chips are down, there will be no real comparison. Bush will be in a class unto himself.
Don't over-rate kerry's 'supporters'. They're really wobbly. I've been talking to several of them who are seriously questioning whether or not they'll vote for him. And this is in the heart of enemy territory, the People's Republic of Kalifornia. :=)
Veterans -- talk to friends, family, and co-workers. They'll listen to you more than they will to the 'media'.
I'm looking forward to see all the Effin' Kerry supporters outside the Gaaden getting sprayed with mace...
In 1980 cable was in its infantcy. There was the public channel, and at most one or two indpendents. A huge share of the audience watched the conventions. They networks caried a lot if not all of the convention activity.
By 2004 the major networks are down to an hour or so a night and not every night. The ratings are a fraction of what the were in 1980. There are 3 or 4 out of the 75 cable channels carrying the coventions and more than 65 channels are not.
It takes likely voters viewing the conventions to change minds and pick up control. When there are few if any centrist voters watching the conventions, there will be little if any bump.
Bush won't get much of a polling bump out of the Republican convention either.
Kerry gives his acolytes a thousand excuses - but no reason - to vote for him.''We can do better'' and ''I will do more"
Vote KerryHe'd tell you why, but you wouldn't understand it.
Fiore has written a good analysis and, IMO, Bush just needs to not make any mistakes between now and Nov. 2. The Swift Boat vets have gotten Kerry so unhinged that his campaign is falling apart as he tries to find new ways to manufacture new stories about his Vietnam days so he doesn't have to answer the questions he is currently avoiding.
As more peoplke are beginning to realize that Kerry is hiding something about his background (such as he has NOTHING - ABSOLUTELY NOTHING after being a Prosecutor, Lt. Governor and spending the last 20 years in the Senate; he has nothing but 4 fraudulent months in 'Nam) and the longer he ducks the questions, the more questions arise.
Also, notice something else about Kerry's campaign - we haven't heard anything from his running mate, John Edwards, in awhile. What's Edwards thinking while all of this Swift Boat controversy is raging? He issued the challenge for anyone to spend three minutes with Kerry and defy that Kerry is a war hero; well, the Swiftees took him up on it and look at the reception it has received. Edwards may be re-thinking his second banana slot on the ticket.
I pray that you are correct. Nice analysis.
I'm not so sure.
Many FReepers have stated in recent months their displeasure with Bush over Prescription Drugs, Education, etc. Some have said they'll sit out the election.
If 10% of conservatives stay home, Kerry will win.
It's time for the pouters & purists to wake up.
"The ''anybody but Bush'' candidate could have much to worry about on the morning of September 3."
Like Terazor dumping him like a bad habit within a year. I'll bet she's already wondering if she bought a zero instead of a hero.
That may well be true.
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