Skip to comments.Fred Barnes: Contemplating the L-word
Posted on 06/27/2003 9:09:40 PM PDT by Pokey78
THE POLITICAL STARS are suddenly aligned for President Bush for a smashing re-election victory in 2004. This doesn't guarantee he'll win. And it doesn't preclude anything of political significance changing the situation between today and Election Day 16 months from now. What it does mean, though, is that if all goes as expected--and that's a big "if"--Bush will be in an extremely strong position against his Democratic opponent.
The stars consist of six factors, all of which appear favorable to Bush at the moment. They are: an improving economy, a successful war, a big domestic triumph, a boatload of campaign money, an opposition party in disarray, an a discredited big media. Let's look at each one.
The Improving Economy. The index of leading indicators is positive. The best indicator, the stock market, has soared 20 percent since March. There is anecdotal evidence of an uptick in IPOs and mergers and acquisitions. And the economic fundamentals are sound, particularly low interest rates and inflation. Plus Bush's tax cuts go into effect July 1, which means there's plenty of economic stimulus. The only question mark--a big one--is capital investment. For sustained growth and a decrease in unemployment, it must come strongly into play. The expectation is it will, but that's only an expectation, not a sure thing.
A Successful War. Two, to be exact, first in Afghanistan, then in Iraq. On top of that, there's the war on terrorism, which has gone reasonably well, as evidenced by the absence of a major terrorist attack in the United States since the assaults on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001. The postwar occupation of Iraq has been rocky, but things are improving. "The postwar will determine the judgment on the war," says Democratic consultant Robert Shrum. He may be right, and that should make the Bush forces nervous. Still, the overriding issue in 2004, national security, is owned by Bush.
Big Domestic Issue. Tax cuts are not enough for a Republican president to run on, though they are politically helpful. A breakthrough in domestic policy is necessary. Bush will achieve that when a prescription drug benefit for senior citizens is enacted, probably this summer. Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle could have passed one and gotten credit for Democrats. Now Bush will get the credit.
A Ton of Money. Democrats insist the drug benefit will be trumped by the larger issue of health care itself. Not a chance. Bush intends to raise $200 million, giving him funds galore for TV ads touting the long-sought Medicare benefit as a glorious Bush accomplishment. Clinton used his re-election money for television spots in 1995 that set him up for easy re-election the next year. Bush is in a position to do the same. His Democratic foe won't come to close to matching his money.
Democrats in Disarray. One of the reasons Republican consultant Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies throws around the L-word ("Landslide") is the sad state of the Democratic party. "Never before have we witnessed what's happened since the [September 11] attack: a sustained, almost two-year period where Americans have rated the Republican party higher on a thermometer than the Democratic party," he said. Republican leaders are considerably more popular than Democrats. Democrats are weak among independent and swing voters. Only 18 percent of voters in a Public Opinion Strategies survey are convinced any of the Democratic presidential candidates "can handle terrorism." And Democrats are conflicted on issue after issue--war in Iraq, Medicare, taxes, guns.
Discredited Media. Rarely have the major media outlets--TV network news, big newspapers, newsmagazines--been as embarrassingly wrong as they were in covering the war in Iraq. They were defeatist, exaggerating minor battlefield glitches as the American forces raced to victory. Dick Morris, once a political adviser to Clinton, argues in his new book "Off With Their Heads" that the era of media dominance in politics is over. Big media is no longer trusted, he writes. To the extent this is true, it helps Bush, since the national press is not his friend.
Again, the caveats. Nothing is assured. One can imagine a Democratic ticket--Lieberman-Graham perhaps--that would be competitive. Political scientist Larry Sabato calculates the 2004 contest now with 278 electoral votes probable or leaning for Bush and 260 for the Democratic challenger. That's a Bush lead, but not a landslide. And, of course, it's only a projection. But you have to like Bush's chances a lot better than any Democrat's at the moment.
Only one can imagine it... and his name is Fred. Unfortunately that thought makes the rest of the article tripe. Bush will fight till the votes are cast, counted, and recounted 8 times if necessary
Yeah, fearless Freddie, but you gotta never forget that 43 percent of the voting public will vote for the democRAT no matter if his name is Adolph Hitler!
To be perfectly honest, I didn't care for Nancy much myself, the stories from Ronald Reagan's own staff was enough to make my hair stand on end. But I totally respect her for the way she cared for her husband. I believe Nancy understood that the only person that mattered to her was Ronnie and everyone else could go pound sand. Much like Dubya, Ronnie has a wife that loves him.
Bush didn't turn out to be a drunkard or a coke addict in office. He didn't turn out to be a neophyte at handling foreign affairs. He didn't turn out to be dumb or to stumble in front of political dignataries. He didn't turn out to so "divide" the nation that Washington was held up in some kind of "do-nothing" gridlock, either.
The War in Iraq turned out to NOT be about oil or Haliburton. There was no "quagmire".
China didn't try to start up a nuclear arms race to compete with our ABM system after Bush killed the U.S. - CCCP ABM treaty, as predicted by countless pundits.
Contrary to the wild-eyed claims of the eco-nazis, killing the Kyoto Treaty didn't cause the sea level to rise 18 feet. In fact, 2003 just witnessed the *coldest* recorded Spring in American history.
So you can take all of those failed claims off the table for the 2004 election. Oh sure, a few of the extremists will rehash those failed lines anyway, but they are assured to get no traction from the mainstream public from them now that they have been so discredited.
Moreover, there's no super-secret "scandal" waiting in the wings to be sprung onto Bush's campaign at the 11th hour. The old drunk-driving arrest simply won't replay in 2004.
...And the Democrats couldn't beat Bush back in 2000 when they had a great economy, a great fundraiser, near-total control of the media, as well as all of the above lies and "scandals" with which to attack Bush. In fact, Bush wasn't even a household name in most of America prior to 1999.
None of that applies to today, however.
So not only are the Democrats short on the above ammo, and not only is Bush in a stronger position, but the Democrats have so-far managed to only field a crowd of 9 nobodies to run against Bush.
At best those 9 candidates are mere placeholders. Possibly, just possibly, and due only to his wife's money, Kerry could get tagged for the VP candidacy by Gore.
You haven't forgotten about Gore, have you? Unless Kerry can convince Gore to run and win the governship this year in California, Gore is going to jump back into the Presidential race and "shock" the nation with his timing (likely *after* the Presidential debates so that he won't have to be embarassed by Bush again). Then Gore gets to select from Kerry, Hillary, or Dean for his choice as his VP candidate.
No matter. Gore "shocking" the nation by jumping back into the Presidential race will only be good for two NY Times and Washington Post editorials, plus a couple of TV interviews. Ok, OK, Gore will save the Dems from a 47 to 3 state rout at the hands of Bush/Cheney/Rove. Who knows, Gore might be able to do as well as lose by only 38 states, taking some of the pain away from the Dems losing as many as 6, yes up to six Senate seats in 2004.
You heard it here first.
I dunno. What can anyone do with or to some 50 million people? Move away from them?
Ugh. The stock market was inflated by a bubble starting around 1995. It did not accurately indicate what the economy was going to do. The correction of the bubble and overinvestment was the main cause of the recent recession, not an indicator for it. The current mini-bubble will deflate even as the economy improves.
Did you fall and hit your head today?
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