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Problems for Kerry?

An interesting hook in the first paragraph drew me to this piece in Monday's Washington Post (Registration Required - try BugMeNot for a working username/password):

It's the summer right before the presidential election. The president's approval numbers have sunk, and he finds himself in the midst of a dangerous international crisis. Many pundits have written him and his policies off, when he says with the straight talk that has become his trademark, "We will stay in Berlin."

It was June 1948 and the president was Harry S. Truman, who bucked conventional wisdom, the Russians, the French and some of his closest advisers to begin a historic airlift of food and supplies to the embattled German city. By September, pollster Elmo Roper had announced that Republican challenger Thomas E. Dewey was so far ahead, any more polling was a waste of time and money. You know the rest of the story.

Now, substitute Baghdad for Berlin, and you'll see that the summer of 2004 has both striking similarities to 1948 and some big differences that put President Bush in a far better position than many might think. Like Truman, Bush is being criticized by the media and political elites for his lack of sophistication and for some very difficult military decisions. Bush would no doubt have differed with his predecessor on some issues, but he shares with him a penchant for plain talk, a stiff backbone -- and a tough reelection battle.

The problem for Kerry is he's no Thomas Dewey. Given the bad news barrage heaped on the President and in the run-up to the Democratic National Convention Kerry should have a 10-15% lead - he doesn't.
To listen to Democrats and various talking heads over the past few weeks, you might conclude that Bush, like Truman in '48, is on the political ropes, with his campaign reeling and his reelection hopes in serious doubt. Independent pollster John Zogby has gone so far as to declare flatly on his Web site that "John Kerry will win the election."

But that pronouncement ignores the fact that the race today is, for all practical purposes, a statistical dead heat. Kerry has stalled when he should be surging. This is a remarkable development given the events of the past two months, highlighted by Bush's slipping numbers and a veritable wall of bad news from Iraq through which no positive message or news -- economic or otherwise -- has been able to penetrate.

As voters are bombarded 24-7 with disgusting prisoner abuse photos and endless stories of chaos in Iraq, as Democratic invective reaches new lows and gas prices new highs, Bush hangs tough in the polls. The lesson in this should be sobering to Kerry supporters. If Kerry can't get himself solidly ahead in what is likely the most unfavorable political environment Bush has faced since taking office, he's got a problem -- potentially a big one.

If this story (not widely reported yet) or this story pan out he might have some real problems on his hands.


Comments (8)

""...Kerry should have a... (Below threshold)
adaplant:

""...Kerry should have a 10-15% lead..."

Interesting statistic you pull out of your nether region. You do this often?

How very unsanitary, un-scientific and disingenuous.

What is scary, is that Bush... (Below threshold)

What is scary, is that Bush fans will stick with him no matter how poor his decisions.

Sarah, you almost make it s... (Below threshold)

Sarah, you almost make it sound like Kerry is a better choice. Remember, we get 50 women to choose from for Miss America, but only 2 dolts for president.

I'll settle for 20% with Bush than 4% plus higher taxes with Kerry.

Kerry will do better than G... (Below threshold)

Kerry will do better than Gore -- he'll win his home state.

He may not win any others, but he'll win his home state.

Marble, I object! You have ... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Marble, I object! You have a flagrantly wrong and fallacious piece of information in your posting, and as such that discredits everything you write there, you've ever written, or ever will write! There are actually 51 candidates for Miss America. Washington, DC sends a contestant, too.

I found the best piece of advice on voting for president in an old, semi-obscure book called "Dark Horse." In it, the longshot Democratic nominee (a New Jersey turnpike commissioner who gets the nod after the first nominee dies after the convention) is suffering from extreme self-doubt. He actually gets reassurance from his opponent.

"Eddie, don't ask yourself if you're the best man for the job. You're not. Ask yourself if you're the best man who's running for the job."

It isn't a matter of thinking that Bush can do no wrong. It's down to "who will serve the nation better -- Bush or Kerry?" I've lived next to Kerry's home state all my life, and I've lived under Bush's presidency for almost 3.5 years. Bush has made some screwups, and I'm less than thrilled with many of his policies, but I still think he'll do better than Kerry.

Hell, I'd almost vote for Neil Bush before Kerry.

J.

J, I was correct in my stat... (Below threshold)

J, I was correct in my statement. I am a programmer, and since in the languages that I know all counting begins with 0, when I say an array contains n, n+1 is assumed.

dim Contestants(50) as MissAmericans

Besides, Miss DC never wins....

The problem for Kerry is... (Below threshold)
Paul:

The problem for Kerry is he's no Thomas Dewey.

HEH- That's the most damning thing I've read about him yet!

Marble:To quote th... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Marble:

To quote the leftover steak in the freezer:

Curses, foiled again...

J.




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