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GOP campaign themes and the Demo convention

Andrew Busch claims that the really interesting feature of the Democratic convention will be the insight it will provide into the Republican strategy for the Fall. As the Demo themes are developed during the convention, we should pay attention to how the GOP reacts to them; that will give us an insight into what they may be planning for the campaign. The two counterattacks against Kerry (that he is very Liberal, and that he is a flip-flopper) thus far have not worked well; they counteract each other. They should pick one and stick to it, he recommends branding him a Liberal. This has the advantage of both being true, and more useful politically. Yet, Busch warns,
the Republicans must begin giving a positive argument (a narrative, not a snapshot) as to why President Bush deserves another term. That should have two story lines, the economy and Iraq.    

Discussions - 3 Comments

I disagree that flip-flopping and being liberal are inconsistent. Indeed, the liberals’ lack of a firm commitment to the national security of the U.S. leads them to waffle. "Firmly wishy-washy" might be close to the idea I’m trying to communicate here.

In response to the above comment, calling Kerry "firmly wishy-washy" is clearly oxymoronic. I tend to agree with Dr. Schramm that the Republican Party would need to consolidate its rhetoric against Kerry into something slightly more cohesive.

As for whether or not the liberals have a firm commitment to national security, that remains to be seen. However, an opposition to the invasion of Iraq does not indicate a lack of devotion to American safety or sovereignty.

See my post this afternoon at The Remedy.

July 27, 2004
The GOP’s Portrayal of John Kerry

Claremont professor Andrew Busch rightly observes that Republicans’ strategy to date of portraying Massachusetts Senator John Kerry as a "flip flopper" has real limitations. Better, he argues, to remind the voters, with chapter and verse, of just how liberal Kerry is. But I suggest, as others have done, that there is no inconsistency between the two strategies. Why, after all, has Kerry been, and continue to be, so determined to avoid being pinned down? Obviously because he does not want to be identified as a liberal for this election, just as Bill Clinton did not in 1992 and 1996. Kerry bobs and weaves because he must if he is to have any chance of winning votes from the ranks of the undecided or unsure. But what sank Carter, Mondale and Dukakis could sink Kerry. Remember that Michael Dukakis tried to avoid being labeled a liberal. Towards the close of the 1988 campaign, many liberals began to resent the labeling of the Massachusetts Governor as merely "competent" as an insult to their cherished ideology. They wanted the real thing. Emphasizing that Kerry is both a liberal and a flip flopper could help ensure the same effect this year.

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