Tuesday, October 19, 2004
That Sticky L-Word
Knowing that Kerry would seek to win the domestic issues by promising the moon, Bush, in great jujitsu style, used the Democrat's strength against him, coming around his right flank adding up the cost of the promises and underscoring his adversary's liberalism.
Attacking a Democratic opponent as a liberal is a tactic the Bushes have used with success in the past. In the closing weeks of the 1992 campaign, President Bush pulled even with Clinton-Gore by labeling the Arkansas governor as liberal. (The highly political announcement of Iran-Contra Special Prosecutor Lawrence Walsh — five days before the election — that he planned to indict Reagan Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger likely gave Bill Clinton the bounce he needed to finish 5 points ahead of the president.)
And once again the attack seems to be working. Bush leads Kerry by 4 points in the Zogby tracking poll, 3 in the Rasmussen poll, 8 in the Gallup and 6 in Newsweek's.
The beauty of the Bush attack is that it is fueled as much by Kerry's proposals as by the Republican jabs. With every new speech, Kerry shows his liberalism and makes promises that dig him an ever deeper hole. Should he try to tack to the right to rebut the accusation, he will run into the old charge of flip-flopper and rekindle doubts about his ability to stick to a position.
People know Kerry is a liberal. Which means they know how he will react to new crises-- he'll revert to form, no matter what his stump speech now says. That's why the Bushes have been succesful with the tag-- because people know in their hearts that the Bushes are right. And that their opponents are left, far left.