When is a first strike not a first strike?
When it's Anticipatory Retaliation.

September 16, 2004

At The Gates of Moscow

Bravo Romeo Delta

I officially announce the upcoming Presidential Election to be over.

Now before we start sliding into triumphalism, let me just give the quick once over on what it is that I'm on about.

First, this a thumbnail sketch based on some fairly recent polling data. (Courtesy Ace Of Spades)

Remember kids, polling data shifts.

Second is what I'm not on about. I'm not talking the relative policy merits.

I'm not on about whether or not Kerry is "French-looking" or whether or not Bush really is Hitler.

I'm just talking about campaign (in the military sense) strategy and how it's unfolding in this contest.

Basically, what we have here, is the tipping point.

First, there was the Democratic Dud, the Blah in Boston, the DNC. But I wrote that off to a relatively polarized electorate, and the difficulty the Democratic Party seems to have in coming up with a message that will both energize their base and appeal to the center.

Then there was a lot of optimism about hitting the tipping point with the Madison Square Massacre, the Republican Rampage, the RNC. But conventions are notorious for producing false signals - that's why it's called a "bounce."

And then there was the thing about the SwitVets ads. I had heard about those guys sometime back last November. I didn't think it was going to be this big a problem for the Kerry campaign, because, frankly, I thought Kerry was a more skilled politician.

And now with the 60 minutes thing.

The first two, we can attribute flat-out bad campaign management (whatever the cause of that turns out to be), the third to equally bad politics over at ChronicBullShitters.

With the first two items, the convention and the SwiftVet ads, we get two media events. The first part of which show that Kerry can't carry water on his positives. The RNC, by contrast, showed that Bush was relatively successful at selling his positives. (And yes, I know that conventions sell both the positives and the negatives, but bear with me here).

Then the Swift Boat ads come out, and add some significant weight to Kerry's negatives.

The killer, however, has been the Rather immolation on the heels of the Estrich explosion and the Kerry combustion (plus healthy dashes of frenetic screaming from Gore and Dean). The twist that Rather's put on the whole thing (and is exacerbating by stonewalling) is that now even Bush's negatives have weak credibility.

If you look at it, Kerry's behind the 8-ball in all four categories - his positives, Bush's positives, his negatives, and Kerry's negatives.

What this means is that a strong permanent bump of a few percentage points may unfold. For not only is there the immediate shift in the battleground states (which are drifting towards becoming Bush's base), much of Kerry's base is now fair game. To cap it all off, the percentage of folks who are already convinced Bush is going to win keeps climbing.

So, all said and done, Kerry will start having to spend money to shore up his base. To do that he either has to concede the battleground states (and the election), risk his base (iffy proposition if Bush starts poaching Illinois or California), or spend more money. The problem is, however, once the writing appears to be on the wall, fundraising gets much more difficult for the loser and easier for the heir-apparent.

This could start snowballing, at which point Kerry can just stay home on election day. And that's the reason that I'm now calling 'tipping point'.

There are, undoubtedly, some who are chalking this up to clever machinations by Rove, but honestly, I think it lives a bit deeper than that.

I think this is due to the fact that much of the Democratic Party apparatus confused Clintons charisma and natural political skills with the problem of running an efficient and effective campaign. And Kerry ain't no Clinton.

I think this will break out to roughly 45-55 nationwide. Kerry's strong base runs about 33% or so, and if he's lucky he can retain his weak base and some swings to the tune of about 10% or so. But with the latter, he's going to have difficulty getting them to the polls. Bush will get a healthy majority in the Electoral College, but I don't forsee a absolute wipeout (and landslide, perhaps). In any case, it will be enough to give him a much better on legitimacy this time around.

I could be wrong, but as long as the Kerry campaign seems to have a) hit rock bottom, and b) continues to dig, I won't be expecting to see a Kerry landslide. But, as always, caveat emptor, because 48 days is a lot of time for the unexpected and unforeseen.

If you recall, it took less than 48 days for the US to flush Iraq, and hell, it took less than 48 hours for the world to change three Septembers ago.

Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at September 16, 2004 04:03 AM
mypetjawa v. 2.0 (beta) Retaliates with: Beef: It's what's for breakfast
marcland Retaliates with: The Tipping Point
Anticipatory Retaliation Retaliates with: Election Vindicates Jackosnian Views?
The Jawa Report Retaliates with: Election Vindicates Jackosnian Views?
Demosophia Retaliates with: Election Vindicates Jackosnian Views?

Retaliatiory Launches

I like that analysis. The Kerry campaign has hired 5 new people to help; one of them specifically to handle or "discipline" Kerry. The others you can see in the changes of his speeches, the use of "W" for "Wrong" his background image when he has a campaign speech. But Kerry has a very bad Senatorial track. For each time he pulls something really stupid and blames Bush for, he shoots himself in his foot because Bush is not to blame, he is and anyone with any knowledge of how Congress works, would know that; unfortunately most don't. You also have your radical straight-line, hardline Democrat who will vote for him even if they don't like him. He's also promised to bring the troops home within a year, so many want to believe that, so his score is higher than it should be. Things like the Dan Rather bit will stay in people's minds because all they are listening to is the television, which is slanted and newspapers. They are not on computers reading, learning and gaining knowledge to make the right decision. It is really frustrating.

Good to see you again. CB is back up, too.

Posted by: firstbrokenangel at September 16, 2004 06:29 AM

The Kerry folks are no doubt saying "wait until the debates." But then, Al Gore's folks thought he would bury Bush in debates as well.

As I see it, that's Kerry's last stand, and he needs to slam-dunk flatten Bush in both of them in order to get any traction from it. Based on the past performance of both men, that doesn't seem likely.

That little plastic thingy in Kerry's side has just popped.

Posted by: MartiniPundit at September 17, 2004 07:53 PM

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