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Saturday, October 23, 2004

VDH: How To Lose An Election

Victor Davis Hanson: Kerry’s Dilemma (Hat tip: LGF)

There is a good chance that no matter what Kerry says or does in the final two weeks of this election — barring some major catastrophe in Iraq, a presidential gaffe, or massive voting irregularity — he will lose. And he may well take much of the Democrats' remaining control of government down with him. After all, Putin wants Bush, while Arafat prefers Kerry — and that is all we need to know. But besides the obvious concerns of national security and Kerry's own failure in any honest fashion to offer a coherent and principled alternative course of action to defeat the terrorists, there are more subtle, insidious factors at play that will, I think, preclude his election.

I thought John Kerry clearly won the first debate, lost the second, and did worse in the third. Most Americans, however, apparently disagreed, since many polls showed that respondents thought Kerry won all three. We hear of mayhem daily in Iraq; news on the economic front is mixed; and an entire host of surrogates has defamed George Bush in a manner not seen in decades during a political campaign. Why, then, does Kerry gain little traction, trail in most polls, and perhaps even start to slip further? After all, he is a hard campaigner, has a razor-sharp memory, speaks well, looks statesmanlike at times, raises lots of money, and has a mobilized base working hard for his election.

At least six reasons come to mind that have little to do with issues or substance, but everything to do with style, character, and judgment.

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