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Flanking maneuver: How Kerry could exploit discontent on Bush's right
Metro West Daily News ^ | March 7, 2004 | Rick Holmes

Posted on 03/07/2004 11:17:12 AM PST by Kuksool

Within hours of John F. Kerry's last challenge of the primary season to "bring it on," George W. Bush brought it on. In commercials and campaign speeches, Bush has Kerry in his sights. The battle has been joined.

Kerry is a fighter, as he has already shown not just on the campaign trail but in the jungles of Vietnam. In the Mekong Delta, Kerry went straight at the enemy, beaching his Navy swift boat and charging ashore, when more prudent commanders would have chosen evasion or retreat.

But there's a different strategy Kerry should consider as he maps out his general election campaign: A flanking maneuver on Bush's right.

Kerry is already taking a beating for what the Bushies characterize as a record of flip-flops (when they aren't characterizing it as a record of consistent, unabashed liberalism, that is). So Kerry should be careful about changing long-held positions. But he shouldn't hesitate to present his positions as evolving. Ordinary voters have seen their own positions evolve on issues like Iraq, taxes, deficits and gay rights. They'll forgive a candidate with the guts to simply say, "I've changed my mind."

But to mount a challenge to Bush's right, Kerry need not change his mind, just his emphasis and some of his language. Consider a few lines Kerry could work into his new stump speech:

Support the troops, not the defense contractors. While Halliburton is skimming millions in inflated charges, most of our troops in Iraq ride in unarmored Humvees more suited to suburban malls than battle zones. They write home asking for body armor instead of cookies. They order boots from LL Bean because the army-issue boots can't handle the desert. Kerry should hold the Bush Administration responsible.

Stop the unfunded mandates. In Republican Utah, the state House has voted to reject No Child Left Behind because the cost far outweighs the new federal school aid. Either provide the funding promised by NCLB and the federal special education law, Kerry should say, or drop the requirements.

Protect the homeland. Our ports are woefully unprotected, chemical plants are vulnerable and uninspected cargo is still being loaded onto passenger planes. Tom Ridge's color codes are a joke, not a plan. Kerry should promise to stop shortchanging homeland security.

Respect states' rights. John Ashcroft's federal agents have overridden the will of voters in several states that have approved the medical use of marijuana. He's gone to court to stop Oregon's assisted suicide law. Now Bush wants to make marriage a federal issue. Kerry should echo Reagan: Washington doesn't have all the answers.

Close the intelligence gap. We're counting on the same people who blew it on Iraq's WMD to find the insurgents in Iraq and terrorists around the world. Kerry should promise to fire CIA chief George Tenet and reform the intelligence structure from top to bottom.

Stop letting right-wing preachers set government policy. They are gagging Americans trying to stop the spread of AIDS overseas and stifling stem cell research here at home that could save countless lives. Kerry should promise to get the ideology out of government-funded science.

Mind your own business. Citing Bush's laundry list of social initiatives -- millions of taxpayers dollars to be spent on abstinence-only sex education, fighting steroid use, promoting marriage and mandatory school drug tests, for starters -- conservative commentator Andrew Sullivan calls Bush the "nanny-in-chief." Kerry would compromise no core Democratic values by promising a less meddlesome federal government.

Kerry should be able to criticize Bush's kowtowing to politicized preachers without offending people who take their religion seriously. He'll get few votes from Pat Robertson's audience anyway. But remember, Bush's faith-based initiative fell apart not because secular liberals opposed it, but because ministers didn't want their work infected by politics. Thinking people of all religious and political persuasions see the virtue of keeping some distance between government and church.

Bush is facing growing discontent among small-government conservatives over the deficit, the expansion of Medicare and federal intrusion into matters traditionally left to the states. The Patriot Act, the war on drugs and Bush's concessions to the religious right have irritated libertarian conservatives.

Kerry could exploit these divisions. Every time the Republicans jump on Kerry's liberalism, the Democrats should question whether Bush qualifies as a true conservative. Labels are a political game. By playing it smart, Kerry can at least blunt Bush's efforts to replay his father's 1988 attacks on Michael Dukakis.

At best, Kerry can make personal freedom a plank in the Democratic platform for years to come. That will win him votes in battleground states like New Hampshire and New Mexico. It could also put in play mountain states like Arizona, Nevada and Colorado, whose conservatism has always had a libertarian bent.

Conventional wisdom advises the Democratic nominee to retreat to the mushy middle, which, for Kerry, risks sapping the energy the primary campaign has generated in the Democratic base. Kerry should keep up the frontal assault that has gotten him this far -- but direct some carefully-targeted fire toward Bush's right flank, where opportunity awaits.


TOPICS: Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2004; antiwarright; bush43; conservatives; flipflop; kerry; nclb

1 posted on 03/07/2004 11:17:13 AM PST by Kuksool
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To: Kuksool
Kerry can say whatever he wants. There is no way I'm voting for him.
2 posted on 03/07/2004 11:18:39 AM PST by martin_fierro (A v v n c v l v s M a x i m v s)
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To: Kuksool
How is he going to challenge Bush on these issues, when if he was in charge, he would spend even more on the social adgenda and has proven that he would cut spending on the military? This whole article is a load of flipping horse crap!
3 posted on 03/07/2004 11:22:11 AM PST by Bommer (John Kerry = War Criminal!)
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To: Kuksool
It's pretty easy to see where this writer's sympathies lie.
4 posted on 03/07/2004 11:23:12 AM PST by Springfield45 (Bush WON, Democrats. Now YOU get over it.)
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To: Bommer
this guy is dreaming
5 posted on 03/07/2004 11:25:17 AM PST by raloxk
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To: raloxk
"Stop the unfunded mandates"

Democrats thrive on these
6 posted on 03/07/2004 11:25:40 AM PST by raloxk
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To: Kuksool
Good luck to Kerry in trying to accuse Bush of not supporting the troops when Kerry votes "No" on every single defense funding bill that comes down the pike. If it were up to him, we'd still be fighting with World War II era equipment. That'll really fly.
7 posted on 03/07/2004 11:27:57 AM PST by jpl
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To: Kuksool
Sure....a lib supporting national security, intelligence efforts, cutting unfunded mandates, etc. That'll happen....when pigs fly. Sorry lib/dems - you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
8 posted on 03/07/2004 11:30:06 AM PST by anniegetyourgun
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To: Kuksool
Kerry should flank right on illegal immigration. That would trip Rove up.
9 posted on 03/07/2004 11:31:24 AM PST by GraniteStateConservative (...He had committed no crime against America so I did not bring him here...-- Worst.President.Ever.)
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To: Kuksool
Kerry is a fighter, all right. He is a personification of Rambo, a robo-warrior, all fury and no judgment. It is like keeping a wolverine in the back yard, when he is activated. The remainder of the time he is in a state of near-somnambulant action, almost a zombie, going through motions, but with little animation. There is serious reason to believe the man is moving in cycles between high mania and deep depression.

John Kerry would be a much better person if they could find some way to damp down these mood swings. In a distracted moment, he could manage to engage this country in a major conflict, then be unable to pursue the necessary steps to resolve the situation thus created.
10 posted on 03/07/2004 11:33:44 AM PST by alloysteel
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To: Kuksool
But he shouldn't hesitate to present his positions as evolving. Ordinary voters have seen their own positions evolve on issues like Iraq, taxes, deficits and gay rights. They'll forgive a candidate with the guts to simply say, "I've changed my mind."

Only problem is, he just happened to change his mind on these items for obvious political reasons, not a real change of heart.

11 posted on 03/07/2004 11:34:01 AM PST by NYCVirago
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To: Kuksool
Why is Kerry afraid to release his full military records ?
12 posted on 03/07/2004 11:34:11 AM PST by Wild Irish Rogue
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To: martin_fierro
Taglinius Translati??:)

13 posted on 03/07/2004 11:35:51 AM PST by international american (Tagline!!)
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To: Kuksool
Correction: "The Patriot Act, the war on drugs and Bush's concessions to the religious right have irritated libertarian conservatives moral-liberals."
14 posted on 03/07/2004 11:41:15 AM PST by Cultural Jihad
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To: Kuksool
Take note, Yea Malcontents!
15 posted on 03/07/2004 11:44:53 AM PST by Cold Heat (In politics stupidity is not a handicap. --Napoleon Bonapart)
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To: martin_fierro
In the Mekong Delta, Kerry went straight at the enemy, beaching his Navy swift boat and charging ashore

and killed an injured enemy soldier!

16 posted on 03/07/2004 11:45:36 AM PST by Arrowhead1952 (John f'ing Kerry is a self-admitted war criminal.)
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To: GraniteStateConservative
There are four or five of you on Fr that have a one track mind.
17 posted on 03/07/2004 11:51:03 AM PST by cksharks (quote from)
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To: Kuksool
There is one problem for Kerry's rush to the middle - his name is Ralph Nader!!!

Bush voters are committed to Bush - 80-88% of them strongly committed (varies in different polls).

Kerry voters are far less committed (60 to 65% strongly committed).

The more Kerry trying to lurch (hahaha) to the middle, the more likely of a revolt over his far left, the more the threat of Nader.

This is why Nader is so lethal this time around, it is not that he will take votes away from Kerry this fall, but rather he will PREVENT Kerry to move to the middle where the general election result will decide.
18 posted on 03/07/2004 11:51:50 AM PST by FRgal4u
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To: Kuksool
As a public service to Rove and company, here's a quick, off-the-cuff refutal of this tripe (while I wait for NASCAR to get underway):

Support the troops, not the defense contractors. While Halliburton is skimming millions in inflated charges, most of our troops in Iraq ride in unarmored Humvees more suited to suburban malls than battle zones. They write home asking for body armor instead of cookies. They order boots from LL Bean because the army-issue boots can't handle the desert. Kerry should hold the Bush Administration responsible.

I could've swore a heap of that $87 million that John F'em Ke(rr)y voted against was earmarked for up-armored Humvees and body armor. I'll also bet if one dug through Ke(rr)y's voting record, you'll find a bunch of votes against the "little" stuff as well as the publicized votes against the F-14, F-15, F-16, B-1, B-2, AEGIS, the Tomahawk, M-1, M-2, et al.

Stop the unfunded mandates. In Republican Utah, the state House has voted to reject No Child Left Behind because the cost far outweighs the new federal school aid. Either provide the funding promised by NCLB and the federal special education law, Kerry should say, or drop the requirements.

If all the money hadn't been going to the overpaid, underperforming teachers, their union bosses, and their fellow unions in the construction trade, maybe, just maybe there would wouldn't be a cry for a massive tax hike (unfortunately, we're dealing with lieberals who would just fritter away the cash and change "No Child Left Behind" to "No Child Allowed Ahead").

Protect the homeland. Our ports are woefully unprotected, chemical plants are vulnerable and uninspected cargo is still being loaded onto passenger planes. Tom Ridge's color codes are a joke, not a plan. Kerry should promise to stop shortchanging homeland security.

We already federalized airport and seaport security. Considering Ke(rr)y has consistently shortchanged homeland security in the past, there's no indication that he would do anything constructive.

Respect states' rights. John Ashcroft's federal agents have overridden the will of voters in several states that have approved the medical use of marijuana. He's gone to court to stop Oregon's assisted suicide law. Now Bush wants to make marriage a federal issue. Kerry should echo Reagan: Washington doesn't have all the answers.

It sure seems that almost all the drug trade crosses a state border, thus making it fair game constitutionally. As for the defense of marriage, requiring 38 states to ratify a Constitutional amendment sure looks like the states are involved, while the lieberal plan to get an activist federal judge to require all states to honor and eventually adopt the lowest (un)common denominator smacks of federal abuse of judicial power run amok.

Close the intelligence gap. We're counting on the same people who blew it on Iraq's WMD to find the insurgents in Iraq and terrorists around the world. Kerry should promise to fire CIA chief George Tenet and reform the intelligence structure from top to bottom.

And Ke(rr)y, who never saw an intelligence bill he couldn't gut, is going to do that?

Stop letting right-wing preachers set government policy. They are gagging Americans trying to stop the spread of AIDS overseas and stifling stem cell research here at home that could save countless lives. Kerry should promise to get the ideology out of government-funded science.

Speaking of ideology, the last I checked, global warming (especially the human-caused variety), macroevolution and the Big Bang are unproved and unprovable theories, thus meeting the definition of ideology. I won't bring up the lowest (un)common denominator again (oops, I just did).

Mind your own business. Citing Bush's laundry list of social initiatives -- millions of taxpayers dollars to be spent on abstinence-only sex education, fighting steroid use, promoting marriage and mandatory school drug tests, for starters -- conservative commentator Andrew Sullivan calls Bush the "nanny-in-chief." Kerry would compromise no core Democratic values by promising a less meddlesome federal government.

Wrong; Ke(rr)y, IF HE WERE OF THAT FRAME OF MIND, would compromose THE core DemonRATic value; an all-intrusive federal government. What's worse, he is of the typical DemonRAT ilk.

Kerry should be able to criticize Bush's kowtowing to politicized preachers without offending people who take their religion seriously. He'll get few votes from Pat Robertson's audience anyway. But remember, Bush's faith-based initiative fell apart not because secular liberals opposed it, but because ministers didn't want their work infected by politics. Thinking people of all religious and political persuasions see the virtue of keeping some distance between government and church.

See Kalifornica's Supreme Kangaroo Court, which just imposed a social policy diametrically opposed to the Catholic Church on a Catholic charity because they had the audacity to try to do some social good.

Seeing I'm out of time to continue a point-by-point refutation, there's no way a HUGE-gubmint, Lowest UNcommon Denomonator DemonRAT like John F'em Ke(rr)y can repaint himself as a libertarian.

19 posted on 03/07/2004 11:52:03 AM PST by steveegg (You don't clean up 8 years of messes in 4, only to turn it over to Pigpen - W'04))
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To: wirestripper
{Take note, Yea Malcontents!}

I wouldn't be surprised if the malcontents on this board, who think of themselves as "true conservatives", actually end up voting for Kerry.
20 posted on 03/07/2004 11:55:02 AM PST by Kuksool
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To: Kuksool; Bommer; raloxk; martin_fierro
Not that I'd ever vote for Kerry, as the Democrats certainly are not going to do any different, other than (I would imagine) to pull out of Iraq and raise taxes...

But there are some issues out there that should be addressed.

The outsourcing / offshoring of good paying American jobs. Illegal immigartion from Mexico.

In Iraq, more up-armored Humvees, and more and better equipment for the troops that are on the ground in Iraq.

I would agree with this much in the article: "Respect states' rights. ... Washington doesn't have all the answers." (Though certainly electing Kerry would make the matters of Federal intrusion worse, not better).

I also am concerned that the USA PATRIOT act could be used against us ("religious extremists", "gun ownering radicals", whatever) if the Democrats were to regain power in the White House.

As to the "Stop letting right-wing preachers set government policy.", I hope that all the good Christian people who oppose Gay marriage show up at the polls on election day to vote Republican.

I'm worried about all the people who will vote Democrat because they're in a demographic group that always votes Democrat, or are the Union, or because they're worried about their job future and think (wrongly) that the Democrats can fix it, or they are disillusioned about all the negative media coverage on the continuing war in Iraq...
21 posted on 03/07/2004 11:57:46 AM PST by Screaming_Gerbil (Let's Roll...)
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To: Kuksool
How Kerry could exploit discontent on Bush's right

By "making" GWB make more concessions to Fox in Mexico, renew the AWB, and continue to rapidly expand the size of government?

22 posted on 03/07/2004 11:58:48 AM PST by Teacher317
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To: Kuksool
bttt
23 posted on 03/07/2004 11:59:36 AM PST by lainde (Heads up...We're coming and we've got tongue blades!!)
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To: Kuksool
On many issues, I am way to the right of President Bush. Bush's failure to secure our southern border, for example, is criminal. But, no matter what Kerry might SAY to try and convince me to support him, it won't work because I know him to be a liar, triator and scumbag who faked his military experience and discarded a first wife and turned his children into bas**rds.

Hanoi John can say what he wants. Yes, there is dissatisfaction with Bush's performance on the right. But, I just don't see that working to the advantage of a loser like the current husband of the Widow Heinz.

24 posted on 03/07/2004 12:01:58 PM PST by Tacis
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To: Kuksool
"Kerry is already taking a beating for what the Bushies characterize as a record of flip-flops (when they aren't characterizing it as a record of consistent, unabashed liberalism, that is)."

The author knows exactly who's being contradictory--and his attempt to lay a smokescreen fails. Kerry is an unabashed lefty, he flip-flops when he pretends not to be.

25 posted on 03/07/2004 12:06:17 PM PST by TimSkalaBim
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To: Kuksool
Kerry is a fighter, as he has already shown not just on the campaign trail but in the jungles of Vietnam.

and then after that he fought for the North Vietmanese and Viet Cong defeating America at home.

26 posted on 03/07/2004 12:08:18 PM PST by Missouri
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To: Kuksool
"At best, Kerry can make personal freedom a plank in the Democratic platform for years to come."

OK, explain how a gun who is for gun control, taking more taxpayers money, and increased government control and regulation is for "personal freedom"?
27 posted on 03/07/2004 12:09:11 PM PST by DugwayDuke
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To: Kuksool
If they do there're insane ,thats serves no purpose what so ever/I only hope they realize this
28 posted on 03/07/2004 12:09:55 PM PST by patriciamary
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To: Kuksool
"Stop letting right-wing preachers set government policy."

Bt extension of reasoning, one might assumed that "left-wing preachers" WOULD be acceptable.

29 posted on 03/07/2004 12:16:10 PM PST by cynicom
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To: Kuksool
LOL Helpful talking points from the unbiased media. (As if the left needs any more of 'em) ;)
30 posted on 03/07/2004 12:22:51 PM PST by Libertina
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To: Kuksool
Can I fet some of whaetever this guy is drinking (or smoking?)>p>

What a maroon.
31 posted on 03/07/2004 12:29:04 PM PST by don-o
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To: Kuksool
There are several items in this article that are true. I AM very much annoyed with things like the Patriot Act (nice name, by the way), the war on drugs, amnesty for illegals, etc.

However, there is not a single thing that John Kerry could do to get me to vote for him. Period. No matter how annoyed I get with Bush and his administration, unless he does something seriously screwed up between now and November, I will still vote for Bush.

That said, it would be pretty funny to watch Kerry try to run to the right.
32 posted on 03/07/2004 12:29:44 PM PST by small_l_libertarian
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To: don-o
Excuse my typos
33 posted on 03/07/2004 12:33:56 PM PST by don-o
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To: NYCVirago
They'll forgive a candidate with the guts to simply say, "I've changed my mind."

As I recall, Gore's position on abortion "evolved" as well and the media ate it up. Kerry will be painted as metromale who's not afraid to evolve! Bet this is going to be a catch phrase for his campaign.

34 posted on 03/07/2004 12:55:52 PM PST by Magnolia
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To: Kuksool
If Kerry did run on a low taxes and small government platform, he could win. I don't see it ever happening.
35 posted on 03/07/2004 12:59:37 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Kuksool

36 posted on 03/07/2004 1:00:31 PM PST by Nick Danger (I have patented the method of walking whereby you place one foot in front of the other)
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To: martin_fierro
T couldn't get beyond the second paragraph I was laughing so hard.
37 posted on 03/07/2004 1:08:20 PM PST by estpeter (I HATE taglines.)
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To: alloysteel
He is a personification of Rambo, a robo-warrior, all fury and no judgment

Well, Rambo went back to Vietnam to save his former brothers in arms.

Kerry did everything he could to trash and defeat them as soon as he got home.

Yes, I'm being picky here.

BTW, where is the barf alert on this article?
38 posted on 03/07/2004 1:39:46 PM PST by swilhelm73
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To: goldstategop
If Kerry did run on a low taxes and small government platform, he could win. I don't see it ever happening.

Maybe he could promise a middle class tax cut and to govern as a New Democrat...worked for the far left before.

Then again, Kerry's extremist record might make that a bit more difficult then Clinton's did.
39 posted on 03/07/2004 1:44:02 PM PST by swilhelm73
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To: swilhelm73
Bill Clinton if I remember aright, ran on a pledge to cut taxes for the middle class. A pledge that was never fulfilled the 8 years he served as President. Anyway, the Kennedy liberals who back Kerry look upon the Clintonite "Third Way" New Democrats willingness to look at tax cuts with revulsion. One thing you can be sure of is there will be no tax cut plank in the Democratic Party's platform this year.
40 posted on 03/07/2004 1:47:16 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Screaming_Gerbil
" also am concerned that the USA PATRIOT act could be used against us ("religious extremists", "gun ownering radicals", whatever) if the Democrats were to regain power in the White House."

yes it could be, but that is no reason to oppose it at the moment. It should sunset at some point as should the dept of homeland security and both should be subject to re-newal if needed.
41 posted on 03/07/2004 1:47:49 PM PST by raloxk
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To: martin_fierro
Im not so sure Im voting Bush. He seems like a democrat to me the way he spends. I dont like his connections with Clear Channel. Ive never voted anything but Republican since Ford, but im just not sure this time. With a Republican congress, what could Kerry screw up?
42 posted on 03/07/2004 2:46:21 PM PST by aquawrench (www.reasons.org)
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To: aquawrench
With a Republican congress, what could Kerry screw up?

the war on terrorists, the judiciary, the education department, the state department, the justice department, the military, etc.

WFTR
Bill

43 posted on 03/07/2004 3:12:52 PM PST by WFTR (Liberty isn't for cowards)
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To: Kuksool
Kerry is a fighter, as he has already shown not just on the campaign trail but in the jungles of Vietnam. In the Mekong Delta, Kerry went straight at the enemy, beaching his Navy swift boat and charging ashore, when more prudent commanders would have chosen evasion or retreat.

Oh give me a break!
44 posted on 03/07/2004 9:04:41 PM PST by Valin (America is the land mine between barbarism and civilization.)
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To: Kuksool
Kerry is a fighter, as he has already shown not just on the campaign trail but in the jungles of Vietnam. In the Mekong Delta, Kerry went straight at the enemy, beaching his Navy swift boat and charging ashore, when more prudent commanders would have chosen evasion or retreat.

But there's a different strategy Kerry should consider as he maps out his general election campaign: A flanking maneuver on Bush's right.

Oh fer... Someone put that journalist in the strained metaphor penalty box. Is he being payed by the word or something? Here's the real scoop.

Bush has exactly TWO vulnerabilities to his right that have serious electoral appeal. One is immigration, and Kerry can't go there due to his own base, so forget it.

The other is more interesting. It's captured in two words: Off Shoring. Bumper-sticker material. Hot button and getting hotter.

What's worse, the Republican response to this issue seems to be to deliver macro-economic lectures to laid-off workers. Points for creativity aside, let's all admit this is not a very effective strategy.

Will Kerry go there? After all, he voted for NAFTA, GATT, and is a huge free-trader by record. Surely we can trust him to remain consistent and not go for the cheap political points, right? RIGHT?!!

45 posted on 03/07/2004 9:15:10 PM PST by Snuffington
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To: Kuksool
Kerry as Lenora Fulani, in unholy alliance with Pat Buchanan?
46 posted on 03/07/2004 10:47:51 PM PST by thoughtomator (Political Correctness is fascism)
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To: jpl
If it were up to Kerry, we'd be speaking Vietnamese.
47 posted on 03/07/2004 10:57:01 PM PST by Richard Kimball
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