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WHERE'S KERRY? Bad news for Bush seems to drown out challenger
Houston Chronicle ^ | May 10. 2004 | staff

Posted on 05/10/2004 12:16:44 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

These are tough times for President Bush and his administration. Reports and pictures of American soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners dominate the news. Worse images are still to come.

The fighting in Iraq during recent weeks has been the deadliest so far for U.S. forces. In the minds of many people around the world, both friend and foe, the United States has forfeited the moral high ground.

In his Saturday radio address, Bush declared the abuse of prisoners "a stain on our country's honor and reputation." Although the president maintains the atrocities were the work of a few, commanders in the field apparently ignored early warnings from the Red Cross of widespread abuse.

Amazingly, Bush seems to be holding his own against his Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts. The president's approval ratings have slipped, but Kerry is finding little traction for his campaign.

Bush has made his performance as a wartime president a central theme of his re-election campaign, and the country is well and truly at war. But the worse the news from Iraq, it seems, the more the president's supporters rally round him. For them, the stain on the country's honor calls for stiffened backing for the commander in chief.

The strength of Bush's support perhaps draws on his resolve and optimism. For Bush, the economy is improving and, despite setbacks, Iraq is on the road to peace and democracy. Kerry believes the country is going in the wrong direction, but many Democrats don't see him as a candidate with conviction.

In November, May's poll numbers will mean nothing. However, before the August convention, Kerry must acquaint a majority of voters with his identity and message. If he doesn't, the Bush campaign will do the job for him.

Some political tacticians teach that a candidate can't win if he is too afraid of losing. To date, Kerry criticizes Bush well enough, but offers unstated caution and hesitation as alternatives, rather than boldness.

As missteps in the Iraq war demonstrate, global politics requires nuance. Bush decries it, while Kerry is capable of providing an overabundance.

The challenger needs a ringing theme that will carry above his careful calculations. In these dark days, Kerry might consider this: "It's the country, stupid."


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 2004; campaigning; direction; johnkerry; kerry; leadership; politics; presidential; slogan; theme; trust
With Kerry it's more, "It's the U.N. stupid!"

September 9, 2003 - Brian McGrory The Boston Globe Where's the beef, Kerry?…..Third, give us clear reason. Nearly every president had a short message. Richard Nixon was law and order; Jimmy Carter was honesty; Ronald Reagan was strength and optimism; Bill Clinton was economy and empathy; George W. Bush is -- well, I'm not sure, which is part of the point. Your slogan -- "The courage to do what's right for America" -- is one of the worst ever.

Fourth, speak from your heart, not your memory. The public wants conviction, not know-it-all nuance….

1 posted on 05/10/2004 12:16:44 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Kerry is best advised to duck the press this week. After all he confessed to committing war crimes in 1971 (he claimed he lied when asked about it in 2001).

If this groundhog pokes his head out of his hole he may be asked "What did you do during the war?"

2 posted on 05/10/2004 12:19:38 AM PDT by weegee (NO BLOOD FOR RATINGS. CNN ignored torture & murder in Saddam's Iraq to keep their Baghdad Bureau.)
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To: weegee
His wife isn't helping him either. Too bad, so sad.

It seems Kerry can't formulate a position or think his way out of a paper bag without direction.

March 3, 2004 - Franklin Foer, CBS News Kerry's World: Father Knows Best*** "Americans," he [Richard Kerry] writes, "are inclined to see the world and foreign affairs in black and white." They celebrate their own form of government and denigrate all others, making them guilty of what he calls "ethnocentric accommodation -- everyone ought to be like us." As a result, America has committed the "fatal error" of "propagating democracy" and fallen prey to "the siren's song of promoting human rights," falsely assuming that our values and institutions are a good fit in the Third World. And, just as Americans exaggerate their own goodness, they exaggerate their enemies' badness. The Soviet Union wasn't nearly as imperialistic as American politicians warned, Kerry argues. "Seeing the Soviet Union as the aggressor in every instance, and the U.S. as only reacting defensively, relieves an American observer from the need to see any parallel between our use of military power in distant parts of the world, and the Soviet use of military power outside the Soviet Union," he writes. He further claims that "Third world Marxist movements were autonomous national movements" -- outside Moscow's orbit. The book culminates in a plea for a hardheaded, realist foreign policy that removes any pretense of U.S. moral superiority.

Despite its blunt arguments, The Star-Spangled Mirror received little attention. Foreign Affairs greeted it with a 90-word summation in its review section. But the work of Richard Kerry, who passed away in 2000, will soon experience posthumous reconsideration. It won't be because of the renewed relevance of his arguments (although his book does read like a contemporary brief against neoconservatism). It will be because his son is a leading candidate to run U.S. foreign policy.

According to the conventional telling of John Kerry's biography, largely told by Kerry himself, his foreign policy views were forged in the Mekong Delta. During his disillusioning four-month combat stint on a Navy Swift Boat, the limits of U.S. power were revealed to him. As Newsweek argued in a cover story last month, "Kerry's policy views, as well as his politics, were profoundly shaped by the war." But, for all the neatness this narrative provides, it overlooks an entire chapter in Kerry's intellectual history: his childhood. In fact, Kerry's foreign policy worldview, characterized by a steadfast belief in international institutions and a suspicion of U.S. hard power, had fallen into place long before he ever enlisted. As Kerry's biographer, the historian Douglas Brinkley, told me, "So much of his foreign policy worldview comes straight from Richard Kerry." ***

3 posted on 05/10/2004 12:24:25 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
--Who
was it that said "There's no such thing as bad publicity?"
4 posted on 05/10/2004 12:42:02 AM PDT by gortklattu
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Great re-run link, McGrory was certainly prescient when he wrote "The lip-lock between Dean and the national press will inevitably end, and be sure that some tearing down will begin.When that happens, it will again be up to you."

Too bad for Kerry that he has the same image problems now that he did then. I had to check the date twice while reading the piece. Gives one the idea the problem ain't all in the imagination.

But I ask you, what on earth does the Chronicle mean by "It's the country, stupid"? The country is great shape, I mean what are they talking about "these dark days".

Bush's slogan should be "It's the Islamo-facism, stupid" and I think that, secretly, it is. Kerry's is more like "It's the UN, I think."
5 posted on 05/10/2004 12:48:31 AM PDT by jocon307 (The dems don't get it, the American people do.)
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To: jocon307
The Chronicle seems to be endorsing a loser. They see their horse is in the race and they all want to be the jockey.
6 posted on 05/10/2004 12:51:49 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: gortklattu
Who was it that said "There's no such thing as bad publicity?"

Yeah, just as long as they spell your name right.

However, a lot of people say a lot of things, and besides, this isn't a race to become a second rate actor.

7 posted on 05/10/2004 12:53:58 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
I think Kerry went back to Liberal Liars camp for a refresher while GW's getting all the sound bites......:o)

Stay Safe !

8 posted on 05/10/2004 12:56:34 AM PDT by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
No his wife (TA-RAY-ZA) is not helping him. Mort Kondracke on "The Beltway Boys" tonight said that her denounciation of Bush and Cheney as "unpatriotic" was the lowest of all attacks either campaign has made against the other to date.

I hope the American public sees more of her before November 2. She's a loose cannon.
9 posted on 05/10/2004 1:29:57 AM PDT by no dems (Does anyone from the Bush/Cheney camp monitor the Freep website?)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife; weegee
"Kerry is best advised to duck the press this week. After all he confessed to committing war crimes in 1971 (he claimed he lied when asked about it in 2001)."

Kerry indeed confessed to committing war crimes in 1971 and continues to sputter when he is asked about this. In the 1971 period, he wantonly, in a national setting of high-visibility, and for sheer political ambition, accused his fellow soldiers of routinely committing war crimes. The direct implication by Kerry: all Vietnam service men and women were and are the same as those low-lifes in the now infamous Iraqi prison who have so wracked havoc on our mission there. Moreover: if he observed and participated in all this (in his three months there, before slithering out via at least one contrived Purple Heart to do lies and slander back in the U.S.) why did he not report it and attempt to stop it - a MOST pertinent question in the present situation.
10 posted on 05/10/2004 3:18:08 AM PDT by mtntop3 ("Those who must know before they believe will never come to full knowledge.")
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To: Squantos
Bush has moved further ahead of Kerry in polled responses about leadership.
11 posted on 05/10/2004 3:25:23 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: no dems
She's a loose cannon.

And she's married to an empty suit.

12 posted on 05/10/2004 3:26:00 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: mtntop3
Because he had political ambitions.
13 posted on 05/10/2004 3:27:13 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Kerry shouldn't have an issue with these Iraqi "abuse" pictures since didn't he admit to atrocities that he personally commited in Viet Nam? Actually he should feel proud of these "abuse" pictures.
14 posted on 05/10/2004 3:35:42 AM PDT by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
It seems Kerry can't formulate a position or think his way out of a paper bag without direction.

Of course he has a position and direction - “I’m Anybody But Bush”.

15 posted on 05/10/2004 3:39:31 AM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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To: R. Scott
Of course he has a position and direction - “I’m Anybody But Bush”.

The Left has scrapped the bottom of the barrel.

16 posted on 05/10/2004 3:40:58 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: nmh

17 posted on 05/10/2004 3:43:49 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: R. Scott
scrapped - scraped
18 posted on 05/10/2004 3:44:35 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Their barrel is empty - but it’s the only one they have for now.
19 posted on 05/10/2004 3:45:13 AM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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To: R. Scott
Hillary is the vessel into which, they will pour all their socialist hopes.
20 posted on 05/10/2004 3:51:19 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Kerry has his own history of military abuse, which he has admitted to, from the Vietnam war. Rape, burning villages, torture, and/or standing by as others committed these atrocities, is in my opinion, far worse than what was done to the Iraqis.
21 posted on 05/10/2004 3:55:32 AM PDT by wai-ming
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To: All
***Kerry is especially vulnerable to the flip-flopping charge because he speaks in long, complicated sentences instead of offering a clear yes-or-no. "Kerry sees the complexity in all things and talks about the nuances," Crawford said. "He comes across equivocal and complex in his thinking."

Donna Brazile, who managed Democrat Al Gore's presidential campaign in 2000, said Kerry needs to be more aggressive in fighting back against the flip-flop image. Her advice to the Kerry campaign: "Don't be Gored. Don't fall into the same trap as the Gore campaign. Attack this head-on."***St. Petersburg Times column

22 posted on 05/10/2004 3:56:07 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: wai-ming
That won't stop the rabid media and the conceited on the Hill to bash Bush and elbow each other for face time.
23 posted on 05/10/2004 3:58:34 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: wai-ming
.....to bash Bush and elbow each other for face time.

..from bashing Bush and elbowing.....

24 posted on 05/10/2004 3:59:32 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
A very scary thought…


25 posted on 05/10/2004 4:08:20 AM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Some political tacticians teach that a candidate can't win if he is too afraid of losing.

Precisely why President Bush will win! He didn't seek the presidency out of his own ambition.

May the Lord continue to bless him and keep him safe.

26 posted on 05/10/2004 4:22:47 AM PDT by mombonn
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To: mombonn
Precisely why President Bush will win! He didn't seek the presidency out of his own ambition. May the Lord continue to bless him and keep him safe.

And we all need to turn out to make that happen.

27 posted on 05/10/2004 4:31:24 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: R. Scott

28 posted on 05/10/2004 4:33:32 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Another great portrait to add to my collection.
29 posted on 05/10/2004 5:17:46 AM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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To: R. Scott
Have you seen the Hillary adoration site?
30 posted on 05/10/2004 5:55:23 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
The Most Beautiful Woman in the World?
Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder …
31 posted on 05/10/2004 6:43:30 AM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
You just cost me a new monitor!
Should have never touched the link.
Should have never touched the link.
Should have never touched the link.
:)
32 posted on 05/10/2004 6:44:13 AM PDT by BulletBobCo
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To: BulletBobCo
LOL
33 posted on 05/10/2004 11:28:18 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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