Skip to comments.2012 Is Very Different from Kerry vs. Bush
Posted on 07/30/2012 9:50:15 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Does the 2012 campaign look a lot like the 2004 campaign? Many Democrats think so.
And there are some resemblances. As in 2004, current polling suggests a close race and shows only about a dozen states in contention.
As was the case in 2004, the incumbent has been running negative ads against the challenger, hoping to disqualify him the same way that Bill Clinton disqualified Bob Dole in 1996. Many Democrats think that Barack Obamas attacks on Mitt Romneys business career will have the same effect that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads had, they believe, on John Kerry in 2004.
But, as William Galston of the Brookings Institution, an alumnus of the Clinton White House, writes in The New Republic, The evidence in favor of all these propositions is remarkably thin.
Galston points out that in 2004 no single issue was as prominent as the economy is this year and that on most significant issues, George W. Bush had a clear edge by the end of the campaign. He cites polling evidence that the Swift Boat ads hurt Kerry less than did Bush ads that replayed Kerrys March statement: I did actually vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.
Galston also points out that many more voters this year think the nation is seriously on the wrong track and that the economy is in trouble. Obamas job rating now is weaker than Bushs was then.
As usual, Galston is on target. His analysis tracks with the statement of Democratic pollster Peter Hart (for whom I worked from 1974 to 1981) that Obamas chances are no better than 50 percent.
But there are at least two other salient differences between 2004 and 2012.
One is that the 2004 election occurred during a period of unusual stability in American voting behavior.
In the preceding four congressional elections, Republicans won between 48 and 51 percent of the popular vote for the House, and Democrats won between 46 and 49 percent. In 2004 the parties percentages in both the presidential and congressional popular vote were within the same narrow ranges.
Since then, voting behavior has been much more volatile. In the last three congressional elections, Republicans share of the House popular vote has ranged from 43 to 52 percent and Democrats share from 45 to 54 percent.
In 2004, only three states switched party lines and awarded their electoral votes to a party different from the one they supported in 2000, and the margins were narrow in all cases.
In other words, almost all voters in 2004 were firmly committed to one party or the other. Bush political supremo Karl Rove was right in saying there were few uncommitted voters and that his campaigns big task was to turn out the faithful. The Kerry campaign operated on the same assumption.
In recent years, though, lots of American voters, at least by historical standards, have flipped from one party to the other Republicans have become Democrats and vice versa.
The conventional wisdom is that we know with certainty the identity of the dozen or so battleground states. But the list has changed since 2008.
In 2008, Obama carried Indiana and lost Missouri by only 3,903 votes. Today, Indiana and Missouri arent on anyones target list.
In contrast, most analysts battleground list this year includes Michigan and Wisconsin, which Obama carried in 2008 with 57 and 56 percent of the vote respectively.
Theres another key difference between 2004 and 2012. In 2004, George W. Bushs Republican base was pretty much united on issues. Foreign-policy realists and neocons were all on board.
Cultural conservatives supported the Bush tax cuts. Few economic conservatives had much problem with Bushs stand on abortion or embryonic-stem-cell research.
Barack Obamas Democratic base is more heterogeneous. He probably increased turnout among young voters by endorsing same-sex marriage. But he also risked turning off the many black voters who are solidly opposed.
Blocking the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada pleased gentry liberals who embrace every green cause. But private-sector labor unions dont like it one bit.
Bashing Romneys record at Bain and Co. may be helping him with some modest-income voters. But it risks antagonizing the affluent, which is a problem for a candidate who last time ran even, 49 to 49 percent, among those with incomes over $100,000.
Every campaign cycle is different, and 2012 is more different from 2004 than many Democrats think.
Michael Barone is senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner
This time the Massachusetts liberal is running as a Republican.
Yes, it is more like Kerry vs. Kerry.
There's no way in any scenario I can think of that Romney will get black votes. The best he can hope for is a lot of those blacks who voted for Obama in 2008 will stay home in 2012.
Young voters? What's more important to them; gay rights or jobs? Romney has an opportunity to stress how many of them will have no HOPE for a job after college unless they CHANGE White House occupants.
WASHINGTON POST June 1, 2003
JOHN KERRY: HUNTER, DREAMER, REALIST
By Laura Blumenfeld
. . .And who is he, really?
A close associate hints: There's a secret compartment in Kerry's briefcase. He carries the black attaché everywhere. Asked about it on several occasions, Kerry brushed it aside. Finally, trapped in an interview, he exhaled and clicked open his case.
“Who told you?” he demanded as he reached inside. “My friends don't know about this.”
The hat was a little mildewy. The green camouflage was fading, the seams fraying.
“My good luck hat,” Kerry said, happy to see it. “Given to me by a CIA guy as we went in for a special mission in Cambodia.”
Kerry put on the hat, pulling the brim over his forehead. His blue button-down shirt and tie clashed with the camouflage. He pointed his finger and raised his thumb, creating an imaginary gun. He looked silly, yet suddenly his campaign message was clear: Citizen-soldier. Linking patriotism to public service. It wasn't complex after all; it was Kerry.
He smiled and aimed his finger: “Pow.”
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Galston points out that in 2004 no single issue was as prominent as the economy is this year
So all those Anti-Iraq War protests, “die-in’s”, signs of Bush as Hitler...that issue was not as prominent as the economy is this year? Sorry but I’m not buying that.
“..Citizen-soldier. Linking patriotism to public service. It wasn’t complex after all; it was Kerry....”
You know, I give any man his due when he served his country. McCain and Kerry both, for all their stupidity and ridiculousness, both of them once put themselves in the service of the country, and no one can ever take that away from them - except themselves.
Kerry, upon returning home from Vietnam, saw fit to betray his country, his fellow soldiers, and his countrymen by cozying up to the communists we were fighting.
McCain has never missed an opportunity to screw over his own party and supporters by siding with the Democrats on critical issues.
At least in McCain’s case, it wasn’t outright treason, as with Kerry.
When it comes to these two, I just say - thanks for your service, now just go the eff away.
Weenie or not, John Kerry knew the Kennedy family and Boston politics since childhood. Kerry's military tour—awards, promotions, service record and early discharge—was stage managed out of Ted Kennedy's senate office in the same way Joe Kennedy managed JFK and Joe Jr.’s wartime years. Joe Sr. even got the misfit Ted a prestigious job as a guard to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers, Europe (SHAPE) in Paris in the 1950’s.
Kerry claimed he never met Teddy until the Vets Against War period. This is ludicrous considering Teddy won a special election to the Senate in 1962 and anybody as ambitious as the young John Kerry would have made it a point to meet his senator though it is likely he met him years before.
When the guy arrives in a war zone with an agenda of self-aggrandizement he may be more dangerous than useful to those around him. Upon leaving the Navy Kerry ran for office casting himself as an honorable veteran. When he lost, he ran again as an antiwar protester leading a scruffy mob of repentant war criminals. He won that time.
“...When the guy arrives in a war zone with an agenda of self-aggrandizement he may be more dangerous than useful to those around him...”
Brad, I hear you loud and clear. Not praising that *sshole Kerry at all. If it came off that way, it was my bad.
I can’t stand that POS. In my opinion, he should have been arrested and tried for treason.
Yes, it is more like Kerry vs. Kerry.
More like Kerry vs Karl (Marx that is)
Know someone who is nominally a Obama supporter but is ignorant of basic facts?
Send them the link to The Obama Clarifier.
Designed for beginners who have not been paying attention.
“...I know I spent 13 months over there...”
Welcome home, brother, and thank you...
“...And have you ever noticed how a Vietnam era swift boat looks sort of like a JFK’s PT 109?..”
Is that a swift boat? I always thought the swift boats were those fiberglass PBRs like in Apocalypse now? The WWII ones were the plywood MTBs (I was a kid during Vietnam, 12 yrs old in 1973).
You're right but to the layman's eye they are both small gray boats with machine-gun mounts. As yachtsmen, both Kerry and Kennedy would be attracted to such craft. I was in RVN in 1967-68, 1st Marine Division. My experience with boats was limited. On one brief company-size operation we experimented with an open aluminum boat about 18 feet with an outboard engine. We had to search both banks of a river for several klicks. We used the boat to ferry people and gear between the two banks and to check out some caves. During the Tet offensive we used a Navy landing craft to traverse the Perfume River in Hue because the bridge was badly damaged.