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What Else Is In Scott's Head?

The blog site for writer Scott C. Smith. Some observations on the world we live in and life in general. And maybe some politics.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Facing Reality: Election '04

I'm a John Kerry supporter, and I will vote for him, but I don't think he's going to win. Not from a lack of trying.

Am I giving up? No.

I think the reality is, George W. Bush is connecting with people the same way Bill Clinton when he was president. John Kerry comes across as aloof and cold. People can imagine sitting down with George W. Bush at their favorite watering hole for a beer; they think he's like them.

Sure, there are domestic issues that can make or break an incumbent. In '92, it was the economy that cost George H.W. Bush his re-election. But I don't recall George H.W. Bush connecting with ordinary folks the same way his son is connecting with them.

The latest Newsweek poll has George W. Bush leading on many fronts, primarily in issues of leadership and, amazingly, his handling of the economy.

This is bad news for John Kerry.

Kerry has been given some horrible advice on his campaign. I admire John Kerry's military service, but surely the time has come to stop talking about it. As much as I despise what the Swift Boat Veterans for The "Truth" have done to John Kerry, there's no denying the campaign has been effective. It shouldn't have been effective. The claims against Kerry come from men who in some case were not eyewitnesses to John Kerry's actions in Vietnam, and official Navy records contradict other claims made by the Swifties. For some reason John Kerry waited too long to respond to the attacks, and by the time he did, it was too late; the damage had been done.

John Kerry should be attacking Bush for his handling of domestic issues. The economy, contrary to what people might think in the Newsweek poll, has not been handled well. In 2003, the number of people in poverty increased, from 12.1 percent to 12.5 percent, bringing that number to nearly 36 million people. Wages have stagnated, meaning people are working harder for less money. Nearly one million people have lost jobs since Bush took office. Senior citizens will be paying more for Medicare coverage next year. These are all issues John Kerry should be focusing on. And it looks like he might be shifting his campaign focus to those issues. Kerry is bringing in new advisors, and even received a pep talk from Bill Clinton, on how to refocus his campaign.

I'm hoping these changes will result in a Kerry campaign focused on the issues and putting Bush on the defensive. A lot can happen in two months, and John Kerry has an opportunity to turn things around. Here's hoping he does.


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