It'z News to Me

The news of the day...and my own peculiar take on it...

Monday, August 23, 2004

The Hourglass Turns...

One week after declaring the presidential race to be Kerry's to lose, ABC's The Note does a bullet-point summary that includes the following:

—There is no sign that the controversy has fundamentally affected the race (There is no dramatic change in the horserace number … ), but plenty of feeling that it can erode Kerry's credibility and tarnish his war record.

-This blind quote in the New York Times from a Democrat "close" to the Kerry campaign is very key: "When you're basically running on your biography and there are ongoing attacks that are undermining the credibility of your biography, you have a really big problem."

—There are smart Democrats who think this is all horrible for Kerry; there are ones who think an eventual backlash against the president and a focus on Kerry's war record will be good in the end. And there are smart Republicans on both analytical sides as well.

—There is no evidence that the Bush campaign is orchestrating the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, and the known ties between them are significantly less close than between John Kerry's campaign and the 527s supporting him.

—If John Kerry can't build a campaign organization that can de-fang 250 guys spending a million bucks, how good a president could he possibly be?

—The greatest political effect all this will probably have on the outcome of the election is to give the conservative base many reasons to get all riled up in hating John Kerry the way the left hates George Bush — and, as Matthew Dowd will tell you, firing up the base is the way this election will be won.

—Undermining ONE of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth charges — such as William Rood did — does not undermine them all. The reporting on Rood by many news organizations over the weekend — painting him as repudiating all the charges being made after "dramatically breaking his silence" — was embarrassing.

—Kerry's truthfulness is significantly more in question on the Cambodia "issue" than it is on any of his medals, which is why the anti-Ker[r]y group returns to Cambodia whenever its credibility is challenged.

—Kerry and his campaign have been inconsistent on the question of whether President Bush's National Guard record should be and will be an issue in this race.

—If the terrain switches to Kerry's protest-era statements, the story will be kept alive even longer, and Kerry's capacity to win the "truth" war will be more limited.

—The new Bush ad going after John Kerry on taxes is almost certainly more likely to work, now that Kerry's "trouble with the truth" reputation has been stoked by the Swift Boaters.

So the question of the day for the Googling Monkeys at The Note: do you still think it's Kerry's race to lose?