Monday, September 06, 2004

Where We Stand

As the Labor Day holiday comes to a close, it is helpful to take a step back and look at where the campaign stands. The Gallup Poll has given President Bush a seven point lead. This is not as high as the Newsweek or Time polls that give him an 11 and 12 point lead, but it is a substantial lead and puts the president in good standing going into the last 60 days of the campaign.

Although Iraq has stabilized the last few weeks, nine Marines have been killed in the last 24 hours, seven by one car bomb. the center of the violence remains Fallujah and Najaf. If the electorate is looking for a clear message on Iraq, Kerry is in trouble. As noted in the previous post Kerry has flipped on teh war again. After stating that he would have voted to go to war at the Grand Canyon, he said today that the war in Iraq was the "wrong war, at the wrong place at the wrong time". Kerry has been unable to take a stance on Iraq or lay out a clear plan. He also stated today that he would withdraw the troops before the end of the first term.

Kerry has been told by President Clinton to stop talking about Vietnam and to concentrate on the economy and job creation. It will be difficult for Kerry to set Vietnam aside for several reasons. The first is that to this point it has been the centerpiece of his campaign, and he injects Vietnam War into every speech. Old habits die hard. Second, if he stops talking about Vietnam, he may be forced to talk about his voting record in the Senate. As evidenced by his acceptance speech at the DNC, Kerry does not want to talk about his voting record. Lastly, it has been revealed that the Pentagon has ordered an investigation into his records and the apparent discrepencies that appear on the documents he posted on his website. The "V" for valor on his silver star for example. The Navy has never awarded a "V " with the Silver Star. This investigation has prompted Kerry's biographer, Doug Brinkley to begin to waffle in his defense of the Senator. If the Pentagon finds unexplainable flaws in his record it will speel doom for Kerry's Campaign. Doug Brinkley knows this and does not want to risk having his career ruined by Kerry.

If John Kerry does concentrate on domestic issues such as the economy he will have to try to sell the American people on the idea that the economy is in bad shape and they are miserable. It will be the return of the Misery Tour. The economy added 150,000 jobs last month and will most likely add at least 100,000 jobs this month. That will be the last jobs report before the election. Why would Americans elect a man that has promised to increase taxes when the economy is growing and creating jobs? Kerry may get traction on the issueof the deficit, but his agenda calls for an increase in spending on nearly two trillion dollars, not likely to reduce the deficit.

The President has made up ground in the national polls as well as individual polls in battleground states. He laid out a clear message and vision in his acceptance speech at the RNC. If he stays on message and there are no unforeseen events (like a terrorist attack, a horrible turn of events in Iraq or a sudden collapse of the economy) he should keep strong numbers through election day. the bounce in the polls that the President got before and through the RNC has put John Kerry in an unenviable postion. President Bush is a war time president. The economy is growing, jobs are being created and the threat of terrorism has become more real with the massacre in Russia. John Kerry has not given teh public a coherent message on any of the most important issues this election. He will have to try to regroup and re-re-re-re-introduce himslef without d=falling into the flip-flop trap. that will be a very tough task considering he has taken every possible position on most issues.

If the President can stay focused and on message he will be in good shape on election day.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.