April 23, 2004


It’s Time!: Bush-Cheney rolls out the big guns. (Robert Moran, 4/22/04, National Review)

The latest Bush-Cheney ad, "Doublespeak," is, in a word, magnificent.

This new ad is, as they say, "gonna leave a mark." Contrary to what many believe, people don't actually learn from history. Senators make awful presidential candidates. The Democrats are going to re-learn this hard lesson.

Sure, the Bush campaign hit Kerry on his gas-tax scheme, taxes, and on Iraq funding. And, it worked. Polling shows Bush survived several awful weeks and defined Kerry in no small measure as a waffler and someone who takes three sides of an issue. In fact, I can vouch for the success of this effort. In focus groups I conducted for an association in St. Louis, Missouri, and Columbus, Ohio participants joked about Kerry's "flexibility" on the issues.

Team Kerry has been giving us the line that the Bush camp took their best shot and missed in its opening salvo. But that's all hopeful spin. The Bush camp landed a direct hit with those ads and set the stage for the ideological contrast they're going to begin drawing.

Most of the folks I have talked too in the consulting community have kept asking when the Bush camp would roll out the really tough ideological attacks.

This new ad answers that question. It uses several newspaper quotes to reinvigorate the image of Kerry as waffler and panderer, but it closes with a clear ideological assault: "And the non-partisan National Journal magazine ranks Kerry the most liberal member of the Senate — more liberal than Hillary Clinton or Ted Kennedy"

When even the focus groups are busting on him, the Senator has officially become a mere object of ridicule.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 23, 2004 7:07 AM

Wasn't the "Waffler" one of the super-heroes from "Mystery Men"?

Posted by: Robert Duquette at April 23, 2004 5:53 PM