August 21, 2004


Kerry Made a Bush League Error on Iraq: Refusal to recant war vote plays into president's hands. (Robert Scheer, August 17, 2004, LA Times)

It was a sucker pitch, and John Kerry fell for it like a rookie. I'm talking about President Bush's latest cheap gambit — turning his own unjustifiable and costly invasion of Iraq into his opponent's problem. Bush mocked Kerry's Iraq position for its "nuance" — a word that manages to sound both French and less than fully masculine.

At Bush's prompting, reporters asked Kerry if he, knowing what we all know now about Iraq's lack of weapons of mass destruction, would still have voted, as he did in October 2002, to authorize the president to use force against Iraq. Instead of smacking that hanging curveball out of the park by denouncing the Bush administration for deceiving Congress and the nation into a war, Kerry inexplicably said yes.

This is pretty nearly the only sensible thing Mr. Scheer has ever written, but isn't this redundant?: "both French and less than fully masculine"

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 21, 2004 4:36 PM

When the Bush campaign ran those flip-flop ads last Spring, Kerry's negatives went up but not Bush's favorables. Thus some so-called 'pundits' pronounced the ad campaign a failure. But pundits don't understand (despite four years of Bush's track record) that Bush and Rove think strategically, not merely tactically. The flip-flop ads both introduced Kerry in a negative light (tactics) and scared Kerry away from taking a more effective position on many issues such as Scheer writes. That's strategic.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at August 21, 2004 6:35 PM


The problem with running negative ads has historically been that they drive your own unfavorables up. If Bush's favorable/unfavorable was unchanged it was a great sign.

Posted by: oj at August 21, 2004 6:40 PM

Mr. Judd;

Isn't it interesting that even Scheer admits that sounding French is a political liability in the USA?

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at August 21, 2004 9:44 PM

"You bet I might have."

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at August 22, 2004 12:22 AM

Kerry made a grave error by moving to the right of Bush on Iraq (not that anyone in the Bush camp would believe for a minute that he could maintain such a stance). He is blowing off his base, who wants Kerry to renounce the war as a criminal act. The base is turning on him.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at August 23, 2004 11:52 AM

KFI (Los Angeles talk radio, AM 640) has a schtick in their morning drive-time of musical "bumpers" (usually about 30 seconds of some well-known piece of music) as a lead-in to news; they attach specific bumpers to stories about specific people.

For Governor Schwarzenegger, they use a clip from "Springtime for Hitler", from Mel Brooks' The Producers.

For John F Kerry, they use the intro to La Marsiellase, i.e. the French national anthem.

Posted by: Ken at August 23, 2004 5:32 PM