September 11, 2004


The Luck of the President (Fred Barnes, 9/11/04, The Weekly Standard)

Post-convention, the Bush campaign is exactly where it hoped to be. The president's lead over Kerry has given him the luxury of sticking to his campaign plan. He'll spend September talking up his domestic agenda for a second term. The first half of October is to be devoted to debates (probably two) with Kerry. And the last two weeks are the finishing kick of the campaign. Along the way, Bush will address any national security issues like Iraq that may arise. But Vice President Dick Cheney will provide the tough talk on combating terrorism.

To the surprise of many, Bush has actually honed an effective economic message with interesting specifics, numbers, and comparisons. For instance, did you know that the 1.7 million jobs added in the past year in the United States "is more than [the jobs created in] Germany, Japan, Great Britain, Canada, and France combined?" Bush noted this in Colmar, Pennsylvania, last week. He also addressed the "subchapter S" issue: Under this section of the tax code, 90 percent of small business owners pay at the income tax rate, not the corporate rate. And since "70 percent of new jobs in America are created by small businesses," Kerry's plan to raise taxes on the two top brackets would be a tax on "job creators," Bush said. "It doesn't make sense."

By contrast, Kerry is tongue-tied. He won't talk to national reporters covering his campaign for fear of being asked about his claim of spending Christmas Eve 1968 in Cambodia. Nor will he sit down for questioning by columnists or commentators knowledgeable about foreign policy because he's bound to contradict his earlier statements. And not since Jimmy Carter in 1980 has a Democratic nominee been more unpopular with his base voters. I spent an evening last week at an event with Jewish voters, the majority of them Democrats. They dislike Bush, but have nothing but complaints about Kerry, mostly on foreign policy.

Luck? They took Howard Dean out when most mistakenly believed John Kerry would be a tougher foe. They put in place the changes that would have the economy humming by now, despite complaints about the deficit by the green eye-shade crowd. And they turned over sovereignty in Iraq when they said they would, despite bitching from the neocons who supposedly run the show. How does luck enter the equation?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 11, 2004 3:16 PM

Luck is the Residue of Design -- Branch Rickey

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at September 13, 2004 2:12 AM
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