Bush Is In The Catbird’s Seat For 2004
Bush Is In The Catbird’s Seat For 2004: I haven’t done a lot of 2004 election analysis so far because it’s early, but Bush does look to be in excellent shape for the election. Moreover, the smart guys on the left, the Carvilles, Begalas, Clintons, etc, KNOW Bush is looking good even if they won’t admit it. If you want proof of that, just ask yourself, “why aren’t Al Gore and Hillary Clinton in the race right now?” Either one of them could easily win the Democratic nomination and get a shot at Bush in 2004, but neither of them wants the opportunity to play Walter Mondale to his Ronald Reagan.
Ok, ok, I don’t want to claim it’s going to be a landslide victory for Bush or even that Bush has it in the bag because you never really know how an election is going to play out until it’s over. But, the Democrats don’t have a great group of candidates. There are five guys who at this point at least appear to have an outside shot of grabbing the nomination and they are…
Dick Gephardt: Here’s a guy with minimal charisma who failed to help the Dems take back the house, has flip flopped on plenty of issues, and who has made socialized medicine, something the American people have never embraced, the centerpiece of his campaign. He’s a very weak candidate.
Howard Dean: Dean has made some headway with the Democratic base because he’s been so strongly anti-war, but he has reduced his foreign policy creditability down to “Jimmy Carter-like” levels at the same time. American voters would be terrified of having a weakling like Dean in charge while we’re in the middle of a war against terrorism and rightfully so. I’d say he is unelectable.
John Kerry: Michael Dukakis redux. Kerry is an ultra-liberal who votes to the left of Ted Kennedy and has a knack for saying politically embarrassing things that reminds me of Tom Daschle. A lot of lefties like him because they think the fact that he was a Vietnam war hero will blind people to the fact that he’s soft on defense. Kerry himself mentions the fact that he served in Vietnam incessantly. What isn’t being mentioned (yet) is that after Kerry got out of Vietnam, he turned into an anti-war hippy who once claimed to have thrown his medals away and who also marched with Communists (and yes, I’m thinking there’s probably footage of that sitting in a safe in Karl Rove’s office). Because of all of this, I think Kerry has about much chance as Dukakis would if he came out of retirement and ran again.
John Edwards: In sports terms, Edwards is what as known as a “project”. He has a lot of things going for him as a candidate. He’s pretty, he’s from the South, he comes off as a moderate, and he has lots of trial lawyer money behind him. On the other hand, he’s a freshman Senator, who’s not very charismatic, hasn’t done anything of note or made much of an impression, and quite frankly, he’d lose his own state to Bush by 15+ points if the election were held today. All that being said, I think Edwards is the Dems second best candidate — although that’s not saying much.
Joe Lieberman: Lieberman would be the most electable candidate for the Dems because he was strongly in favor of the war in Iraq, is hawkish on foreign policy, and comes across as moderate on most domestic issues. Ironically, Lieberman probably won’t win the nomination because he was strongly in favor of the war in Iraq, is hawkish on foreign policy, and comes across as moderate on most domestic issues.
Now some people think this is going to be a repeat of 1992, but as many people have pointed out, the conditions are very different. Bush has MUCH higher ratings than his father on the economy, the danger isn’t going to be over in 2004 because the war on terrorism will still be ongoing, while there’s always a bit of GOP infighting going on, Bush 43 hasn’t infuriated the base like his father did by breaking his “read my lips, no new taxes” pledge, and last but not least, Ross Perot isn’t going to be siphoning off a lot of GOP voters this time.
Things are looking pretty good right now, especially since the top Dem candidates are having to move farther leftward and away from the mainstream to try to win the nomination in this crowded field. Bush’s HUGE fund raising advantage isn’t going to hurt either. If the economy starts to pick up steam in the next year or so as well, Bush could become VERY DIFFICULT to derail in 2004. So don’t count your chickens before they hatch, but it looks very likely that Bush is going to be around one more term than his pops was.