Thursday, September 02, 2004

Transcript: HardBall with Chris Matthews.

I'm surprised to be saying this, but Joe Scarborough makes a salient point:

We are three days into this convention, and we have been talking all year about how this election is going to be about George W. Bush. The Republicans, with their ad campaigns, the third-party attacks, this convention, three nights into this convention, this convention remains about John Kerry.

I can‘t remember a major presidential election where you have an incumbent that makes the central focus of their convention about the other guy, about the challenger. It is a radical departure from politics as usual. And what does it say about what they think George Bush has done over the past four years, and, more importantly, what the American people think of George Bush?

The Republicans have lost all semblance of purpose. They now realize they'll have an insurmountable task in appealing to undecideds and independents, since they're generally trending towards Kerry, so their left with one alternative: go negative to the nth-degree. Similar to what the Federal Liberals did towards Stephen Harper-- though, I like to think the Libs showed some civility--the Republicans can only try to drive up the negatives on Kerry in attempt to immobilize undecideds not to vote. It's pure demagoguery, nothing else.

The only thing another Bush administration has to offer the American electorate is the canard that a Kerry administration would endanger American security. One could almost begin to believe this slander if it weren't so false. Yet, one could have no choice but believe this slander if Kerry doesn't start strenuously defending himself. Since the run up to the Iraq War, the Bush administration has been eerily masterful at setting the parameters of discourse. Even the facts don't inhibit the administration's Orwellian turnspeak. So now, when all has been dragged through incomprehensibility, the simplest thing for an individual
Voter to do is disengage.

A while back Josh Marshall cited a prefiguring article in the Financial Times. Here's an excerpt:

The Bush campaign machine, well oiled and already rolling, should not be underestimated. The current president's father gained a formidable reputation as a nasty campaigner, though the presidential fingerprints were carefully wiped off negative blueprints administered by Lee Atwater, the first Mr Bush's ruthless chief strategist.

Karl Rove, a disciple of Mr Atwater, is similarly meticulous about keeping the president publicly above the fray. Yet it is an open secret in Washington that White House-blessed campaign strategists have been working quietly for months to compile potentially damaging background on all the Democratic candidates. In the early going, when it appeared Mr Kerry would emerge as the frontrunner, one senior Republican commented wryly: "By the time the White House finishes with Kerry, no one will know what side of the (Vietnam) war he fought on."

Actually, I'd be surprised if at either the end or the beginning of Bush's address to the delegates tonight Osama bin Laden isn't trotted out on stage as a Victory Trophy par excellence.

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