Monday, September 20, 2004

He listened to me

It seems that John Kerry has taken some of my advice. He's now going to start directing more attention to Iraq. From Newsweek.

Sitting in his black-leather swivel chair, with his trusty world atlas beside him, John Kerry huddled with his aides in the executive-style cabin at the front of his campaign jet. Kerry was preparing to accuse the president of failing to tell the truth about "the mess in Iraq"—part of an aggressive fall strategy to challenge George W. Bush on the war. But before he spoke to the National Guard convention in Las Vegas, Kerry sought the advice of yet another sounding board on his plane: former four-star general Wes Clark. Kerry knew from Vietnam what it felt like to face the bullets without the support of the folks back home. So how, one of his senior staff wanted to know, would Kerry's attacks go down now with the troops in Iraq? "Look, the soldiers are debating it themselves on the ground," Clark reassured Kerry's inner circle. "They're coming back and they're incredibly critical. You have to call it like it is."

After many months of trying to find some topic to beat Bush on, he chooses Iraq. Not a bad move, as, there are some problems there. The worry for them is, how will the people react to attacks about Iraq with soldies on the ground.

Smart thinking, attacking at this point can actually do more bad than good for Kerry. A lot of people do not want to hear such attacks while we have people there. Clark has a point though, many of the soldiers coming back are questioning our being there. What he fails to take into consideration is, in every war, soldiers question whether we should be there or not. This isn't anything new.
After the summer's phony war over Vietnam medals and memos, the 2004 election has landed in the real-world battleground of Iraq. For Camp Kerry, it's a liberating feeling to engage in straight talk about Iraq, shaking off debate about the candidate's Senate votes.

Did you read that? Let me put that down again.
shaking off debate about the candidate's Senate votes.

Lord knows we don't want to talk about where a candidate has stood on issues over the last 20 years. They have to be kidding, right? If this is the attitude thay plan to take, they can pack their bags and go home, they will get destroyed.
"I'm thrilled," said one of Kerry's longtime loyalists, "because it's the John Kerry I know and love." Kerry's gambit: to revive his campaign—trailing by anywhere between one and 13 points in new polls—by questioning Bush's credibility on the conflict, his management of postwar Iraq and the no-bid contracts won by his veep's old firm, Halliburton. Kerry is betting that the hard truths of Iraq will undercut Bush's soft-focus picture of a liberated nation, and ultimately the president's image as a war leader.

While questioning some of the problems faced in Iraq may be a good thing, going after Bush as a war leader is going to back fire on them. People will look at that as an attack on the troops, even though it isn't meant as one.
The reaction from Camp Bush was gleeful. "Good," said one senior Bush aide. "We're glad he's talking about Iraq." It remains Exhibit A in the flip-flopping case against Kerry, built around his prewar nuances and his postwar votes. Moreover, the Bush campaign sees Kerry's attacks as a sign of weakness and as an attempt to shore up his base—a leftward tilt that could alienate "persuadables" in battleground states. Bush's advisers are confident that their candidate can win any contest of straight talk, pointing to a series of polls that give him a big lead on questions of honesty and consistency. And Bush is certainly bullish on the subject on the stump. "We'll help them get their elections, we'll get them on the path to stability and democracy as quickly as possible, and then our troops will return home with the honor they have earned," he told one rally in St. Cloud, Minn., last week. Yet back in Washington, Bush quietly receives considerably less glossy weekly national-security briefings on Iraq. In their candid moments, the president's aides concede they have struggled to convince voters about the mission in Iraq now that Saddam Hussein is sitting in jail. "Well, no, I don't think they know what it is," said one senior Bush strategist.

Can you blame the Bush campaign for being happy? We're what, 44 days out and the Keery camp has just figured this out? And, this really may be a loser for Kerry because his position has changed so many times. It will be interesting to watch.

The last sentence of that paragraph is the most important for Bush. They have not been good at explaining what our mission is in Iraq. Is it too late to start explaining now? No, this is one of the main issues Bush should consintrate on. Get your message out about Iraq, make it simple and help Americans understand where it is you're coming from.