Monday, October 04, 2004

My Take on "Jacketgate"

Another week, another GIANT scandal. Only this time, I’m not enthused.

As far as “Jacketgate” goes, I’m going to have pick the “drop-it,” side. There are only 29 days left until the election. I don’t believe this issue has decent potential to damage Kerry even if true, for a couple of reasons:

  1. Modern political debates are micromanaged events for the benefit of the candidates – not the voters. Whining about Kerry having note cards – actually whining about the mere possibility because the evidence is pretty thin – sounds petty, small, and legalistic. It also conveys a sense of “wimp” onto the campaign making the charge. If this could be concretely proven, the best way to handle it would be to make some brief jokes about Kerry needing reminders whether he was supposed to flip, or flop on any given issue that night. And then let it go.
  2. Kerry didn’t pull any great stunts that suggested unfair advantage during the debate. He just delivered his stump-speech stuff from the preceding week. Bush’s poor speaking was more of the style story than Kerry’s brilliance. And this is also not new. Bush has performed similarly poorly in debates in the past – as those of us who remember the 2000 Republican primaries can attest.
  3. We have two more debates yet to come (3 if you count the VP debate). Republicans should enter them with confidence and strength – not grumbling sour grapes about the last one. It’s distracting, and it does send a message to undecided voters about the character of your campaign.

I think Bush is still in great shape. He had a bad performance, but he gained excellent ammunition on the foreign policy issues Kerry is (finally) choosing to run on. Republicans should quit wasting their time talking about the prior debate performances – which will only remind voters how good Kerry looked compared to Bush – and focus that same energy on calling attention to the issues coming out of the debate: from Kerry’s “Iraq is a mistake,” position, to nuclear fuel for Iran, to bribing the French to help us.

Let's have less talk about Kerry's jacket, and more on his channeling of the unilateral nuclear disarmament movement. Mark Levin's piece in NRO today is a good start.


Blogger Army of Mom said...

I can't seem to really care about this, you know? Katie Couric was touting how Kerry is now ahead of Bush in the polls and it was more than I could stand. I don't think it is going to make any great difference in November. At least I hope not.

12:16 PM  

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