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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

...require desperate measures

So now we come to discover that George Bush and friends didn't exactly act with immediate and vigorous outrage. John Kerry neatly provided them a perfect sound bite to launch the swift boat, which they did one day later.

Lost (to me at any rate) in all the noise about Kerry's remark that students should study hard or they would go to Iraq is that Sen. Malaprop made his comments on Monday. The Bush machine geared up for a Tuesday response. Ah spontaneity.

Here's a really crucial passage from the Washington Post:
The White House tipped off the networks to when Bush would attack Kerry, so the comments could be carried live and make the evening news.
The picture that emerges upon a little reflection is of a White House so desperate to change the subject that is uses the Kerry "joke" gin up the attack machine -- including the now-compliant John McCain -- and launches a coordinated response with Tony Snow that tries to relive the glory days of the 2004 election.

John Kerry also tries to relive the past and respond the way he should have two years ago. Instant "crisis" for the network correspondents, pundits in hot pursuit.

Critics of media campaign coverage often charge that journalists (and Democrats) relive the last campaign. That's clearly the case here, as Kerry noted in one of his better moments.

This campaign has been hard fought on issues that go way beyond Kerry's service and whether the troops are respected. I haven't seen polling but I would suspect a large plurality belief the Bush administration disrespects the troops because it puts them in harm's way without a clear reason (raison d'etre in Kerry speak).

A large group of Republican candidates certainly don't think Iraq is a winning issue for them.

I'm inclined to agree with the unnamed Democratic strategist who told the Post Kerry comments are an unnecessary distraction but would soon be forgotten.

But they won't be forgotten by Democrats two years from now if Kerry follows through on his hopes for a second chance. Nor should they be forgotten. Take out those re-election papers now John.


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