Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Thoughts on RepCon, part 1

The speakers, until Wed., were boring. The delegates were bored. They clearly looked like a bunch of people who realized they were on a sinking ship and there was nothing they could do about it.

And with good reason. McCain gave an awful speech. Much as Kerry before him, McCain, who has been in politics most of my lifetime, clearly showed he has no personality and no idea of how to give a rousing speech. Amazing to me, but both he and Kerry are either in such safe districts (or states) that they don’t need to appeal to anyone, or they pay off a lot of people. They share the same infuriating lack of knowledge as to how to have an effective pause, how to build up a crowd with your voice, how to suck the crowd in for more, hanging on your every word. The material wasn’t so bad, but the delivery could put a mule to sleep.

And then a funny thing happened on Wed. night. The speakers got mean and nasty. I don’t mean made for TV mean, I mean Zell Miller looked like he could chew barbed wire and drink napalm. He was the southern preacher with a thick hickory stick walking into the house of ill-repute ready to bust open some heads for the Good Lord Above. He didn’t smile. He didn’t look happy. And, when it was done, he showed how serious he was by going on Hardball and challenging Matthews to a duel. An honest to goodness duel. And he looked and sounded like he meant it. I agree with RbR...he's gone nuts.

Now, I didn’t see all of Cheney’s speech…unlimited pasta bowls at the Olive Garden were calling…but it was much of the same. When are the rumors of Botox going to start…he had no change from his usual, grumpy sour-puss expressions.

But this did a funny thing—it energized the crowd. And the reason, I think, is exactly what Chris Suellentrop says in today’s Slate says: Republicans hate Kerry more than they like Bush. Which is funny, because that’s what Democrats say…well, in reverse, of course. And it certainly looked to be the case. Cheney mounted the worst defense of tax cuts and the war in Iraq last night, yet the crowd was all over him for his anti-Kerry remarks. Same with Zell Miller. Bashing the Chin gave them a reason to be there.

So this convention has quickly turned (for one night only?) into a get out the haters…and while we can debate whether that will get the Republicans any more votes, it is also the same strategy the Democrats are using. Well, that would be if they had a strategy…

Next on the agenda—the Kerry campaign is quickly heading downhill. As Jon Lovitz as Mike Dukakis said on SNL, “I can’t believe [he’s] losing to this guy.”


Anonymous said...

As Tom Lehrer once said, "What is it that has put America in the forefront of nuclear nations? And what is it that has allowed your country to 20 billion dollars to put some clown on the moon? Good old American know-how that's what. As provided by good old Americans like Herr Doktor Werner von Braun."

Re the Mean and Nasty RNC: These attacks are nothing new. There are no new revelations or accusations. The difference is that they got free airtime to scream them at us. I'm wondering how convincing they will be to the undecideds (who must have heard this all in ads for months). Frankly, they give me the impression of people who are really defensive and insecure not a party on a role to electoral victory.

We'll see what happens when Kerry starts running his ads again and during the debates.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I'm surprised at the assertion, based on the evidence available to date, that Bush will win the election. Poll results have shown him behind (by small margins) until recently, and almost no polling shows him ahead. At this point, it's only some "gut feeling" that Prof WVB is going on. I hear this from others too, but it's little more than a bias in favor of believing that the (familiar) status quo will continue. Change, however, is part of political life. The real prudent call is that it is impossible to call the election at this point. The polls generally favor a Kerry victory in the sense that there are many possible scenarios for a Kerry victory, but few for a Bush victory (e.g., Bush cannot possibly win without BOTH Ohio and Florida). However, the opportunity to shake up the race remains with the incumbent president who can -- with military activity, for example -- change the agenda.

For the same reason, ordinary people believed a Gore victory was all but inevitable during much of 2000. Political scientists believed that based on simplistic models of voting that (more or less) equated economics with politics.

Bell Curve said...

And I am surprised that you claim that "Get out the haters" is the democratic strategy. I completely disagree. The Kerry team has been obsessively trying to keep the image positive, because they know the Bush-haters are going to come out anyway. There are three groups of likely voters (from my interpretation): (1) Those who would vote against Bush even if Stalin were running against him (2) Those who would vote for Bush even if he were to eat a live poodle on national TV and (3) The mush-heads, who generally dislike Bush but aren't sure about Kerry. There's no need to convince people Bush has been bad, but there is a need to convince people that Kerry is a better alternative. That's what they've been trying to do.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Zogby's new poll has bad news for the Democrats. I tend to put stock in Zogby above other pollsters for his intelligent methodology and good track record. He showed 50-43 (Kerry) on 8/14. 3 weeks later, he shows 46-44 (Bush). The drop in Kerry's support is much more significant than the increase for Bush. This 2 point Bush lead is his first real lead in any national poll. It shows that Kerry has real work to do after Labor Day to counteract the Swift Boat Ad. It also shows the anti-Bush feeling of earlier in the summer, with large casualties, fading (casualties are rising faster, but the reportage has stopped).

The Law Talking Guy said...

On the plus side for Democrats, state polls are showing a firming up of Kerry's support in MN, WI, and Michigan. The uptick in support for Bush nationwide appears to be a reinforcement of the base in already heavily Republican states, not a movement of swing voters.