Thursday, September 23, 2004

Does anybody remember President McGovern?

Dick Morris looks at John Kerry's suicidal embrace of Deania and just shakes his head:

"Stung by criticism that his campaign lacks direction and focus, Senator John Kerry has chosen to base his candidacy on an all-out assault on President Bush's record in Iraq — indeed, opted to move to the left decisively and attack the war head-on.

"Liberals will cheer Kerry's new-found decisiveness, but it opens the way for Bush to deal him a counterstroke that can all but end this election and finish off Kerry for good.

"Kerry's right flank is now gapingly vulnerable to a Bush attack. According to Scott Rasmussen's tracking polls, 30% to 40% of Kerry's voters disagree with his new leftward tilt on Iraq...Bush can now move in and peel off Kerry's moderate supporters.

"John Kerry has zigged when he should have zagged. He has chosen to fight over terror and Iraq when he should have stayed on domestic issues. He has tacked left when he should have stayed in the center on foreign issues and attacked on matters closer to home."

I'll say it again: that was precisely my publicly-offered advice to the Democrats a full year ago.

Good thing they're not bowled over by my vast influence, huh?

Of course, one can ask just how much domestic traction Kerry could have gained in the midst of a burgeoning economic boom. Given the economic "plan" he's offered, it's difficult to see how he could have ever gone to town on it. His health care "plan" is a statist fraud. His education "plan" is as redundant as it is invisible.

That's not to say that Morris, or I, was wrong about emphasizing domestic issues. Just that doing so successfully quite evidently requires a far better quality of candidate than the Democrats have fielded.You could even conclude, and many doubtless will afterwards, that this is one of those years, with the inevitable primacy of national security, in which any Democrat would have had a forelornly uphill struggle, regardless of the strategy employed.

But John Kerry has made his task even more, and needlessly, difficult by approaching the campaign as if he didn't need a strategy beyond his hoary old Massachusetts senate re-election template. Now that he's found out differently, and just at the ultimate moment of crisis and typical indecision, in came the Clinton cavalry with what might be dubbed "Operation Custer" - a botched smear attempt (Rathergate), a snarling, relentless attack pose against Bush (which won't make him any more personable and for which he's highly ill-suited), and the wholesale embrace of Howard Dean dementia (which I could have sworn Dems dumped Dean for Kerry to avoid).

It brings to mind the old joke about Little Big Horn: Why was the ground all white after Custer's last stand? Because the Indians kept coming and coming and coming...

In this case, the "Indians" are in Kerry's own camp.

And there's absolutely nothing about that picture that's remotely pretty...