By Dick Morris
April 07, 2004
For a while, the Kerry collapse was disguised by the national focus on Richard Clarke's accusations about Bush's policies before and after 9/11. The short-term impact of the Clarke hearings was to besmirch the Bush image, but once the headlines faded, the remorseless Bush attacks on Kerry began to take their toll in earnest.
The conventional wisdom has been that the contest between Bush and Kerry will be very close. But the evidence is mounting that it may not be. Consider what Bush has going for him:
On the other side of the ledger are the continuing casualties in Iraq. Bush can't sustain these losses week after week. He dare not go into the election with a daily body count topping each night's news.
While the news media will cover U.S. and Iraqi deaths with the same sensationalism, American voters care vastly more about the safety of our own troops than the restoration of peace and order in Iraq. Bush needs to get over his nation-building fixation and cut our losses after the transfer of sovereignty.
He should keep our troops on bases and end the patrols into the towns and villages. That task is best handled by the Iraqi police and troops themselves. The U.S. soldiers should be standing by to stop the bad guys from coming back into power. Even if Iraq remains a powder keg with constant bombings and attacks, they will make no political difference in our election unless Americans are killed.
Without the economy to use as a hot button issue to attract voters, the Democratic Party is likely to begin to focus instead in Medicare and Social Security, raising alarms and fears about Bush's privatization alternatives and attacking the prescription-drug benefit. A nice countermove would be to focus on Kerry's support for higher taxes on Social Security recipients and the fact that he missed the vote on Bush's prescription-drug legislation.
The Democrats really have no
issues and their candidate is way too far to the left. The hiring
of John Sasso, competent as he may be, is indicative. Kerry seems
destined to run the worst Democratic campaign since Mike Dukakis,
Sasso's previous employer.
Dick Morris was an adviser to Bill Clinton for 20 years. Morris is a political consultant, commentator and best selling author. Look for his newest book, "Power Plays" and his new book, "Off With Their Heads - Traitors, Crooks & Obstructionists In American Politics".
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