The Peach

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Monday, September 06, 2004

Kerry's Message

As poll numbers vary wildly -- some showing a 10 point Bush Bounce, others a Kerry lead, some Democratic leaders have fallen into the trap of publicly offering critiques of Kerry's campaign and message. Given the subtle conservative bias of even the most mainstream media, this is not helpful.

Yesterday on Hardball, for instance, Chris Matthews asked whether Kerry "has what it takes to turn this around" (a question born from the assumption that the campaign is in some kind of huge nosedive to begin with and laced with the old "right stuff" implications of unmanliness that we've heard constantly from the right). His "liberal" representatives, Maureen Dowd and Sam Donaldson, were only too happy to begin speculating, "hmmm, gosh, I don't know . . ." In short, affirming, rather than questioning Matthews fundamental, false premises and biases in front of millions of viewers. Meanwhile, of course, the real conservatives on the program trashed Kerry left and right.

We want to propose instead that Democratic commentators (and all of us) take up the mantra suggested by DailyKos this week -- saying to anyone who will listen, "Bush is a miserable failure and fortunately, Kerry has a plan that will really make life better . . ." Continually and relenlessly hammer Bush's record of disastrous failure, abroad and at home. Follow each point with highlights of Kerry's plan.

And (this is mostly addressed to media commentators and talking heads but some of us hear these things on the street too), when Republicans make statements or ask questions that are laced with lies, hypocrisy or false assumptions, POINT IT OUT FIRST. Then go on to tell them why Bush is a miserable failure and how Kerry will make life better.


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