Thursday, September 02, 2004

Kerry's Campaign Strategy

This is basically an extension of my previous post.
Why was the Kerry campaign so unprepared for the SwiftVets? Why were they in such total disarray? Answer: they thought the Liberal Mainstream Media (LMM) would protect them. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they actually received assurances from the LMM top brass that they wouldn't touch the SwiftVet story with a ten feet pole. The LMM had already ignored the emotional SwiftVet press conference held in Washington D.C. on May 4th. The Kerry people were probably somewhat concerned when it became apparent that the veterans hadn't given up, but I doubt if they lost any sleep over it.
The SwiftVets managed to scrape together enough money to run a TV ad in three battleground states; Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The LMM ignored it for a couple of weeks, but talk radio, Fox News and the blogosphere practically bullied them into covering the story.
You know the rest.
The SwiftVets managed to destroy the carefully planned strategy formulated by the Kerry campaign and the DNC back in late winter. Here's how I think it went down: Kerry has an abysmal senate voting record on national security issues, and the country is at war. What to do? First, attack Bush's National Guard service. The national and Texas media had already thoroughly investigated it several times, but the LMM would be more than happy to do it all again. Second, make Kerry's Vietnam service the centerpiece of his campaign. This would help portray Kerry as a tough guy who was capable of taking on Al Q'aeda. Kerry had already taken steps in this direction by hiring historian Douglas Brinkley to write a glowing biography of him. This was to be a major component of his campaign (unfortunately for him, it was to be his undoing. The SwiftVets read it).
Kerry's Vietnam combat record would serve another important purpose. It would be a shield to deflect any criticism of Kerry's senate record. Any time a Republican questioned that record, Kerry would simply respond with "How dare you question my patriotism! I served in Vietnam. Bush and Cheney didn't. I've got three Purple Hearts. Yadda-yadda-yadda..."
The strategy seemed to be working... until the SwiftVets destroyed it.

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