Even Miss Cleo could see Karl coming....

Over that last few weeks, many (including me) have offered a pithy four or five-point list on how we lost this election.  We all know Rove and Bushteam had a great strategy and a better execution.  But one thing no one really points to is that these guys consistently telegraph their strategies.  

From telegraphing the evangelical push (Rove publicly stated in 01 how they planned to gain 4 million new evan. votes) to exploiting 9/11 (Rove was using pictures of Bush on AF1 on 9/11 to use as a fundraising tool the week after the tragedy) these guys tip their hand so much Miss Cleo could predict their next move.  

Even their campaign was telegraphed to us.  Before Dean even rose to the top in Winter 03, Bushteam was announcing his theme of strength and before Kerry got the nom, Bush was spewing his mind-numbing STRONG LEADERSHIP slogan.

In the early summer, I remember reading about a book being published from some Vietnam vets slamming Kerry's service as invalid, yet they ignored it.

While Bushteam spanned the US expanding his base (as he said he'd do in early 02), Kerry couldn't bother with Arkansas much, or even Virginia.
And NOW we try to figure out what went wrong???
That's like bitching to high heaven about the school jock stealing your girlfriend, but you stood by quietly for months while he flirted with her!

The thesis of this point lies in a spring 04 article I read in Newsweek.  Mary Beth Campaignkill was in an article talking about how Kerry wouldn't go negative "because the people of this country wouldn't stand for that kind of campaign after 9/11."
And in the next paragraph, Newsweek was reporting on the new round of negative ads Bushteam was running the following week.

I recognize that political strategies use bluffing to confuse their opponents, but COME ON!  These guys consistently show their cards and then laugh at us when they play them and we lose.

Just today I read about a round of advertising for Social Insecurity Piratization these guys are planning.  And you KNOW a hispanic pro-life con is being groomed for SCOTUS.

So my question to you is, how prepared will we be the next time?

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Comments

15 Comments

Question: Aren't the voters the problem?
not the Republican strategy? As long as you have ignorant and feckless voters you are bound to end up with a shoddy government. I agree with D'Toqueville that the people get the government they deserve. Right now the American people don't desrve a whole lot. The long term strategy for having a good society, not simply a good government, is to educate the people. Jefferson said it, Bertrand Russell said it, Buckminster Fuller said it and many, many more.

Right now we are in the opening decades of what could either be the "information age" or a Dark Age.   The ruling variable is the quality of the people. Right now we have a society that sports at least 40% who reject evolution, and another 40% on one kind of drug or another. Those are probably low estimates. Liberals often love to talk about the poor, usually laying a guilt trip on the successful to spend more money on them. I believe its time to talk TO the poor.

Browbeat them until they behave. Get our kids to stop playing video games and study. The list could  go on and on. Bottom line, improve the people and you will improve the government.

by Paul Goodman 2005-01-02 03:30PM | 0 recs
yes, and they are the solution
David Schuster, msnbc Harball correspondent wrote a blog that has been haunting me the last two months and it touched on what you proport.

In the face of so many believing Saddam and bin laden were partners, Schuster questioned if it was good for the country if the misinformed were allowed to vote, if what they are voting for is a lie and will never come to fruition.  He said no and I agree.

Just finished reading What's the Matter With Kansas? and the best part of that book is where he writes about scores of people buying into the conservative victimhood myth, where every life problem can be neatly attributed to elitist Liberals.  Scary.

Fortunately for us, if we recognize this, we can sway some of these people if we employ the same image manipulation.  I don't like writing this because it is unprincipled, but then again, if you are bothered by having to act without principles to some degree, you shouldn't get involved in politics.

by Sam Loomis 2005-01-02 06:00PM | 0 recs
Always be principled
By playing into the "media mind" that likes to analyse everything from a pseudo-Machiavellian point-of-view, you throw gasoline onto the fire. We have a real problem of people getting thrown away by capitalism, by hedonism, and by narcissism. Even the so-called "netroots" wants to throw away John Kerry. At some point you have to put your foot down and say that enough is enough and we will put people first and ideology last.

We need to start valuing people for more than what they can do for us. Can that be an American value once again?

by Paul Goodman 2005-01-03 06:16AM | 0 recs
great point
And that is what makes our party fundamentally different from GOP, statements like that.

I agree fully, but I also think that we can't promote those ideals if we never win.  Thus I embrace some of the  Machiavellian strategies to topple opposition for the good of those who don't have a voice to fight for themselves.

by Sam Loomis 2005-01-03 06:24AM | 0 recs
One needs to be unabashed
Many people who tout Dean do so because he is unabashed. Kerry's problem, and the one he will need to disproove if he wants to run again, was that he was apologizing for what he purportedly believed in (except for social security and government health care).

If you are a liberal, stand up for what you believe in! People may not vote for you this year (or perhaps certainly won't vote for you) but there will  come a time when the people get sick of the Republican hypocrisy. When they do you had better have spelled-out your alternative in black and white. That way you can actually sell the programs worth selling to the American people. Notice how the President has all that political capital and nothing to spend it on because he only campaigned on generalities.

by Paul Goodman 2005-01-03 01:37PM | 0 recs
It's been driving me crazy.
Rove is so confident at the absolute political incompetence of Dems that he'd probably courier his entire strategy to the DNC. Hell, the Dems couldn't even take advantage of the Power Point presentation on the political motives of the Iraqi invasion! Not to mention the blood-letting of the 2000 election on the altar national security.

Unfortunately, his confidence in Dem leaders' ineptness, corruptness, craven cowardice and rank stupidity seems justified.

From 9/11 onward he's played the Dem leaders for weak, clueless, impotent fools. They've vacillated between "playing nice" in vain hopes of mercy to muted cries of helpless outrage.

I, for one, have had it with the stupidity and lack of ideals demonstrated by the current Dem leadership.

by Southern Patriot 2005-01-02 04:03PM | 0 recs
don't let it
I know.

I plan on notifying my reps here this week to express my desire to see more dems go on the offensive and how tired I am of watching them lay down.

You can't be painted a liberal/commie/wuss if you don't let them near your house to paint it that way.

It's time to stop letting them in our yard.

by Sam Loomis 2005-01-02 06:08PM | 0 recs
Preach brother, Preach!
You are so right.  That's what's so amazing about our lost.  They are an open book as far as their campaigning is concerned and we still lost.  It was almost like they are begging us to run a real race but we still run with our hands tied behind our backs. We can't call ourselves an opposition party if we don't run an effective campaign.  You have to run contrast (or negative) ads so the public will know how you differ from the incumbent.  Bio ads just don't cut it.   It absolutely mind numbing to me that we keep hiring the same consultants (Shrum) and he provides stupid advice from the 1970s.  I was never a Dean fan but ... Perhaps our party understands now that it needs upheaval.  A lot of people gave their hard earned money so Kerry can never claim that he didn't have the money to run an effective campaign.  His campaign management let a lot of people down.
by mishiem 2005-01-03 03:25AM | 0 recs
exactly
Yeah, I knew Dean couldn't beat Bush, mostly because he was not very TV-savvy, definitely not yet ready for prime time.

But he's the only serious contender from the primaries that KNEW that this wasn't just about him winning the office, it was about much more than that and you could see in his face that he understood what was at stake with another GOP 4 years.  Who else did?

Kerry didn't.
And more importantly, his staff didn't.

I don't mean to bitch but the next candidate better learn from this:  Every Newsweek article I ever read about Kerry, they always have an 'anonymous' campaign advisor/staffer.  And if they aren't saying something totally stupid, then they were busy bashing Kerry and trashing his wife.

And, uhhh, at what point did he FIRE his staff who kept slagging him in press?

He still has most of them.

REASON # 2134 WHY WE CONTINUE TO LOSE.

Let's put pressure on the future nom to avoid these mistakes.

by Sam Loomis 2005-01-03 04:18AM | 0 recs
How bizarre is it that--- in this day of TeeVee
campaigns where image is everything--- that the Dem Party can't come up with a media savvy candidate and staff?

For example: whoever let Kerry even wear Hawaiian board shorts much less go windsurfing during the RNC should be banned from Dem politics for life.

Dean doesn't have the media savvy persona for TeeVee but he was the only one with guts enough to rally the rank and file.

If the Kerry campaign had the necessary go-for-the-jugular attitude then they would have had Edwards staging a "slag Bush" counter-convention in NYC during he RNC. Whattadya do when the entire nation's media camps out in the nation's media capital to cover your opponent? You give them a counter story and start painting Bush as the inept, imperial wannabe that he is.

Instead, Kerry calls the cameras to confirm the Repub caricature of him as a rich playbory gigolo.

by Southern Patriot 2005-01-03 05:23AM | 0 recs
Just to prove that Kerry is totally clueless...
Apparently now he's making noises about running AGAIN!
by Southern Patriot 2005-01-03 05:25AM | 0 recs
not only that
But he did worse.  They asked Hilary Clinton to lead the dem opposition in NYC during that convention.

The one person who everyone admits doesn't really want Kerry to win.

The idea of a VP in the town of the GOP convention, holding a 'counterconvention' is brilliant.

He hints to Newsweek he wants to run again.  Huh.
Did you read the Newsweek election special issue.  It had a picture of Bush and was titled "How He Did it."

They should have had Kerry on the front and titled it "How He Didn't."  That issue is a must read for any campaign advisor because it outlines every major mistake Kerry made, and the biggest one is having camapaign staff that whisper inside tips and disrespectful comments to the press corps.

That's ok.  Primary 08 will send Kerry back to MA pretty quickly.  We'll make sure of that.

by Sam Loomis 2005-01-03 05:57AM | 0 recs
Re: exactly
Yea, he has no loyalty at all from his staff.  Republicans rarely diss Bush in public but Democrats do it all the time. I have no idea who they think it benefits. Those staffers who dog Kerry are self-interested and should be stricken from future campaigns if they can't keep their mouths shut! I'm sure Kerry has an idea who is doing it.
by mishiem 2005-01-03 07:44AM | 0 recs
You're forgetting the gay marriage issue
This was a very close election and I think gay marriage tipped it. Without this issue, we would all now be praising Kerry's team as a bunch of geniuses and laughing at the failure that is Karl Rove. Kerry was a helpless victim of gay marriage. The gays over-reached (in Massachusetts of all places) and handed the thugs a golden opportunity. It was a no brainer to rush anti-gay marriage propositions onto ballots to fire up the hate crowd. The crucial 2% of the vote that swung this election wasn't anti-Kerry or pro-Bush it was anti-gay. Even then it may not even be anti-gay, but pro-hate. The gay issue was just a convenient lens to focus the hate. In this sense, maybe Rove was a genius.

I have a Hispanic friend that did Election Protection in Cleveland. He tells of people that came to him speaking only Spanish that wanted to know, "Where do I go to vote against the gays". They also voted for Bush because, "He hates the gays."

by ineedalife 2005-01-03 05:36AM | 0 recs
Re: You're forgetting the gay marriage issue
It's all about the mechanics.

The gay shit was used to stoke the GOP GOTV engine.  All we had to stoke it wat ABB.  Kerry certainly added nothing to help our engine gain speed.

by Sam Loomis 2005-01-03 05:59AM | 0 recs

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