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jjmalonejr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-17-04 02:55 PM
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10. Security Issues
All of these things contributed, but when push comes to shove I believe that Americans were pumped full of fear and misinformation and Kerry was unsuccessful at penetrating this veil of terror.

Yes, fraud happened and needs to be investigated, but I'm just not convinced it made the difference.

Yes, values voters came out in numbers, but I'm still not convinced it made the difference.

Jobs, taxes, health care, abortion, guns, gay marriage...you name it, they all take a back seat to these BIGGER issues of national security (no matter WHAT people say to pollsters). Constantly pivoting back to your comfy domestic issues, and constantly playing defense on the less comfy "wedge" issues, takes the focus off where you want it to be. Attack your opponent where he's strongest, or his strength will come back to bite you. Unless you debunk the myth of the "strong, decisive commander-in-chief who keeps us safe from terrorists," you COULD NOT WIN.

Mistakes aside (and there were a number of them), Kerry did a pretty good job on Iraq and foreign policy when he spoke about them. Trying to link the $200B spent on the war to the shortchanging of domestic programs was lame, though. People will pay any price if they believe it makes them safe. When people are afraid (and the GOP made sure that they were), pocketbook issues are far less important.

Kerry did begin an attempt to de-link the Iraq War from the War on Terrorism, but didn't spend enough time on it to really make it sink in. He let rhetoric from the Bush campaign that he wasn't committed to success in Iraq neuter his criticism. When he got accused of being a dove, he feigned being a hawk. And he wonders why the flip-flopping accusations stuck?

On terrorism, he only pointed to the President's ineffectiveness SINCE the attacks, and completely avoided an examination of Bush's pre-9/11 priorities. I suppose that was out of fear of a backlash, but when Cheney's going around saying that electing Kerry would increase the likelihood of another attack, how could ANYTHING you say be construed as a low blow?

Mind you, I say all of this as a staunch Kerry supporter, and one who would support him again in 2008 (the "Payback" election).
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