The International Writers Magazine: US Election; Reality Check
GEORGETOWN FACTOR Part II
GOP Trash Talking Part II
following is the continuation of a conversation conducted over
the phone on 5/18 between the author and this spaces most
reliably inscrutable Republican snitch Georgetown.
has to stay close enough to pummel him in the debates, or its
james campion: Okay,
now lets get back to this presidential campaign. How much money
will Bush have to fight?
Georgetown: I dont know. Could he have $100 million by July or
August? Sure. It wont matter. Nothing matters now but Iraq. He
brought this upon himself. It means everything. Its a referendum
on this administration. Its a fucking shame.
jc: But Kerry cannot compete financially.
GT: What? Hes loaded. His wife is an international bank. Hes
fine. Her money saved him in Iowa. It makes no sense that hes
trying to circumvent the campaign finance rules by holding off his nomination
at the convention. Its stupid politics too. Hell get a bump
out of that thing if it goes as a news story and the networks carry
it. If its a political rally in Boston, he wont get nearly
the coverage and no bump. Hes taking bad advice. He needs a "Good-Time
Hour" attack. This is what those things are now. He needs to show
a warmer side on a larger stage. His people know it, but theyre
obsessed with money over there. Its bullshit politics.
jc: This election as of right now, as all incumbent presidential campaigns,
is about the president. But eventually Kerry has to stand for something
other than "Im not Bush."
GT: Im not so sure, but okay.
jc: Historically Kerry is a better one-on-one campaigner than he is
on a larger scale stump. Im hearing his inability to conduct a
massive national campaign will compromise his efforts, so he needs to
stay close until the debates. Kerrys twice the debater Gore was
and despite a horribly boring performance from Gore in 2000 and a distinct
rally from Bush on the debate front, everyone knows the presidents
ability to extemporize in these settings is awful. Kerry has to stay
close enough to pummel him in the debates, or its a crapshoot,
despite the Iraq results.
GT: Fair points, but I would say, above all, if Bush doesnt raise
his approval ratings above 50% by Labor Day this will be a dogfight
and that does not bode well for a mediocre campaigner like Bush. He
had the advantage of playing from in front and outside the fray in 2000.
jc: Where he earned the apt nickname, Captain Shoe-in.
GT: Its the exact opposite now. No one, despite what they tell
you from Karl Rove on down has a fucking clue how the president will
respond. Hes surprised everyone before. It looks like hell
have to do it again.
jc: Lets nail down the battleground states. For the sake of this
discussion I see 18 currently. Listing in alphabetical order, they are;
Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota,
Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Louisiana, Ohio, Oregon,
Pennsylvania, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Take me through
them from a White House/GOP perspective.
GT: I hate doing this in May. See me in August.
jc: Never mind. This is about when Gore screwed up in 2000 and Bush
sr. started to slide in 1992. They both waited too long.
GT: Clinton won in August of 92 when Perot dropped out. Gore never
jc: Granted, but Bush could have crushed Clinton that summer. He did
not respect the campaign. This Bush does. He just completed a tour of
Ohio, Missouri and Michigan. And I see Kerry has dumped a ton of TV
money into Colorado (and Virginia). Hes been in the Midwest for
weeks. Its go time. Talk to me.
GT: For the sake of argument, and its very early, mind you, I
see Arizona as more of a done deal for the White House. I think the
Kerry people were banking too much on how much McCain hates Bush, and
make no mistake, he has not forgiven him for South Carolina, but Arizona
is not a battleground state. The White House will carry it.
jc: Are you talking about all that pro-choice stuff during the 2000
primary after McCain took New Hampshire?
GT: All the stuff. I know people who as recently as Easter have it solid
that McCain would not mind seeing Bush crash and burn on a personal
level, although I give McCain a ton of credit. Hes never been
interested in bettering his career by playing statistical politics.
I know one thing; he despises Kerrys Viet Nam flip-flops more
than his grudge with Bush. So its a toss up on a personal basis,
but it doesnt matter. I see McCain as a key ally in Arizona, and
maybe the whole campaign itself. Believe me, thats why we have
Campaign Finance laws now. The Bush people saw this coming. They appeased
McCain for Arizona. Its going Republican in November.
Jc: So theyll use McCain to circumvent Kerrys heroic soldier
GT: You bet your ass.
jc: Forget New Hampshire. Kerry is not losing New Hampshire. And Missouri
is solid Democrat if Gephardt is the VP nominee. I would say Michigan
is also in jeopardy of going Democrat as a result.
GT: Conceivably. Id count on Missouri, but not Michigan per se.
Were really worried about Ohio. Youre talking a miniscule
Bush victory in 2000 there and theyre a bankrupt state with thousands
of lost jobs. Bush shouldnt waste any money in Ohio. Hes
done there. Michigan is a toss up with Gephardt or not.
jc: Its always a toss up.
GT: The most unpredictable national election state ever.
jc: Scale of one to ten, ten being a solid yes, where does the White
House stand on Florida right now?
GT: Im going to say five for you right now, but my gut feeling
is more toward seven or eight in November. Do not underestimate the
Bush political machine down there. Is the governor working it? Yes.
jc: I think Ohio, Michigan and Missouri, not Florida, will carry the
day in November.
GT: Its as simple as this; Kerry leads or is in the ballpark in
these Midwest states. If that is the case this fall, he will be president
with or without Florida. If Bush wins Florida, but loses those two or
three of those states hes toast. I dont think the White
House thinks Florida is a concern this time around, and Id have
jc: How are the Bush people seeing this campaign, as an aggressive fight
or a stabilizing force. In other words
GT: In other words do they
see it as a rabid defense of the prize or a strong hold against a wild
GT: I think theyll start off stabilizing the fight. They already
have. Theyll paint Kerry every which way to Sunday as a loose
canon, but eventually these guys have to get down and dirty with Kerry
and bring out the anti-liberal guns, or they will not win. You see I
dont view this campaign as "too close to call". This
is Kerrys to lose now. I think the president has to get ugly soon.
Bring the fear. Fear will keep Bush in work. Fear of the unknown is
the best medicine. Saved Johnson in 64 and Truman in 48.
Poll the fear factor. Then youll see competent results.
© James Campion June 1st 2004
Georgetown Factor Part One
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