15 Comments


  • but by definition the campaign isn’t reaching many undecided voters

    But it is. How many people can jam into a political rally (or a $1000-a-plate dinner) realistically, compared to the number of people in the electorate. The campaigns don’t reach voters anymore in person, they do it via TV. I don’t think it hurts the campaign at all, sadly enough.

    much less Democrats who might be persuaded to defect

    Except Zell Miller!

    September 20, 2004
  • Bill hit the nail on the head. How many people actually get into a given campaign event? A few hundred at most. Compare that to the millions who watch it on TV, without realizing how scripted it is, and think “Gee, the heartland really does support Bush.”

    September 20, 2004
  • I don’t know that the Bush-Cheney campaign was so much “more effective” as that the Gore-Lieberman campaign was just so messed up. Lieberman was a lame-duck candidate, and Gore really came off as a snotty asshole. I think if Gore had just not behaved like such a phallus during the debates then they would have had a much better result — election debacles aside. If Gore had picked up just his home state, then Florida wouldn’t have been an issue, but he couldn’t even do that.

    But I agree with you that competence on the campaign trail shouldn’t be an indicator of future perfomance.

    I still say Kerry’s got a shot. And there’s something to remember about the polls: they only poll registered and likely voters according to the rolls from the last election. Also, I saw a recent article (maybe CNN?) that said the poll-takers, for whatever reason, were slanted in their canvassing of Republicans over Dems or third parties. So, basically, the polls don’t really mean shit. And Michael Moore, when he was recently on Bill Maher’s Real Time, said something interesting on the point about how 9.11 polarized this nation like never before, so there’s a whole unpolled portion of the electorate due to show up at the voting booths Nov.2. That gives me some comfort, and I believe — though it may not be a landslide — that GWB is a one-term President.

    September 20, 2004
  • What polling comes down to, at its most base, is that half the electorate is comprised of people stupider than the other half. More easily swayed by emotional tugs, etc. Plus what the fellas above said.

    Chris

    September 20, 2004
  • Right, obviously the TV ads and news footage is where candidates reach the most voters, but it still seems wasteful to spend the bulk of your day, every day, meeting with folks who are going to vote for you anyway, for a few seconds of coverage on the evening news.

    Zell Miller: Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin seduced him in a hot tub full of Jim Beam. It’s an effective strategy, but too expensive and time consuming to use on a mass basis.

    September 20, 2004
  • Yes, but as I said to Bill, the payoff seems disproportionately small for the time and energy invested.

    September 20, 2004
  • I think if Gore had just not behaved like such a phallus during the debates then they would have had a much better result — election debacles aside. If Gore had picked up just his home state, then Florida wouldn’t have been an issue, but he couldn’t even do that.

    Right. So in what way was the Bush campaign less effective? : )

    I certainly hope you’re right about Kerry’s chances. I am not sanguine. Harlan Ellison’s quote comes to mind: the most abundant elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity. I think the order of those elements is reversed in the U.S. electorate.

    September 20, 2004
  • Yeah, we concur. See the Ellison quote above.

    September 20, 2004
  • lmfao, okay, you got me there! It’s just I’m not sure that had Gore’s campaign been actively competent, then Bush’s campaign wouldn’t have necessarily looked more effective. Bush managed to do so well because overall expectations were so low, and Gore just sank like a rock. Had there not been so much high school politicking involved, I’m sure Gore would have come out looking like a rose.

    That is an awesome quote, Harlan rules.

    September 20, 2004
  • More effective than the few seconds on the news, is the party faithful who will then have their few minutes around the office cooler, or talking with friends, or whatever. That’s how the energy is spread.

    If you speak directly to those who are already energized, they will then reach out to the undecided. That way, you reach both the energized and the undecided.

    September 20, 2004
  • Well, yes, I guess it does energize the base. It’s very hard for me to project myself into the mind of an undecided voter: do you not read the newspaper? Well, no. That’s part of the problem—fewer and fewer people read newspapers, or anything else for that matter.

    September 21, 2004
  • Part of the problem in understanding the baffling popularity of this president is that I have such a powerful negative reaction to him and the things he’s done that I can’t figure out how to put myself in the shoes of a Bushie. I have a friend who’s an arch-conservative (and yet a nice guy), and every now and then we talk politics. I suspect we both glean a few interesting tidbits before the conversation degenerates to charged, negative propaganda on both sides. But I still don’t get it.

    I think part of the phenomenon is that once people have made up their minds, they don’t want to change them; people who used to like Bush still do, because they’d feel stupid if they switched. Plus he’s the man in power, and the incumbent has a natural advantage. He already has that “President” mojo. And people who hate Democrats as the baby-eating Satan-worshipers we are don’t need to re-examine their beliefs, because they already know The Truth.

    I keep wanting to shout at Bush supporters, “You really, truly want 4 more years like this?”

    September 21, 2004
  • I think part of the phenomenon is that once people have made up their minds, they don’t want to change them; people who used to like Bush still do, because they’d feel stupid if they switched. Plus he’s the man in power, and the incumbent has a natural advantage.

    I think you hit the nail a glancing blow, at least. I don’t think it’s just that they can’t bear being wrong about Bush, but that admitting he’s led us into catastrophe at home and abroad would require a shift in world view:

    • Maybe the neocons aren’t the foreign policy grownups they claim to be;
    • Maybe there is more to being tough than talking tough;
    • Maybe the government does lie to us to cover its own ineptitude;
    • Maybe the solution to difficult international problems isn’t always force;
    • Maybe the hated French, who we love to mock, were right.

    September 21, 2004
  • Plus — and I just thought of this yesterday, listening to a normally moderate radio talk-show host foam at the mouth about those inhuman monster Islamic extremists — a lot of people in this country are really hurting right now, and Bush promises vengeance and blood. Whether the blood should be spilled seems less important to a lot of Americans than just making someone in the right general geographic vicinity pay for our pain.

    It gets to me when people distance themselves from others of our race by calling them “inhuman.” As if humanity doesn’t have a long history of savagery and monstrosity. I honestly believe distancing ourselves from our enemies by calling them inhuman, and calling for their blood, are the first and second steps toward the atrocities that talk-show host was describing.

    September 22, 2004
  • You’re absolutely right, of course (though I didn’t think a moderate radio talk-show host existed). This administration plays to many of people’s darker emotions, none more so than the desire for revenge, and one “enemy” will do just as well as another as the target. Nothing is more emblematic of this reflexive, ignorant bellicosity than the AP photo of a bomb on a U.S. Navy aircraft chalked with the legend “HIGH JACK THIS FAGS.”

    September 23, 2004

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