Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Here's how President Bush can win the debate against John Kerry
How important are debates: In recent elections, presidential debates have been dismissed as "snooze fests" short on any newsmaking developments. Hardly anyone remembers the debates that Bill Clinton had with Bob Dole in 1996. Polls taken after debates over the years have shown that the results are a mixed bag; partisans thought their guy won while independents were split down the middle.
The premium placed on this debate between President Bush and Senator Kerry is different. Bush has a big lead in the polls and Kerry has struggled to close the gap. Therefore, those who want Kerry to win are turning this debate into an important heavyweight bout, "The Rumble in the Jungle." The only way that Kerry can catch up to Bush is if he wins the debate and if the debate itself is seen as the most important factor in choosing a president.
The liberals are setting up a news cycle that is ready to spring into action if Kerry is perceived as a convincing winner. They want to do everything they can to try to convince voters that this is once again, a horserace. The Super Bowl type pre-debate coverage has exaggerated the importance that a debate possesses in the totality of a campaign. The Democrats are itching for a street fight but their tactic might backfire if President Bush makes a strong showing. Debates are important, but Kerry's team is throwing all their eggs into one basket.
President Bush can, and most likely, will do a good job in debate. In my humble opinion, I think he will win for the following reasons:
Afghanistan: The "forgotten theater" in the War on Terror, Afghanistan has been a spectacular success in America's fight against the terrorists. An American led international coalition has done a good job of reversing the fortunes of a country that was regressing into the Dark Ages. No wonder that John Kerry and the Democrats hardly ever talk about Afghanistan. By refusing to acknowledge President Bush's successful efforts against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, Bush has a strong quiver in his arsenal of arguments.
Bush must remind people that when he came into office, 4 years ago, the Taliban was a shadowy outfit that had a stranglehold on Afghanistan and was harboring the world's most depraved terrorists. Today, the Taliban is gone and Al Qaeda is seriously degraded. Kerry wants to make people forget about America's success in Afghanistan, but Bush should tout our achievement as much as possible.
Iraq: America has not lost one battle in Iraq, as much as Kerry and others would have us believe. Every time American forces have engaged terrorists in Falluja, Najaf and elsewhere they have been victorious. The only impediments to victory in Iraq are the political wafflers and short-sighted bureaucrats. Democrats have conjured up defeatist words like "quagmire" to scare American into thinking that we are losing an unwinnable fight. President Bush sees it differently. He has the patience and vision to see us through.
Bush is doing something that Democrats like John Kerry talked about during the 1990's but never got done. In fact, Bill Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act when he was president. Unlike his opponent, Bush does not take lightly the unmitigated suffering of millions of Arabs at the hands of despotic and evil rulers. Bush has the courage to risk political capital to implement his vision of a road map to peace in the Middle East and to protect this country.
Europe: Kerry has assailed Bush for pursuing an "isolationist" stance and "unilateral" policies. The Democrats and Kerry have lamented how we failed to get countries like France, Germany and Russia to join us in throwing Saddam out of power. Bush's detractors like to say he damaged relations with our allies in order to fight Saddam Hussein.
Well, investigations of the Iraqi-U.N. Oil for Food scandal have revealed that those supposed allies had their own selfish and greedy reasons to keep Saddam in power. European interests that wanted to continue doing business with Saddam were not inclined to help us remove a terrible dictator from his Baghdad palaces. Therefore, Bush should turn the tables and ask Kerry why he would defend those European allies who damaged relations with us, the United States, in order to keep Saddam Hussein.
Homeland Security: After the attacks of September 11, many experts, pundits and talking heads predicted that we would continuously be victimized by terrorist attacks. The common refrain was, "It's not a matter of if but a matter of when." Since 9/11 there has not been a terrorist attack on our soil. During the days immediately after 9/11 no one would have predicted that we would have been terror-attack free by the time the first presidential debate took place.
Therefore, credit has to be given to the Bush Administration, especially Tom Ridge's Homeland Security department and the coordination with law enforcement agencies around the country. President Bush must tout the successful Patriot Act and how it has allowed us to be proactive in finding, rooting out and eliminating terrorist risks and attacks.
Conclusion: President Bush's foreign policy achievements have been striking especially considering the scope of the issues he has had to deal with since the day that surprised and horrified all of us, September 11th. When Bush came into power, Saddam Hussein's regime, the Taliban and Al Qaeda were at the heights of their power. Today, they are either gone or seriously diminished.
Kerry will accuse Bush of neglecting the fight against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan by attacking Iraq. Remember, Bush was criticized for attacking Afghanistan in October, 2001 because liberals claimed that Al Qaeda wasn't the only terrorist group in the world. President Bush should state that the fight against terrorism should not suffer from the static, narrow-mindedness that Kerry promotes.
By aggressively and confidently defending his reasons for making us safer, Bush should do well enough to prevent John Kerry from obtaining the knockout his supporters feel he desperately needs. President Bush's accomplishments in making us safer in a matter of 3 years is nothing short of remarkable.
Still Standing: Media scratching its collective head after forged documents, Abu Ghraib photos, John Kerry's biography and Michael Moore fail to knock Bush down
Flashback, Democratic primaries: The media was salivating over the prospect of a one-term presidency for George W. Bush. President Bush was taking a beating in Iraq, Europe, the Middle East, the Democratic primaries and on the nightly news. He was considered a goner, "toast." The message from the electronic chorus was that America was sick of Bush, considered him a failure and would no way vote for him. Just in case, Bush detractors felt it was best to have the Democrats nominate a Vietnam veteran, John Kerry, in order to wipe out Bush in the November election.
National polls reflected Bush's shaky standing. The poll results were taken as gospel, evidence that the country agreed with Beltway groupthink and that Bush had to be sent back to Crawford, Texas. No one debated the veracity of the polls. No one ventured to think that Bush was more popular with voters than the polls reflected. No one offered up evidence up support for Bush's policies. And no one said, "Kerry apparently leads Bush in a poll." (emphasis added).
Fast forward, the present: Bush has emerged with a sizable lead in the polls with barely a month to go in the election. Since the highly successful Republican Convention in New York City, President Bush has enjoyed a sustained bounce and strong support in the polls. After Kerry failed to get a bounce, so-called pundits said it's because the nation is "polarized" and confidently predicted that Bush wouldn't get a bounce. After Bush got a big bounce, the pundits had nothing to say except that Kerry should have responded quicker to a few ads from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
THE TRUTH is that President Bush has finally been able to emerge from the media clutter and make his case to the American people. They have responded to his campaign and are strongly supporting his cause. The President enjoys enthusiastic support while Kerry must deal with tepid support from his own party. President Bush is attracting swing voters while Kerry is confusing them with his haphazard style.
President Bush has a lead in the polls that would be considered a landslide if it was the result on election day. Remember, Bill Clinton was considered to win by a landslide of an 8 point margin over Bob Dole and he didn't even garner 50% of the vote. (Clinton won, 49%-41%).
Media's head-scratching: However, the media refuses to believe their own polls indicating the president's strong showing in the electorate. On Monday night, CNN.com published a story with the headline, "Bush apparently leads Kerry in pre-debate poll." The CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll shows that among likely voters, Bush was the choice of 52 percent, while Kerry was the choice of 44 percent. Apparently? That sounds like a clear answer to me!
When Bush was buried under a barrage of criticism during the early months of 2004, there were no headlines that said, "Dean apparently leads Bush," "Kerry apparently leads Bush," "Edwards apparently leads Bush," and "hypothetical Democrat leads Bush."
The Washington Post is equally confused by President Bush's lead in an article entitled, Poll Shows Bush With Solid Lead. The reporters on this story, Dan Balz and Vanessa Williams, could barely bring themselves to admit that Bush is leading Kerry by a wide margin. In fact, they don't even mention the poll numbers until the 13th paragraph of the story. The poll results were revealed only after a litany of anti-Bush quotes were strung together.
The article does not give Bush credit for garnering support of his policies. Instead, the article says that his supporters are reciting lines from his script or they are swing voters reluctant to vote for a wishy-washy Kerry. Then, the article quotes 4 voters who are critical of Bush's credibility, jobs, the war, the economy, and health care.
Yet, Balz and Williams are forced to admit that "Bush leads Kerry in a hypothetical ballot test, 51 percent to 45 percent among likely voters". Amazing, one wonders how such a terrible president is able to enjoy a 7 point lead.
The poll says that Bush has a lead with both men and women. "Bush holds a double-digit lead among men (53 percent to 41 percent) and a narrow lead among women (49 percent to 46 percent)." However, instead of trying to figure out why Kerry has lost the customary gender-gap lead with women, Balz and Williams try to cram in more anti-Bush quotes. They don't reflect the internal poll numbers interspersed in th article that indicate Bush is rated higher than Kerry on many important issues and aspects of the campaign.
Many people are dismissing the polls because some show the race is tied while others show Bush with a lead. Well, we know that Kerry is NOT winning. That is very important. The media should do a little more digging and discuss why the president is doing well on likability, personality and issue-driven poll questions.
Instead of scratching its head over an "apparent" Bush lead, the media should finally admit that President Bush enjoys a comfortable position in the polls and is in the driver's seat.
Yahoo News: Poll Shows Bush With Solid Lead, By Dan Balz and Vanessa Williams, Washington Post Staff Writers
CNN.com: Bush apparently leads Kerry in pre-debate poll
Sunday, Oct. 3
GREEN BAY 7 New York Giants
Philadelphia 9 CHICAGO
Washington 3 CLEVELAND
New England 5½ BUFFALO
Oakland 2 HOUSTON
Indianapolis 4 JACKSONVILLE
PITTSBURGH 4 Cincinnati
CAROLINA 3½ Atlanta
New Orleans 3 ARIZONA
New York Jets 5½ MIAMI
Denver 3 TAMPA BAY
SAN DIEGO Pick Tennessee
St. Louis 3½ SAN FRANCISCO
Monday, Oct. 4
BALTIMORE 5 Kansas City 41½
(3)GEORGIA 3 (13)Lsu
(8)TENNESSEE 2 (9)Auburn
(15)Purdue 3 NOTRE DAME
OREGON 3 (25)Arizona State
Notre Dame has a big game against Purdue. Are the Fighting Irish for real or are they going to get smoked? There are 2 big matchups in the SEC. A lot of NFL home teams are underdogs this week. The Dolphins and Bears will be playing with new quarterbacks.
Rules: Send your picks before I post MY picks, Friday at 5pm. Choose who you think will beat the spread for each game. As a tiebreaker, predict the total points for the Monday night game. Tiebreaker decided by who comes closest to the total (regardless of over/under). E-mail your picks to GALVINOPINION at YAHOO dot COM. If you have a blog, give me your URL.
Rules: Picks are posted every Wednesday. Find the listed games for the appropriate week. Send your picks before I post MY picks, Friday at 5pm ET. Choose who you think will beat the spread for each game. As a tiebreaker, predict the total points for the Monday night game. Tiebreaker decided by who comes closest to the total (regardless of over/under). E-mail your picks to GALVINOPINION at YAHOO dot COM. If you have a blog, give me your URL.