Dean Getting A Second Look? And Since When Is Telling The Truth About Bush "Going Negative?"
Several morning and afternoon news pieces that might be of interest to you:
Just a while ago, Dick Gephardt freed up his delegates to go where they want, without endorsing anyone else at this time.
Ron Fournier of the AP checks in with a piece whose premise is that New Hampshire voters are giving Howard Dean a second look now that he has toned down his campaign message a few notches, with an added confessorial element. Whether this registers at the polls is anyone’s guess, but don’t look for results until the weekend. Dean’s changed stump speeches, and his Diane Sawyer/David Letterman appearances won’t even show up in the tracking polls fully until tonight at the earliest.
Will Lester of the AP also logs in today with a piece whose premise is that the GOP is “wistful” about possibly not running against Dean now.
"I wish that Howard Dean had had his blowup several months from now rather than this week," Colin Hanna, a former Chester County Commissioner in Pennsylvania, said Friday at a meeting of the Conservative Political Action Committee. "He showed a poor sense of timing."
Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman told the group the country is leaning more Republican, but that doesn't mean the election won't be close. And he outlined a Bush strategy of portraying the eventual Democratic nominee as a tax-raising, negative candidate who's weak on defense.
"We don't know the name or our opponent in November 2004, but we do know the author of his tax plan — Walter Mondale," Mehlman said. Mondale, who lost to President Reagan in a landslide, said at the 1984 Democratic convention that he would raise taxes.
None of the Democratic candidates beyond Kerry seemed to cause much concern for the conservatives.
So that will be the best that Rove can do? Call the Democratic nominee another Walter Mondale for wanting to reverse the Bush higher-end tax cuts and undo some of the other handouts to the wealthy? If the GOP wants a class warfare campaign based on that, the Democrats should give it to them.
As for the “negative candidate” charge, the Democrats of course have to trump this in the manner that John Edwards and to a lesser degree John Kerry have done: offer a positive alternative to the Bush record. But beyond that, so that the GOP mantra fails, the Democrats need to remind voters starting now that telling the truth about Bush and his record isn’t going negative. You may not like what you are hearing, but it is the truth, and your problem rests with Bush, not with the Democrats.
Quite simply, the message needs to be one of a positive vision and better alternatives, but we should also challenge voters with the truth and ask them plainly: "If you are not bothered by these facts, and want another four years of this behavior and lack of respect for everyday people, then vote for Bush."