Rove Will Spend Kerry Into The Ground If He Can
The New York Times runs a good, short piece this morning on John Kerry’s counterattack ad which began running already, in response to the first set of Bush attack ads this week. The theme of the article is that Kerry spent more on the counterattack than either Democratic or White House operatives thought he would ($1.8 million), and that he doesn’t have the resources to duke it out ad-for-ad with the Bush corporate ATM.
The Kerry campaign made a point of telling the media that he has raised $10 million in ten days, which is what I have been hearing also. But it is also true that Kerry alone does not have the resources to keep responding like this. For Bush to dump $6 million on these two ads is chump change for a campaign that already has upwards of $140 million. Kerry is in the stage of treading water and building up a war chest between now and the convention, and can’t match every Bush hit piece dollar-for-dollar or state-for-state, at least as far as the conventional wisdom goes.
As much as I despise Rove, his approach here makes great sense. When you have no message or accomplishments to run on, and find yourself already running behind your opponent among Independents and in “purple” swing states, and see that almost 15% of your own vote is going their way, you have to take advantage of the only edge you have. There is no mystery about the White House plan between now and the conventions. They will burn as much of the warchest as they can, painting the negatives on him to drive up his unfavorables and pry away swing and independent voters. They will do this knowing that Kerry cannot match them dollar for dollar, ad for ad.
Or so they assume. What is unknown is how much Kerry can actually raise between now and the convention. If Kerry for example can raise $20 million per month, even if he burns most of it, and if he can rely upon the 527’s for GOTV, infrastructure development, and issue ads focused in key states, Kerry can effectively withstand the assault.
But that is a big “if”. The money needs to start coming in now.