The Post Election Analyses Begin
Lis Bumiller and others at the NYT this morning give us a pretty good post election analysis of what went right for Rove and Bush, and what went wrong for Kerry in this election. Bumiller rightly focuses some attention on the efforts that Rove put into getting evangelicals to the polls, with Rove’s contention that all he was trying to do was reach “parity” with Democratic GOTV efforts from 2000. Given the turnout and Bush coming close to 60 million voters and Kerry lagging 3.5 million voters behind him, it appears that not only did Rove get the 4 million additional voters he was seeking but many more on top of that. For his part, Kerry got over 55 million, but the claims by the Kerry campaign in their pre-election conference calls with the media that the GOP would match the Dems’ 2000 effort but the Kerry camp would surpass their 2000 effort missed the mark in that it appears no one saw the flood of new voters who made “morals” their top concern in this election.
The Bumiller story also points out that 1) the Bush camp had what it needed to paint him as a flip flopper when Kerry fumbled the “$87 billion” question on Iraq; 2) Kerry never narrowed his appeal down to 2-3 main themes that could be hammered over and over again; 3) Kerry never found a way to offer a competing vision of how faith and values worked in his political ideology; 4) Bush was a much more disciplined campaigner than Kerry; 5) the lack of an immediate response in August to the Swifties did the trick for Bush; and 6) for a guy who took risks that paid off during the primaries, Kerry didn’t take the one risk that would have given him them money to not go dark during August, namely forego public financing.
Funny, there were some around here who were saying a lot of those things months ago. Remember the debates we had around here about the lack of a Tier Two effort, the lack of 3-4 consistent reasons why Kerry wanted to replace Bush, and Kerry’s adoption of a “Last Man Standing” approach, waiting for bad headlines to overtake Bush, instead of attacking continuously and undermining Bush’s support?