Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Did the Kerry campaign have an ulterior motive?

ByWord has some interesting thoughts on the Kerry vs. Dean dustup (courtesy CalPundit). Matthew Gross, writing for the Dean campaign in today's NotePad said:
If your biggest fear is headlines that scream "Kerry vs. Dean," why go out of your way to create headlines that scream "Kerry vs. Dean?"
Easy. Because Kerry's biggest fear isn't those headlines. Matter of fact, those headlines are precisely what he's after. John Kerry started the fight with Howard Dean so that Dean would look like the top challenger in the race. This is because he wants Dean to be the top challenger in the race.
I think ByWord is on to something here. That does sound like the kind of smart political strategy you would want to follow if you are the front-runner. However, there are two problems with it: (1) being a Dean supporter I naturally think Kerry is underestimating Dean's chances to beat him for the nomination. I think Kerry would have an easier chance beating Edwards or Lieberman. (2) While it is smart politics to try and raise up the challenger you think you can most likely beat, I think it is stupid politics to adopt the smear tactics of the opposition party in the process. That just alienates people who should be on your side when the general election comes around. If you want to attack an opponent in order to raise their name value and put them on the debating stand with you after February then you can do so without resorting to distortions that you have to know are distortions. Reserve the venom for the general election guys. You'll need it.


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