Kerry 4, Bush 2
Smackdown, week 6
- John McCain attacks his own party, "I believe my party has gone astray" (Boston Herald)
- CBS poll shows Bush credibility taking a hit (CBS)
- John Kerry's blog de-links the DailyKOS (John Kerry Blog)
- 7 U.S. soldiers killed in clashes with Iraqis (Washington Post)
- Leaders of 9/11 panel say attacks were probably preventable (NY Times)
- U.S. may send more troops to Iraq (AP)
- Ralph Nader may fail to qualify for Oregon ballot (The Oregonian)
- Najaf falls to supporters of Al-Sadr (CNN)
- Kerry surging in Rasmussen tracking poll, nine point gain since Friday (Political Wire)
I'm going out of town until Sunday so this weeks smackdown results are a bit early.
As things stand, this has clearly been a bad week for Bush and a (comparatively) good week for Kerry. The latter, however, is only because Bush's problems are resulting in a de-facto shift of the polls in Kerry's direction. Kerry himself hasn't done much to benefit from the shift other then simply not being Bush.
The old political maxim is that when your opponent is falling down, get out of the way. So the fact that Kerry really hasn't done all that much in the last couple of weeks is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. I just hope that they don't get into a coasting mode and think that all they have to do is wait for the bad news to bring Bush down and for Kerry to win the election by default.
Kerry, unfortunately, has a bad history of letting the race get away from him when he thinks it should be his to win. It's only when his back is to the wall that he really starts to act like a serious politician. He did well in that respect in the nomination battle, but I'd rather not depend on that kind of performance in the general. The Kerry team has to be ready to go with a proactive campaign against Bush when the news-du-jour doesn't do the work for them.
Note: it is still possible that Condi could ace her performance in front of the 9/11 panel tomorrow and the insurgency in Iraq could collapse over night and Sistani could come out and proclaim Bush the Hidden Imam (okay, the last is a bit of a stretch). I'll factor that into next weeks smackdown (the extended edition).