Kerry 7, Bush 3
Smackdown, week 10
Again, I haven't had the time to compile a bullet point list. But I think it's pretty obvious that Bush lost this week because of the Abu Ghraib scandal.
And, unlike past bad weeks for Bush, I think this will have a much more lasting effect on his campaign. The main impetus of past bad weeks has been the insurgency in Iraq. However, that is something that is happening to us from outside sources. When that happens, the American people throw their support behind their leadership because they want that leadership to protect them (even when it is demonstrably clear that that leadership has made things worse).
But the bad things of this past week we did to ourselves. And when it is "we" who are doing the bad things we start looking for someone within to put the blame on. Rumsfeld may become the sacrificial goat in this instance, but Bush has tied himself very closely to the Donald's fate and won't be able to avoid being burned if and when Rummy burns out.
Kerry, in the meanwhile, has been playing it cool and "presidential" in response. Some may say he hasn't leapt on this story strongly enough, but the dynamics of this situation are far to dangerous for any smart politician to insert themselves into it willy-nilly. Besides, when things are chaotic, the people look to a leader to act cool and "presidential" and Kerry has been doing just that.
A lot of people are disgusted with Bush. Co-workers of mine have expressed exasperation about him. But many of them still consider him the "lesser of two evils". Kerry hasn't made the sale to them, but if he shows calm and collected leadership in response to this crisis he may persuade a significant number of them that switching drivers might be worthwhile.