Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Should Kerry care what we have to say?

There is much commentary out there about the latest Gallup poll showing Bush with his lowest approval rating yet (46%), yet still holding par with Kerry in the race for the presidency. Kerry has yet to turn Bush's troubles to his advantage. This is most likely because we are still in the "defining the candidate" phase of the campaign. Both teams are spending huge amounts of money to put out their preferred narrative about the other side. For Bush the strategy has become clear: he has nothing positive to run on, so the only hope he has of retaining his position is to make Kerry look even worse. And, to a limited extent, it is working.

You know, I could give all sorts of advice on what Kerry should do right now, but I think right now the Democratic campaign is suffering from an abundance of "good ideas". The multitude of political consultants (both amateur and professional) trying to grab Kerry's ear right now could itself become a threat to his campaign. Gore suffered somewhat in 2000 for listening to the advice of to many and appearing to skip back and forth between campaign strategies.

Kerry needs to pick a single campaign strategy and, barring disaster, stick with it (he probably already has). He should welcome advice with a friendly smile, but he should stick to his game plan with little visible modification. And the rest of us should not become so enamored of our political insight that we start going chicken little every time Kerry does something that appears to go against it.

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