Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Worrying about the future

Over on one of the Howard Dean mailing lists someone posted a question asking what our strategy should be if everything breaks Bush's way for the next year. If (1) Saddam is captured and/or killed, (2) bin Laden is captured and/or killed, (3) no major terrorist attacks happen, and (4) the economy switches into a strong recovery (high growth, dropping unemployment, deficit starts going down, etc.) then what should Dean do? My simple answer: lose. Seriously. If everything breaks Bush's way then of course Bush is going to win re-election. This is pretty much axiomatic as far as electoral politics is concerned. When things are going right you don't change course. The thing about it is that it is highly unlikely that everything will break Bush's way for the next year. So why bother sweating about this kind of stuff? Really, I think it is pointless to fret about unlikely contingencies, especially when those contingencies pretty much make your case hopeless. In fact, this is a problem that often derails political campaigns: worrying so much about your opponent getting all the breaks. We need to concentrate on what we know now, not what might be the case in the future. When you are in a crisis you don't worry about what you are going to do six months from now.


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