Mudslingers: The Top 25 Negative Political Campaigns of All Time : Countdown from No. 25 To No. 1

By Kerwin C. Swint | Go to book overview
Save to active project

8
AMERICA, MEET WILLIE HORTON

George H.W. Bush v. Michael Dukakis, President, 1988

The presidential election of 1988 is considered by a number of journalists, political scientists, and other observers of the political process to be one of the major turning points in the more recent history of negative campaigning. Maybe that's because, at least from a political strategist's point of view, it was so brutally effective.

It was a textbook example of how to take your opponent apart, limb from limb. I'm not saying that's a good thing, I'm just saying that the Bush campaign in 1988 achieved precisely what it set out to do. And what had it set out to do? When asked that very question, Bush's campaign czar, Lee Atwater, answered with what has now become a famous quote in the annals of presidential politics: "I'm going to scrape the bark off of Michael Dukakis."1


THE WIMP FACTOR

The two candidates faced very different challenges in gaining their party's nomination. For George Bush, the challenge was emerging from the shadow of President Ronald Reagan, the first two-term American president since Dwight Eisenhower and a cultural icon to many American voters.

Even though Bush had a military background and had served in numerous high-level government posts in his government career, his public image was one of timidity and relative weakness in comparison to Ronald Reagan. In fact, Bush had to combat what had come to be known as the "wimp factor" in his quest to follow Reagan into the White House.

-153-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Mudslingers: The Top 25 Negative Political Campaigns of All Time : Countdown from No. 25 To No. 1
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 260

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?