The Strategy

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 3, 2006 | Go to article overview

The Strategy


Byline: Greg Pierce, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The strategy

"If Democrat Claire McCaskill wins her Senate race in Missouri next week, her victory won't rest, for the most part, on any policy proposal or characteristic particular to her precisely as she intended from the start of her campaign. Nor has she made the focus of the race Jim Talent, the incumbent Republican she is trying to unseat. Instead, she's running against George W. Bush," Brendan Miniter writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

"Ms. McCaskill's strategy, like that of Democrats across the country, has been to 'nationalize' the election by making it a referendum on the president. She spends a considerable amount of time blurring the boundaries between the unpopular Republican in the White House and a Republican-controlled Senate. ..

"Sen. Talent, for his part, has not been caught up in scandal or made gaffes. He has been attentive to home-state voters. He has championed laws on apple-pie issues such as curbing the use of methamphetamines and supporting research into sickle-cell anemia, a disease that afflicts African-Americans acutely. He promotes breast cancer awareness by having St. Louis's 630-foot-tall Gateway Arch lit pink one night each year," Mr. Miniter wrote.

By taking care of smaller issues and not messing up, "Mr. Talent has ensured that the race will focus on larger, more controversial topics. Thus the Missouri race is a relatively pure expression of the Democratic attempt to make the election a referendum on the Bush administration. And it may illustrate the flaws in the strategy of putting few substantive ideas on the table and instead counting on discontent with the Republican Party. Voters clearly aren't happy with the status quo, but neither do they seem convinced that the alternative is any better."

Kerry's trait

"The first time I met Sen. John Forbes Kerry was shortly before 9/11, when I was sitting in the office of a Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee talking to a young staffer about European defense," Toby Harnden writes in the Daily Telegraph, a British newspaper.

"Suddenly, the Massachusetts senator strode into the room and plonked himself, hands on hips, between us. Then he just stood there, clearly expecting us to jump up because he had graced us with his hallowed presence," Mr. Harnden said.

"He turned his back on me and I studied his perfectly arranged thatch this was a man who has spent some time on coiffing his hair that morning (or maybe he had someone to do it for him) as he barked questions and demands at the astonished aide.

"Many people in Washington have similar DYKWIA Don't You Know Who I Am? anecdotes about Kerry that reveal his narcissistic conceit that it is all about him, all the time. This trait is the key to the kerfuffle over Kerry's comment at a California rally that: 'Education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq.'

"The words were clumsy and, yes, an insult to American troops. I have no doubt that he didn't mean to say that US soldiers in Iraq are dumb cannon fodder but that's what came out. He was trying to say that Bush was stupid (though the Texan's grade-point average at Yale was higher than that of Kerry) a jibe that plays well in Europe but not in much of Middle America."

The flu vote

Houston has stopped offering free flu shots at early voting sites after Republicans complained that it was a ploy by the mayor to lure more Democrats to the polls. …

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