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The Myth Of Effective Attacks On John Kerry

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Mass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-13-11 02:13 PM
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The Myth Of Effective Attacks On John Kerry Myth Of Effective Attacks On John Kerry/2011/10/13/343226/the-myth-of-effective-attacks-on-john-kerry/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+matthewyglesias+%28Matthew+Yglesias%29

Yglesias on Oct 13, 2011 at 2:30 pm
One important element of context for Democratic Party attacks against Mitt Romney is the widespread perception in DC that George W Bush launched highly successful attacks on John Kerry themed around the idea that Kerry was a flip-flopper. The reality is that Kerry over-performed relative to fundamentals-based models in a way thats consistent with the basic idea that Bush was operating under a cloud of illegitimacy and that a decorated war hero was a strong candidate for the Democratic Party.
Perhaps the best way to get at what I think is wrong with the character assassination theory of the 2004 campaign is that it explains something that doesnt need explaining. Consider this exit poll result:

Kerry actually did a better job of persuading people who approved of Bushs job performance to vote for the challenger anyway than Bush did of persuading people who disapproved of his job performance to vote for the incumbent anyway. This is, I think, strong evidence that anti-Kerry sentiments played little explanatory role in the election. You had an incumbent president and a majority of the voters liked his job performance. Under the circumstances, re-election follows naturally. Many Democrats seem to have persuaded themselves that Bush got re-elected despite being unpopular, but I see little evidence for this.

I dont have the time to research this right now, but, though this is going to be controversial in some circles, I find the analysis interesting.
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Luftmensch067 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-13-11 02:48 PM
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1. VERY interesting
Thanks for posting!
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-13-11 06:00 PM
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2. That jibes with all the polling I saw
Edited on Thu Oct-13-11 06:04 PM by karynnj
Part of the problem was that pundits, with no statistical theory backing them up, pushed the idea that 50% approval was needed for re-election. The thing that troubled me was that there was NO historical data above the low 40s - above 50 and some of the disapproval HAD to be on the libertarian/conservative side (like Buchanan) - who would never vote for a Democrat, much less John Kerry, who challenged Nixon's war. This year, Daily Kos addressed that in a poll where they questioned the "disapprove" to see if they would definitely vote for Obama, lean to Obama, lean to Rep, definite Rep. I can't remember the exact numbers, but there was about 4% definite Obama. Bush never fell below the high 40s.

Prosense once posted the fundamentals model and it was impressive how much Kerry beat expectations.

However, I do think the SBVT hurt Kerry because as Beachmom once pointed out, it raises questions about his character, integrity and cut into the idea that he was a man, who excelled at thoughtful leadership. In addition, the silver star story showed a thoughtful man who spent time trying to figure out how to escape the canal ambushes, talking through his ideas with peers and his crew, then sold the idea to the other officers - and when they faced the need to do so, they implemented it. What more could you want from a leader? The type of hero he was was what was important. (Though DK readers likely forget it, even they were impressed when they learned Kerry's really history - This begs the question why Kerry is STILL the only major party nominee that the three networks did not do puff piece biographies on. Yet his story would be unbelievable if it were fiction.)

I don't think the flip/flop chargewas that successful - because there was not a list - as Kerry cited for McCain or that backed why Kennedy called Romney multiple choice. Not to mention - how can you be the most liberal - and - inconsistent.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-19-11 09:39 AM
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3. They seemed to change the link
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MBS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-22-11 01:49 PM
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4. . .which is why this article in today's NYT
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YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-22-11 04:23 PM
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5. Thank goodness I'm not the only ...! Isn't it awful? And most of the comments are from Republicans anyway... I don't believe it for one minute.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-22-11 07:29 PM
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7. I looked later in the day and MOST of the comments were better
than I would have expected - leading me to believe the author selected the 14 he wanted to have people see. There were several others who had more than one post, who referred to their earlier one not being shown. I think they dumped (accidentally ?) some earlier ones - including two I wrote. They violated no rules. One I resent and it was printed (I had included it in a DU thread).

Many were more concise and clever than me - essentially asking if that meant that the Obama campaign had decided to suppress the Republican vote in Ohio and lie about the Republican nominee. Many also pointed out that Romney really did change fundamental positions - which Kerry never did. All in all, no Democrat jumped on this saying great idea.

My thought is IF this were the strategy, the Obama administration would certainly not push this now. More likely, they would just be digging up clear cut examples - and many are in Perry's attack. It certainly seems unlikely that the Obama team would want to gratuitously hit Kerry - as there is no reason to think they won't use him in 2012.

My guess is the media wants the Republican circus to continue - it has high ratings on TV, so it likely sells papers to. The one thing that stops that is everyone lining up behind Romney - so they are trying to argue that he really will be vulnerable - and that is true - and it is not because he is "like John Kerry". There are superficial similarities - elite family backgrounds, tall, great hair, good looking, Massachusetts - but beyond that they are not similar at all - and one big difference is that Romney, in terms of where he lies on the political spectrum is more the Republican "Joe Lieberman" or "Evan Bayh" - someone on the far (to the center) edge of the party. Kerry is in the left half of the Democratic party. In addition, windsurfing attacks aside, Kerry is not really someone who has radically changed positions - 180 degrees, Romney is. (In fact, of the MA Senators, Brown is more like Romney on this)
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Mass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-22-11 04:59 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. We better get used to this, because it is the new meme, from
well-known reporters to wannabee bloggers and commentators. And be sure Democrats will repeat it as well.

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wisteria Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-22-11 08:13 PM
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8. This entire idea on the part of the Democrats Ingnores the fact that Sen. Kerry had more to offer,
Edited on Sat Oct-22-11 08:14 PM by wisteria
and was more qualified to be president. To compare him to Romney is silly, and I get the idea the only reason this is being done is that Romney is from Mass.and has changed his fickle mind on issues. What they fail to see is that Romney changes his mind on issues based on what benefits him with the voters. Senator Kerry never has done that. Frankly, this is insulting to Senator Kerry and the campaign he ran, and it ignores the dirty tricks and manipulation the Repubs employed in order for Bush to win reelection.
If this is going to be a major Democratic tactic in 2012 to get President Obama reelected-count me out. I won't contribute a dime to this strategy.
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