Monday, September 27, 2004

Forewarned is Forearmed

Except for a short time during the Dean surge (seems decades ago, doesn't it) the Bush people expected that John Kerry would be the likely Democratic nominee in 2004 and planned their strategy accordingly. The same is true of the Clinton campaign in 1996 against Bob Dole. I wonder if knowing your opponent well ahead of time helps an incumbent president. Conversely, in 1992, I don't think the Bush 41 people figured they would end up running against Bill Clinton. I'm sure their early strategizing focused on Mario Cuomo, Bill Bradley, or Dick Gephardt. Just a thought.

9 comments:

Rex StJames said...

Yeah, but the opponents usually know their opponents way ahead of time, too.
Like, no matter who was nominated for the Dems. they knew they'd be running against Bush. Did that give the Dems. an advantage this year?

Anonymous said...

I don't know if there is any relevance to my own personal belief that the Dems are throwing this one; but you've got to figure that a Republican corpse with prior knowledge that he'd be running against Kerry would feel pretty good about the odds. In all seriousness, the boys in blue have to be feeling good about a Hilary Clinton ticket in '08 after four more years with President Cheney.

Palooka said...

Makes sense. The Dems would have been better off with Dean, though. I don't think he could have won, but at least the Dems would have had a consistent, coherent position. A degree of respect can be given to such a candidate. If Kerry wins it will be through obfuscation and confusion. Can he be all things to all voters? We'll find out in November.

praktike said...

Knowing Bush would be his opponent hasn't seemed to help Kerry all that much.

MWS said...

I think it helps an incumbent to know who the opponent will be more than it helps the challenger. The challenger has to worry about getting the nomination in the first place so he or she may have to take positions in the primary that may hurt them in the general election. An incumbent generally doesn't have to worry about renomination, so he can focuse on his likely opponent in the fall election. If so, knowing ahead of time is probably more beneficial to the incumbent in tailoring his strategy.

Gene Wilson said...

Prof. Klinkner,

I'm glad to see your blog. But my first reaction to how you are proceeding was quite negative.


You state you wonder whether knowing your opponent well ahead helps. I cannot grasp why you would choose to post a comment of that sort. What would motivate a person to raise that question?

Many people obviously feel that there are important questions that are under debate in this country today. Why would someone with training and public financing to work on public policy issues see that as the issue to raise? What is the value of your point?

It appears that you don't take these matters seriously.

Gene Wilson

Rothko said...

It didn't really matter who Bush faced. The Republican's were going to paint the Democratic canidate as a pinko,queer, friend of terrorism who is compeltely out of touch with mainstream American values. Substitute any of the Democratic canidates from this past Fall's campaign and the results are the same. Does Kerry suffer from unique personality and biographical flaws that the Bush campaign has taken advantage of? Sure. But so did everybody else. This is just the Lee Atwater sludge machine doing what it has successfully done for going on 20+ years...making Democrats look like they are from Mars. Shame on us for not fighting harder to reverse it. Bill Clinton laid out a nice blueprint for doing so...it's too bad it got lost in one of those desks he took from the White House to Chappaqua.

Rothko said...

It didn't really matter who Bush faced. The Republican's were going to paint the Democratic canidate as a pinko,queer, friend of terrorism who is compeltely out of touch with mainstream American values. Substitute any of the Democratic canidates from this past Fall's campaign and the results are the same. Does Kerry suffer from unique personality and biographical flaws that the Bush campaign has taken advantage of? Sure. But so did everybody else. This is just the Lee Atwater sludge machine doing what it has successfully done for going on 20+ years...making Democrats look like they are from Mars. Shame on us for not fighting harder to reverse it. Bill Clinton laid out a nice blueprint for doing so...it's too bad it got lost in one of those desks he took from the White House to Chappaqua.

Rothko said...

It didn't really matter who Bush faced. The Republican's were going to paint the Democratic canidate as a pinko,queer, friend of terrorism who is compeltely out of touch with mainstream American values. Substitute any of the Democratic canidates from this past Fall's campaign and the results are the same. Does Kerry suffer from unique personality and biographical flaws that the Bush campaign has taken advantage of? Sure. But so did everybody else. This is just the Lee Atwater sludge machine doing what it has successfully done for going on 20+ years...making Democrats look like they are from Mars. Shame on us for not fighting harder to reverse it. Bill Clinton laid out a nice blueprint for doing so...it's too bad it got lost in one of those desks he took from the White House to Chappaqua.