After months or urging from Democrats and the
anti-Bush crowd, Kerry is finally fighting back against
the Bush-Cheney campaign which has had him pinned down
on the defensive ever since the Democratic National
Sadly, the strongest weapon Kerry has pulled out of
his stockpile is job outsourcing. Kerry has said
repeatedly that he will end a tax code which gives tax
incentives to companies that ship jobs overseas. What he
never says is that the tax code he refers to is not a
Bush creation. According to an article from
"Bush isn't to blame for it -- it's been there for
decades." That same article states that eliminating the
code would not decrease the amount of outsourcing
because companies are doing it more for the cheap labor
and to be closer to foreign buyers. FactCheck.org also
describes outsourcing as "a relatively minor problem."
As a result, I am now relatively unimpressed by Kerry's
persistence in making an issue out of this.
Kerry has also cited that Bush is the first President
since Hoover to have a net job loss. I think this is a
pretty good argument, but the Republicans have done a
thorough job of acting like the first two and half or
three years of Bush's reign never happened. Instead they
will scream that Bush has created thousands of jobs (and
then whisper, "since a few months ago").
Along the same line, Kerry has brought up the fact
that several million more Americans have fallen under
the poverty line in the last four years. The Bush
campaign responded that Kerry was only looking at the
most "pessimistic" of estimates. This is by no means the
first time they have tried to label John Kerry as being
a pessimist. Forgive my sarcasm, but why on Earth would
Kerry, running against Bush, be pessimistic about his
job performance? Is the Bush-Cheney campaign so
egotistical that it believes Kerry should come out
saying, "You know, this administration is doing a
knock-out job. But vote for me anyway!" Of course not.
They just think they can get away stating the obvious as
a negative against Kerry.
Another statistic that Kerry has been harping on is
the deficit. It's insanely huge, but it's also a very
difficult figure to argue with because the Bush camp has
a very simple strategy: Estimate high. Very high. All
they have to do is predict that the deficit will grow by
much more than they ever really expect it to. Then, when
the real numbers come in, lower than they're inflated
prediction, they can claim that it's not as bad as they
thought it would be. According to them, that means
they're making great progress, when in fact, the budget
deficit is still growing at a higher rate than it should
Kerry also has to be careful about factual mistakes.
For some reason, Bush gets away with all sorts of
misstatements, but the media works overtime to call out
everything Kerry says. He has been caught making one
incorrect statement about a member of the Bush campaign
being fired (the guy actually quit for personal
reasons…well, maybe), and FactCheck.org shot down
Kerry's recent ad, which claims that the war in Iraq has
cost the United States $200 Billion (It hasn't. At least
not yet). These misstatements are being turned against
Kerry and taking away from the power of his legitimate
attacks on Bush. He definitely has to have his facts
straight by the time of the debates.
But look at me being the pessimist. I do think Kerry
is very weak on economic issues, but that doesn't mean
he has no chance. He just needs to take a page out of
the Bush-Cheney strategy handbook. This is what his key
statement would be if I were his speech writer:
"This Administration said that we could not wait for
proof of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq because
that proof might come in the shape of a mushroom cloud.
But now there are mushroom clouds over North Korea, and
that same administration says that it is 'inconclusive.'
This is a President who is taking the path of least
resistance. He bombed Iraq, a nation that posed no
threat to the United States, but he stands by as North
Korea, a member of the Axis of Evil, develops a nuclear
arsenal. He stands by as that same country cooperates
with Iran, the other member of the Axis, in developing a
missile delivery system for nuclear payloads. Mr.
President, how long are you going to continue turning a
blind eye to the real threats to America?"
It's tough, simple, and appeals to peoples' fears.
That's what it is going to take to win this election.
I'm not going to complain about negative campaigning
anymore. That's where this election is at, and acting
like it could be replaced with a positive, issues-based
campaign seems ignorant. Kerry will have to step up his
mudslinging with stronger, but factually sound attacks.
The Bush-Cheney camp will certainly maintain its own
pace of negativity. In this election, may he who
out-negates his opponent win.
other articles written by Scott Zuke