Friday, August 06, 2004

Gottlieb on the No-Bounce


"Did ceiling stop Kerry bounce?" Marty asks. Let's see if we can answer some more of Marty's questions:
The question arises because candidates often do come out of a convention on a nice upswing.
Candidates are often liked by people when they come out of a convention, Marty. This should tell you something.
And this seemed to be a successful convention.
It wasn't successful for John Kerry. By what standard are you using to make such a claim anyway?
Kerry was convincingly celebrated as a military hero.
It is after all, all he has to run on. We haven't heard much about his record in the, you know, Senate.
He gave a speech that far exceeded expectations.
The bar wasn't that high to begin with, Marty.
The party was fully united.
Fully united against Bush, not for Kerry.
[Not] only Democrats declared the convention and the speech successful. Republican analysts generally did, too.
Name one...because I can't think of a single Republican analyst who actually liked that speech.
Yet Kerry gained only a couple of points in the polls, maybe not even that, depending on the poll. Why?
Because nobody cares about John Kerry or the Democratic convention.
The most widely held view seems to be that the public is peculiarly set in its ways this year, and not subject to persuasion one way or the other.
This should keep you awake at night...
David Broder has dissented on this page, arguing that Kerry’s speech wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, that he didn’t offer a pithy message that anybody remembers and didn’t discuss what people wanted to hear about (such as Iraq).
And Mr. Broder would be correct.
Still others have suggested that the absence of a serious bounce results from low viewership of conventions these days.
That should also keep you awake at night. Could it be that people don't care for a liberal message?
But here’s a different possibility: Kerry had already reached his ceiling before the convention. The many months of bad news coming out of Iraq had given him a big boost. So he didn’t need the convention to get him there, the way most first-time candidates need a convention to allow them to show their stuff. He was at his ceiling just as a result of widespread opposition to the incumbent.
I see what's going on here... Folks, Marty is trying to lower the expectations for this candidate.
Regular readers will know where this is going: While most pundits are hemming and hawing about who might win the election, and most of the rest are simply picking their side, this column has reported several times that the best predictive scheme suggests 2004 is a Bush year. The basic reason is that things must be going worse for an incumbent across a broad range of subjects for a challenger to win.
Indeed I do know where this is going: nowhere. The best reason 2004 is a Bush year is that he is the better candidate. But let's hear the distorted reasons why Marty thinks Americans are stupid:
Iraq isn’t enough. The economy is a wash, having been pretty bad during most of the Bush years, but not so bad this year.
Marty, it is this kind of talk that gets characterized as "pessimism." Iraq is going quite well. The recovery from the Clinton/Gore recession took a little longer than expected because of 9/11, but the progress is there for any to see who aren't blinded by partisanship.
If this theory — the work of Professor Allan J. Lichtman of American University in Washington, D.C. — is right, then Bush might get a bigger bump out of his convention, because he is not at his peak, again because of bad news about the war. Highlighting the good news about himself might work better for him than it did for Kerry.
Marty, Marty, Marty... If the media had done their job accurately, the President would have peaked awhile back. There has been plenty of good news to report; but in order for good news to get coverage, it has to be damaging to Republicans in some way. Journalism shouldn't be this way, but it is.
When Sen. George Voinovich was in town this week, he was talking about how hard he has been campaigning. A journalist expressed skepticism that he was really all that worried about his bid for re-election against relatively unknown, unfunded state Sen. Eric Fingerhut. In the course of insisting that he is not taking anything for granted, Voinovich said, "I remember what happened in 1958" in Ohio.

Then he mentioned two other elections well before the 1980s as examples of his point that he should run scared.

That is a very long memory bank he’s developing.
You know, Marty, they say elephants never forget. I'm not real sure what this has to do with the Democratic convention resulting in no bounce for its candidate; but I don't mind some free publicity for a Republican, even if he is a RINO.
Think things are not getting out of hand this year? Ask Ann Boucher of Columbus. She has had pro-Kerry signs stolen from her yard twice.

The first time was at the instigation of a lawyer, a member of the Ohio Crime Victims Compensation Fund board. Neighborhood resident Mitchell H. Banchefsky told his 13-year-old daughter to take the sign. He insists that he was upset because the sign was too close to the right of way. Boucher denies that it was. But, anyway, Banchefsky admits that he shouldn’t have taken the matter into his own hands.

He is described in news reports as “an avid supporter of President Bush.” Boucher is sure she knows what his motives were.
Ohh...those evil Republicans and their HALLIBURTON! masters... Boucher apparently has mindreading skills; must be part of some liberal genetics program or something.
It is not clear whether anybody has asked him whether he would have taken the sign down if it had been for Bush.

Banchefsky insists that a Bush sign had earlier been taken from his own property. He thinks the concerns of the swiper might have been a right-of-way issue.

So maybe he figured that what’s good for the Ds is good for the Rs. Which is the way these things often get out of hand.

After Banchefsky’s daughter took the sign, Boucher replaced it, only to have that sign taken, too. So now she has made a sign herself, and says “I’ll keep replacing them.”

So far, the national guard has not been called in to restore peace to the neighborhood.
And at last we get to the end of another useless Marty column that didn't provide insight in to the issue it was supposed to...

Some job Marty has there, eh?


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