Thursday, December 11, 2003

Battlefield Tactics: Republicans seem to be ecstatic about Howard Dean's becoming the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. They plan to characterize him as the next George McGovern, set to lose the presidential election by a landslide.

That's a dumb tactic on so many levels. First of all, if Dean goes on to win a handful of states (to McGovern's winning Massachusetts and Washington, DC), it'll look like he beat the odds. Never raise expectations that much. It depresses voter turnout, which only hurts the frontrunner.

More to the point, of all the people to compare Dean to, McGovern is the last one Republicans should pick. Neville Chamberlain, sure. Michael Dukakis, okay. But McGovern is known for losing because of his opposition to the Vietnam War. As it turns out, most people agree that McGovern was right and that the war was a terrible failure. I don't think Republicans need to give Democrats a means to compare Iraq to 'Nam.

Also, McGovern lost to Richard Nixon. As we saw, Nixon's presidency didn't fare so well afterwards.

If Dean wins the nomination, expect him to make a quick dash to the center. His record in Vermont somewhat backs that up: He opposed gun regulations and supported cuts in the growth of Medicare. Granted, he's denounced all that for the nomination fight. He's even arguing for "re-regulation" of business and taking a protectionist stance on free trade.

But as long as he keeps saying that Iraq was a big mistake, he can keep the liberal base while moving back to the center on other issues. This election will center mainly on people's perception of the war in Iraq. We eventually found out that McGovern was right about the Vietnam War. I don't think Republicans want to go around reminding people of that.


Post a Comment

Copyright © Staunch Moderate
Using Caribou Theme | Bloggerized by Themescook