Wednesday, August 18, 2004

No Complacency, Please

There's been some hopeful discussion lately, based on recent polling, about how the election might be "Kerry's to lose." I agree that there's reason for hope and cheer; the polls do look promising. But let's not be hasty: a lot can happen between now and the election. If there's a major al-Qaeda attack, or a serious stumble by the Kerry campaign, Bush might well pull it off. Now is the time to redouble our efforts to make sure that the public is properly informed, and that the Democratic base turns out for Election Day.

Nick Confessore, at TAPPED, argues here that Karl Rove's reputation might be a bit oversold. I do think that Rove's abilities are probably less than his opponents' fear makes them out to be. But, as in the case of the polling, Rove's recent failures should not lead to complacency on our part. The current Republican weakness is not because of flaws inherent to the Republican propaganda campaign; it's because the public has had sufficient time to see the widening gap between what the Republicans promised in 2000 and 2002 and what they've delivered since then. The understandable sense of disappointment and disillusionment has weakened Bush's image. But this does not guarantee that they can't pull off a similar smoke-and-mirrors act for this election. Remember: Rove has based his career, with great success, on the notion that you can polish a turd. He may be able to do it again, if the public is confused enough.

Is Karl Rove Brilliant?