Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Still Not Getting It, Volume XLVIII

Kerry Campaign Head Admits Miscalculations

By STEVE LeBLANC, Associated Press Writer

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The campaign manager for Sen. John Kerry's failed presidential bid said Wednesday she regrets underestimating the impact of an attack advertisement that questioned Kerry's Vietnam War record.

Mary Beth Cahill, who spoke at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government with Ken Mehlman, President Bush's campaign manager, said the Massachusetts senator's campaign initially thought there would be "no reach" to the ad from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

Instead, the ad, which initially aired in just three states, became a central issue of the campaign, eventually forcing Kerry to personally deny the group's allegations that he did not deserve his combat medals.

"This is the best $40,000 investment made by any political group, but it was only because of the news coverage that it got where it did," she said.

"In hindsight, maybe we should have put Senator Kerry out earlier, perhaps we could have cut it off earlier."

Mehlman said that it was natural that the ad had the reach and impact it did, because Kerry decided to make his Vietnam record a central part of his campaign.

"Because Senator Kerry was so focused on that part of his biography, it came out as an issue," he said.

Mehlman acknowledged that Democrats scored points against Bush, such as raising the specter of a draft reinstatement, which got the attention of young voters.

"I think that was something that worked. It wasn't true, but it worked," he said. [...]

::sigh:: You almost want to let them keep on digging, but it still seems they don't understand the reason the Swift Boat ad worked, was because there was an actual discrepancy amongst the views of the people involved as to the veracity of Kerry's claims, and that discrepancy had some pretty strong factual basis.

Second, rather than attempt to either ignore it, or factually refute it (such as could have been done with a full release of military records), they took the highly ill-advised step of attacking the veterans themselves. Although you and I might react the same way when someone attacks us and tells us that we couldn't have been in Cambodia even though we made it up ourselves, for a Presidential candidate to start tearing apart the same men he attempted to use for political gain as his "band of brothers" fairly well reeks of political tone-deafness.

And to complain that the press was somehow responsible for the debacle is ludicrous, given their vituperation toward the group, and their incessent drive to discredit the Swift Vets. The press was in near complete lockstep with the Kerry campaign in repeating as fact their talking points about the group.

If anything, the Kerry camp didn't realize that people might not have so much trust in what came down to us from on high by the editorial boards of the NY Times, CBS, et al. That's what happens when you sweep your credibility into a small pile in the floor, douse it with lighter fluid, and strike a match.

Anyway, Ms. Cahill, Karl just told me to lay off and let you keep digging.

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