Sunday, August 29, 2004

MARK STEYN HAS AN INTELLIGENT piece on today's Sunday Telegraph -not a surprise- on Bush's skillful tactics:
At the beginning of the year, Thomas Lifson, who was at Harvard Business School with George W Bush, made an interesting observation about the President. He notes that young George "was a very avid and skillful poker player" when he was a Business Administration student and that "one of the secrets of a successful poker player is to encourage your opponent to bet a lot of chips on a losing hand. This is a pattern of behavior one sees repeatedly in George W Bush's political career".

Indeed one does. In the months following Mr Lifson's observation, the President sat back, as John Kerry's consultants, the Iowa caucus voters, the Democratic Party at large, and the media convinced themselves that the one card that trumps Bush's leadership in the war on terror was Kerry's four months in Vietnam, and bet everything on it. They have just lost that hand.

Kerry is in seclusion, unable to expose himself to any but the most sycophantic interviewers, and getting whumped by hundreds upon hundreds of fellow Swift boat veterans, plus former POWs, plus retired admirals, over every aspect of his brief stay in the Mekong Delta.

The Senator put his money on the wrong war. After a couple of entertaining weeks of the aggrieved Swiftees driving down his poll numbers in battleground states, it seems a shame to interrupt the implosion of the Kerry campaign for the Republican convention. But I'm sure the seared Senator is grateful for the intermission, and for the rest of us the next week affords a rare opportunity in this election campaign to catch up with the issues of the current millennium before the inept Kerry resumes bogging us down in his personal Vietnam quagmire again.
Which is quite consistent with the latest from Bush who, with a couple of sentences, graciously deals with the Kerry heroism issue and at the same times leaves the Democratic candidate as the one who is a petty questioner of past credentials. What a contrast with the past "Bush is AWOL" accusations (via The Command Post):
US President George W Bush has described his Democrat opponent John Kerry's tour of duty in Vietnam as more heroic than his own service in the Air National Guard.

Debate over Senator Kerry's Vietnam war service has been running high in the lead up to the November presidential election, with a pro-Rebublican [sic] group criticising his record.

Mr Bush has told US television Senator Kerry was in harm's way in Vietnam but also said if his own unit had been called to go to Vietnam, he would have gone.

UPDATE. Don't miss this blog entry by Ed Morrisey; as he says, "the media breakthrough has begun in earnest."