From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
Bush: uniting the left, losing the center

August 1, 2004 2:23 PM

Will Saletan in Rove's blunder:

The theory behind Bush's hard-line style of governance came from his chief political adviser, Karl Rove. Rove believed that Bush lost the popular vote in 2000 because millions of conservatives stayed home. He believed that Bush's father lost the 1992 election by alienating the right and creating a Republican primary challenge by Pat Buchanan. So, on issue after issue, the current President Bush has played to his base. On Rove's theory, every step to the right earns Bush another conservative vote.

That calculation is correct. But it's only half the story. For every conservative voter who's inspired to turn out for Bush because of his unyielding conservatism, there's a liberal voter who's inspired to turn out for Kerry. That's why Kerry has had no trouble uniting his party after the primaries. It's why the FleetCenter exploded tonight at every one of Kerry's applause lines. And it's why Kerry can now move aggressively to the middle without fear of losing the left.

In his determination to unite the right, Bush hasn't just united the left. He has lost the center.

More from the archive in Politics.

Bush: uniting the left, losing the center (08.01.2004)

Next Entry: Outfoxed morning press round-up (08.02.2004)
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Read the 10 comments.


Last week's Democratic convention boosted voters' impressions of John Kerry but failed to give him the expected bump in the head-to-head race against President Bush, a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll finds.

In the survey, taken Friday and Saturday, Bush led Kerry 50%-46% among likely voters. Independent candidate Ralph Nader was at 2%.

The survey showed Kerry losing 1 percentage point and Bush gaining 4 percentage points from a poll taken the week before the Boston convention.

The change in support was within the poll's margin of error of +/-4 percentage points in the sample of 763 likely voters. But it was nonetheless surprising, the first time since the chaotic Democratic convention in 1972 that a candidate hasn't gained ground during his convention.

When Kerry pledged to “build a stronger American military" -- a pledge that would have brought a roar of approval at a Republican convention -- he was met with silence. When he threw zingers at George W. Bush, which he did frequently despite his calls for bipartisanship, he was met with prolonged cheers. To get the ringing reception he needed in the hall, he indulged in the Bush-bashing that his strategists have been saying turns mid-electorate voters off.

Kerry's treatment of domestic issues was a hurried reading of the laundry list of Democratic proposals, so long as to leave any particular plank forgotten, in contrast to the disciplined concentration on a few points of George W. Bush in 2000 or Bill Clinton in 1992. If you talk about everything, it sounds like you are talking about nothing.

Thus far its a race of the losers.

Mon Aug 2 2004 5:59 AM


Paul Krugman points out that the comment above, which is ripped off from Michael Barone, is a lie:

Tue Aug 3 2004 5:29 PM


And we all know Paul Krugman knows the differance between truth and fiction, cause he said so?

Wed Aug 4 2004 5:58 AM


Kerry Hires Edwards to Sue DNC Over 'Bounce'

Democrat presidential candidate John Forbes Kerry today announced that he has retained attorney, and running mate, John Edwards to file suit against the Democrat National Committee (DNC) over injuries related to an alleged "post-convention bounce."

"We had received certain assurances from top DNC officials that this celebration of my client's nomination would result in a 10-15 point bounce in the presidential preference polls," said Mr. Edwards during a news conference on the steps of a Boston courthouse. "Bounce implies vigorous upward movement. But my client's current polling numbers look more like a 'bump' or even a 'dip'."

Mr. Edwards, who like his client is also a U.S. Senator, brought many of the gathered journalists to tears with his dramatic description of the plight of Mr. Kerry's popularity.

"I can hear John Kerry's popularity calling out to you from somewhere in the darkness," said Mr. Edwards. "A couple of weeks ago his popularity said, 'I'm fine." Just before the convention it said, 'I'm having a little bit of trouble but I'm doing okay.' During the convention speech, it said 'I'm having problems.' And after the convention John's popularity said, 'I need help.' But help was not on the way."

Wed Aug 4 2004 6:04 AM


Bush strategist Matthew Dowd predicted Kerry would get a 15 point bounce from the convention. Terry McAuliffe predicted an 8-10 point bounce. So is it the left right or center that Kerry is losing?

Wed Aug 4 2004 6:10 AM

Paul Stone:

Why should there be a bounce, when the pool of undecideds is the smallest it has ever been?

Wed Aug 4 2004 12:00 PM

Jim Gilliam:

You're right Paul. That's the most obvious interpretation. We'll see if Bush gets a bounce after the RNC.

Wed Aug 4 2004 12:54 PM


I predict Bush won't get a "measurable" bounce either. Neither of these canidates inspires the public to do anything but change the channel.

Wed Aug 4 2004 1:28 PM


Who's measuring the bounce? I bet Fox will be able to find one for Shrub and loudly proclaim it, right after the RNC. ;-}

Thu Aug 5 2004 1:04 PM


Most candidates challenging an incumbent president are around a 35% rating this time of yearÂ…Kerry is at almost 50%. Seems like he is doing alright to me.

Tue Aug 10 2004 5:42 AM

Jim Gilliam
Jim Gilliam


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