Day - and Night - One of the GOP Convention in New York was devoted to extolling President Bush’s conduct of the post-9/11 War on Terror.

That is why former NYC Mayor Rudi Giuliani and Senator John McCain were selected by the convention organizers as the main speakers.

But then something unexpected happened: President Bush told Matt Lauer on the TODAY SHOW that, on the very same topic - the War on Terror- “I don’t think we can win it.”

Can’t ‘win’ it?

In Mr. Bush’s standard stump speech every day he talks about what we are doing to win the War on Terror!

But suddenly he let his hair down and admitted we “can’t win it.”

By last night the Kerry/Edwards ticket - down for weeks due to the Swift Boat attacks - were re-energized. ABC’s NIGHTLINE lat night was devoted to this incredible misstatement/admission/blunder.

It is unbelievable to think that on the very day of the Convention devoted to the War on Terror, GW Bush contradicts himself and thus undercuts the very premise of his re-election campaign!

You can bet that John Kerry tomorrow in Nashville when he addresses the American Legion National Convention will use this blunder against President Bush.

And you can bet that the Democrats will go on a full offensive with this “can’t win” statement.

Their rejoinder?

“We must win the War on Terror and we are going to win this war.”

As for McCain and Giuliani last night: they both did a good job. But the hidden scene last night was the first two 2008 candidates auditioning for the GOP nomination in 4 years.

McCain- a total egomaniac and prima donna - is desperate to undo the damage he did to himself four years ago when he ran in the GOP primaries. He is trying to re-connect with the party base for a near-certain presidential run in 2008. He is running; make no mistake about it. And he will walk over his mother to win.

Rudi also is running in 2008. Forget him challenging Hillary here in New York in 2006; ain’t going to happen.

He is so popular among business groups - with so many whispering in his ear that he can be President - that he figures just to run for President in 2008 without running for anything else first.

Well, 2008 is a long way off. 2004 is the Big Battle.

And GW Bush’s terrible mistake will haunt him for the next several weeks.


Well, it finally begins today and already we can see a few things developing:

1) Anti-GOP protestors behaved better than expected yesterday as they marauded through mid-town New York City. The expected violence was confined to a few cases; just over 200 protestors were arrested.

Clearly the Kerry Camp and the Democrats got to the march leaders and told them to “cool it” or risk a pro-Bush, Chicago 1968-style backlash.

2) In the carefully orchestrated lead-up to the convention, the Bush Campaign is trying to re-focus the race on the War on Terror. Why? Because it is the only area in polling data in which President Bush leads John Kerry. When the race is focused on the War in Iraq or the economy or health care (a huge ‘sleeper’ issue), Kerry wins substantially. Thus this week’s focus is going to be on the War on Terror.

3) Conventions have no suspense anymore. They are now well-crafted and scripted-down-to-the-letter infomercials out to sell one party or the other.

The widespread rumor that Vice President Cheney will announce that, for health reasons, he is stepping down and the convention then picks John McCain is simply not going to happen.

Cheney looks great, is full of vigor and has no reason to step down. Period!

4) Predictions: the convention will go well. No surprises. ‘Ahnold’ will get lots of positive media attention. So will McCain.

Amazing, really. Two guys who are not really for Bush are going to dominate the Bush re-election campaign.

And then Friday morning at 8:30 AM the new unemployment stats come out.

With the boggy economy - now confirmed by sluggish second quarter data - back in the news, Team Bush will be off and running and trying to keep the focus on the War on Terror.

Kerry will hit the road talking up jobs, out-sourcing and health care.

It’s going to be a wild two months.


What the Swift Boat Controversy has done is show the world what many of us have known for years: John Kerry is a completely ruthless, calculating, pathological, overly-ambitious liar who will do anything to win the White House.

However, as bad as things seem for him at the moment - and make no mistake that this controversy is the worst chapter in his campaign since the days of Howard Dean zooming ahead in the race a year ago - the fact that he is being proven to be a liar, an exaggerator, an embellisher and a fabricator does not automatically mean he will not or can not win in November.

Isn’t that a sad commentary on American politics?

But the lessons of the two Bill Clinton elections are clear: the American people have voted and will vote for a liar - even if they know he is a liar.

In 1992, Clinton distinguished himself by lying so often and so outrageously that the voters elected him anyway. His denials over extra-marital affairs with Jennifer Flowers and other “bimbos,” his “I did not inhale” statement, and his various positions on his draft dodging escapades seemed not to matter to voters; they elected him twice anyway.

What does this tell us?

The American voter figures all politicians lie all the time anyway so why should this guy be any different?

And maybe they are right, too. But, sadly, this results in dishonest government, cover-ups, scandals and disgrace.

The Swift Boat Controversy has hurt Kerry among some key groups, especially veterans. It has also taken the spotlight off of a damaged and weakened President Bush and focused it squarely on Kerry. Some ‘un-named’ democrats worry that this controversy could cost Kerry the election. There is no doubt it is a serious problem for the Kerry Campaign.

Knowing Kerry, here is what he is contemplating: he is signaling GW Bush that everything is on the table now. That means that Kerry will take Bush - who he believes is directly involved in the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign - right into the gutter as payback. Past allegations not only about Bush’s Texas Air National Guard problems will suddenly re-surface soon. But - ominously - so, too, may past rumors of Bush’s use of cocaine in his “young and irresponsible years” and rumors of Bush girlfriends having abortions. These have been raised in the past. Look for Kerry to have carefully researched them and prepared some type of attack based on them. In other words, Kerry is ready to go nuclear to win this election.

All along Kerry has tried to have it both ways on his Vietnam service: he saw himself as a war hero-turned anti-war leader. Anything that gets in the way of that picture infuriates him. And the Swift Boat Vets have gummed things up for him. But, in his pathological brain, he sees the Bush Attack Machine behind this and he is determined to destroy the Bushes once and for all.

Look for a MoveOn. org ad - or some other pro-Kerry 527 group - to air devastating negative commercials against Bush. And know that they are operating on direct orders from John Kerry.

Kerry has been telling people since high school - I know this because my brother was one year ahead of Kerry - that he was going to be President. And Kerry knows this is his one shot; if he loses, he is toast as the Democrats move to Hillary in 2008.

So Kerry has to do everything he can to win this election. And he will do whatever it takes.

Team Bush is already been hurt by Iraq, no WMD, and a still-weak economy. Their only hope of winning is to make Kerry the issue in the campaign. They have had a very good last 10 days; the media glare has been on Kerry and caused a re-examination of his war record.

But it will soon change; these stories tend to run out of gas after a couple of weeks.

The big question is: will new revelations emerge to hurt Bush or Kerry?


The popular refrain from so-called political experts, pundits and TV Talking Heads is that the November election is bound to be close because "the nation is so polarized."
Is this really true?
And is this something new?
Well, not quite.
What makes this election close is the increase in the base Republican Party vote. Under the Clinton Administration, the GOP grew and the Democratic Party lost voters so that today the two parties each can lay claim to about 41-43% of likely voters.
By the way, this is one of the never-talked-about phenomena of the Clinton Years: when Bill and Hillary took office, their party controlled both houses of Congress, a majority of Governorships and state legislatures.
Then came Hillary’s health care fiasco and the Republicans swept the House and Senate in 1994. Soon the major State Houses began falling into GOP hands as well: New York, Michigan, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania and on and on. Then came the crucial - for Congressional re-districting - state legislatures.
By the end of their tenure, the Clintons - for all their hype and self-congratulations - led the dimunition of their own party. Of course, the so-called mainstream media has never reported this accurately.
The result is that by 2000 the Republican Party had grown to majority status in terms of public offices held; and in registration the GOP grew, too, into a party at least equal to the Democrat Party.
So this so-called ‘polarization’ is simply the fact that we now have two parties with approximately equal size and strength. (In the past - Ronald Reagan in 1980 for example - a GOP campaign had to take voters away from the other party in order to win because there were simply more Democrats than Republicans.)
That leads to the key to elections under these circumstance: passion to vote. The party which gets more of its voters to actually vote on November 2 is going to win.
All polling shows about the same thing: President Bush is getting about 86-90% of GOP voters and John Kerry has recently - thanks to his convention and more voters becoming aware of him - achieved about the same percentages of Democrat voters.
Yes, there are a handful of ‘undecided’ voters and both campaigns will fight furiously over them. But the key will be getting all of your supporters to vote. And this is where Team Bush has worries. They keep these concerns private but it is known that they are finding in the polling less exuberance for Bush among some of his previous supporters than in 2000; and, correspondingly Team Kerry is discovering that they are riding a white hot tiger of determined Democrat voters who want to remove Bush at all costs.
This anti-Bush passion is already manifesting itself in unprecedented fund raising and voter registration. The Bush Campaign has taken note of this and is desperately trying to match Democratic intensity but so far there is a decided lack of corresponding pro-Bush passion among GOP and conservative ranks.
This explains why the President’s campaign continues to spend advertising money on the Fox News Network even though a high percentage of those viewers are already pro-Bush. It is their intensity that worries the Bush campaign. There is an ennui or lack of passion among some of them due to rising gas prices, the stagnant stock market and the war in Iraq.
If just one or two percent of previous Bush voters simply stay home on November 2, Bush will lose. And if one or two percent more Democrats vote - out of their passionate hatred of Bush - then Kerry could actually win a fairly substantial victory.
So we are, as always, a two-party country. The difference is the two parties are about the same size.
It will all come down to the ‘passion differential’ on November 2.


The 2004 Presidential race is heating up - rapidly - and every single indicator is going against the Bush Campaign at the moment. Let us review:
1) Friday’s Labor Department announcement that a paltry 32,000 new jobs were created in July is a devastating blow to the Bush re-election effort. Analysts had been predicting upwards of 215,000 new jobs would be created. (Compounding this problem was the downward revisions on job creation in May and June.)
A cornerstone of the Bush Campaign was the claim that "we have turned the corner" economically and we are on the right path. But these new numbers undercut that claim and give powerful new ammunition to the Kerry Campaign.
2) The corresponding 300-plus point drop in the Dow Jones Thursday and Friday also points out the fragile nature of today’s markets. Worry about the ‘recovery’ still motivates traders. Politically this drop could not come at a worse time as a big chunk of today’s Bush voters are members of the ‘investor class.’ Thus, economic troubles such as these cut right into Bush’s base. If they feel it in their portfolios, their intensity to support Bush may drop off a bit while Kerry’s supporters are white-hot with the desire to remove him from office at all cost.
3) The rising prices of gas are a big factor in this new layer of malaise, fear and sluggishness. Consumers have only so much money to spend; extra money at the pump means less money spent elsewhere. And that means companies worry about spending on expansion and thus they do not hire new American workers. The classic definition of a viscious cycle.
Can’t you just see Kerry teeing off on Bush and Cheney in the debates? "Mr. President, will all due respect, you and the Vice President were oil men with contacts worldwide in the oil industry. Why are you letting the Saudi Royal Family gouge average Americans? And if they are going to do that during an election year what will they do after the election?"
Frank Luntz’s Cincinnati focus group two weeks ago went "off the charts" when Kerry attacked the Saudi Royal Family. Look for this to be brought up a lot in the coming weeks and especially in the debates.
Summary: politically - not morally - Kerry is in a much, much stronger position today than Bush. He has virtually everything going for him: Iraq remains a net negative politically, oil prices are way too high, the markets are nervous, the electorate is ‘sour’ and 60-40- for a "change in the White House." Bush’s attempts so far - to the tune of over $80 million - to paint Kerry as a flip-flopping lefty haven’t done enough to make him ‘un-electable’ the way his father’s staff tore Michael Dukakis apart back in 1988.
Kerry - just like Bill Clinton - has been running for president since he was a teenager and met President John F. Kennedy. He has devoted everything he has to one thing only: becoming President.
He is so close now that he can smell it.
George W. Bush, on the other hand, is today caught in a vortex of bad news and the inability to control events to his advantage. He is really in a tough spot.
Can he still win? Yes, of course. But he is now so weakened that he needs to rely not on his own skills but on a huge mistake by the other side.
Kerry is no Al Gore. He is not going to sigh, roll his eyes and make up huge fabrications in the debates. Instead, he is going to be relentlessly on the attack.
Kerry is ahead in every way right now. True, there are still 3 months to go. But the trends are all pro-Kerry.


Looking back at last week’s Democratic Convention in Boston, we can see the game plan for this fall’s election: John Kerry is taking a page from sports: the best way to attack an opponent is to go right at his strength and neutralize it.
George W. Bush has had a strong advantage over Kerry on the War on Terror and the issue of "who can best lead in a crisis."
So what did Kerry and his Boston minions do?
They cleverly re-packaged the most liberal of all 100 senators into a born-again hawk who would be stronger in the War on Terror than Bush.
On the "ability to lead in a crisis," we suddenly met a man who heroically saves everyone - from overboard soldiers to drowning hampsters!
On national defense, we met someone who had killed enemy soldiers and suffered war wounds - not the man who consistently voted even to the left of Teddy Kennedy on cancelling most of our vital weapons programs.
In other words, Boston was all about re-creating and introducing a new candidate to the American voter.
And - so far - the Democrats have done a good job.
What does the Bush-Cheney Campaign now do?
Well, we have been told to expect a massive $ 60 million GOP August ad campaign aimed at educating the American voter on who the ‘real Kerry’ is.
The problem is that was already tried in March through June to the tune of about $80 million. And it did raise Kerry’s negatives. His image as a flip-flopper was imbedded in millions of minds. But, unfortunately for the Bush Team, the President’s negatives also rose along with the attacks on Kerry. For months the President himself - in a departure from all past presidents - has been on the stump attacking Kerry and even Edwards. Many have thought this a mistake - lowering the lofty status of the presidency down to the level of the common campaigner.
The better path now for Bush-Cheney now would be to rise above politics and act Presidential and eschewing blatant partisanship.
Why not talk Big Issues and Big Themes?
Why not paint a picture of the future that gives all Americans hope and optimism rather than more fear and trepidation?
Why not reduce Kerry back to the pathetic left-winger he really is by using the Presidency to dwarf him?
All of this can be done - not through attacks and TV commercials - but instead by new speeches and appearances by a suddenly re-invented President back in the post 9/11 mode.
Beginning right now, the Bush-Cheney Campaign needs to re-jigger their thinking. If they want to ‘grow’ their vote - mired at about 44% and unchanged for months - they need a new approach.
Blasting Kerry ain’t working.
So try a new way: ignore him and instead rise above it all.