Some people say that the floundering Kerry campaign has been too nice, and that the “gloves are coming off” in September and October. (Calling President Bush a Nazi/Hitler/baby-killer/moron/coward is nice?) I don’t think being too nice has been Kerry’s problem, but if the fault lies with the candidate or his positions that would be too painful for some to contemplate.
If it looks like Bush is heading for a significant win, look out for:
Accommodating allies: other countries may step up their cooperation in the war on terror (more troops and aid to Afghanistan and Iraq) and initiate friendlier economic policies (lower oil prices, support for the dollar) to curry favor with a President who will be around for four more years.
A less trashy campaign: the adults who run the Democratic Party will put a lid on the most extreme elements of the anti-Bush crowd. CBS’ attempt to raise questions about Bush’s service in the National Guard and Kitty Kelley’s claim that Bush used cocaine late in life have backfired against Kerry. There’s a negative halo effect as more and more people are tuning out all criticism of Bush by the mainstream media (MSM). If Bush’s coattails and overreaching by the opposition pull in the 60 Senators necessary to override filibusters on Bush’s judicial nominees, that outcome will be worse for liberal causes than losing the Presidency. My bet is that wiser heads will cool it, choosing to fight another day in 2006 and 2008.
How could Senator Kerry have better connected with people?
1) When you come from a privileged background, make fun of yourself. Self-deprecating humor creates empathy with the audience; it worked for the original JFK four decades ago and even smoothed the edges of Vice President [Darth] Cheney at the Republican convention.
2) If you want to communicate effectively with conservative Christians, you don’t necessarily have to preach chapter and verse. (Anyway, if it's done too blatantly that would rightly be viewed as pandering.) In order to show you are familiar with and respect the culture, you can sprinkle your speech with Biblical references, as in this old refrain that Senator Kerry may have sung in college and may be singing again on November 3rd:
We're poor little lambs who have lost our way© 2004 Stephen Yuen
Baa! Baa! Baa!
We're little black sheep who have gone astray
Baa! Baa! Baa!