Look, fuck those swing voters. This election has already been decided:
Kerry 296, Bush 242.
The results, from where I sit, are quite clear: If all the votes are counted, John Kerry will win. Clearly. Convincingly. And without need for extensive litigation or Supreme Court intervention.
Allow me, first and foremost, to restate my displeasure with the near-incompetence of Kerry’s tone-deaf campaign. Aside from the well-known shortcomings of the candidate himself, Kerry missed several chances by which he might have dominated the race early on rather than sinking into his August slump.
Consider the discipline of the Bush attack machine in contrast. If Kerry had said “I don’t think you can win the war on terror,” Republicans would have practically strung him up on the spot. The outrage would have been deafening, and would undoubtedly have sunk the senator’s campaign.
If a Gore administration had advised Americans that the best they could do to protect their families was to go buy plastic wrap and duct tape, Republicans would never have allowed the public to forget.
If President Gore had stated that “the right track/wrong track in Iraq is better than here in America,” Republicans would have howled about how the liberals care more about nation-building overseas than Joe Schmoe mill worker in Ohio.
And President Gore could never have run a baldly exploitative campaign based entirely on 9/11 — much like if Franklin D. Roosevelt ran on the idea that Pearl Harbor was his finest hour — because Republicans would have already impeached him two years earlier.
Kerry missed this and many other chances to crystalize Republican incompetence in the mind of the public. And chief among them, I think, was his refusal to fight back against the charge that he is a vaccillating flip-flopper even when there was a vast array of ammo at his disposal.
Still, though, Kerry succeeded in the race simply by not failing; He presented himself as a plausible president in the first debate, which instantly upended the Republicans’ cartoonish characterizations of an ultra-liberal, viet cong-supporting, tax-loving, soldier-hating finger-in-the-wind opportunist.
The Bush campaign, for its part, has lost its last opportunity to turn the race into a referrendum on Kerry. Its incompetent handling of the Iraqi munitions story allowed it to quickly snowball and bury any message the campaign intended to disseminate in the final week.
Kerry’s Ohio hunting trip, coupled with the Boston Red Sox’s World Series win presented enough symbolic appeal to bolster the candidate’s support among stupid, testosterone-addled men.
Lastly, and most importantly, the failure to enact intelligence reforms from the 9/11 commission before election day represents a profound political failure. Even signing a bill on Monday is too late to not be seen as transparently political and desparate. Republicans control the House, the Senate and the presidency, and their failure on this issue will drive the final nail in the Bush administration’s coffin.