Teacher's Ramblings

A potpourri of education, politics, family matters, and current events.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Let the Analysis Begin

Via Best of the Web:

Twelve days before the election, James Carville stood in a Beverly Hills living room surrounded by two generations of Hollywood stars. After being introduced by Sen. John Kerry's daughter, Alexandra, he told the room — confidently, almost cockily — that the election was in the bag.

"If we can't win this damn election," the advisor to the Kerry campaign said, "with a Democratic Party more unified than ever before, with us having raised as much money as the Republicans, with 55 percent of the country believing we're heading in the wrong direction, with our candidate having won all three debates, and with our side being more passionate about the outcome than theirs — if we can't win this one, then we can't win shit! And we need to completely rethink the Democratic Party."

Well, as it turns out, that's exactly what should be done. But instead, Carville and his fellow architects of the Democratic defeat have spent the last week defending their campaign strategy, culminating on Monday morning with a breakfast for an elite core of Washington reporters.

At the breakfast, Carville, together with chief campaign strategist Bob Shrum and pollster Stan Greenberg, seemed intent on one thing — salvaging their reputations.

They blamed the public for not responding to John Kerry's message on the economy, and they blamed the news media for distracting voters from this critical message with headlines from that pesky war in Iraq.

"News events were driving this," said Shrum. "The economy was not driving the news coverage."But shouldn't it have been obvious that Iraq and the war on terror were the real story of this campaign? Only these Washington insiders, stuck in an anachronistic 1990s mind-set and re-fighting the 1992 election, could think that the economy would be the driving factor in a post-9/11 world with Iraq in flames. That the campaign's leadership failed to recognize that it was no longer "the economy, stupid," was the tragic flaw of the race.

UPDATE: More from the New Republic:

. . . The lack of message was made worse by the failure to articulate a compelling narrative. "People had a story about George Bush," says a senior Kerry adviser. "The story was he was the accidental president who was transformed by 9/11 into a strong and serious leader. That kind of story matters to people." Instead of a story, aides confess, the Kerry campaign had a laundry list of policy proposals, or, in the words of James Carville, a litany rather than a narrative. "The human mind revolves around a story," says Carville. "Churches have litanies. Religions have a narrative.... It's the way we think. But we're selling a set of issue positions. The same thing always comes back: People always like our positions on the issues, and we always lose. . ."

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