Sunday, April 11, 2004

Iraq and the presidential race 

Bad news in Iraq should be bad news for Bush's reelection campaign, right? Maybe not. For one thing, any  news about Iraq diverts attention from Kerry's strong suits -- social issues and the economy -- to Bush's strong suit, national security. As LA Times writer Maria LaGanga points out:
The Democratic nominee for president set out every day this week to talk about a peacetime economy and ended up discussing war. He was nudged in the new direction by a week's barrage of bad news.
It's something of a catch-22. If things are going well in Iraq, Bush gets to say "see, I made the right decision, I got rid of a brutal dictator and liberated a country"; if things are going badly, he gets to act the part of the "popular wartime president" and remind us not to switch horses in midstream (thus the campaign motto, "steady leadership in times of change").
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