The Kerry camp is in trouble. It's in the polls. He is starting to crack under pressure. His Mathews interview didn't cement his image with the swing voters. He is appearing to not have a set of core values. Instead, he is being shown to be a political opportunist who has only a cursory acquaintance with the truth. And this head to head competition is only about 10 weeks old. This isn't good for Kerry and Co. Here, I will tell you how he can win.
His 3 biggest negatives:
He says dumb things. I voted for it before I didn't vote for it. I have an SUV and then I don't have one, it's my family's. I threw medals and ribbons but I still have my medals. He is spending more time playing defense than he is playing offense. It is never healthy for a campaign when you have to waste valuable airtime explaining away things instead of using it to get your message across.
He has both sides of several issues. He has to stand for something, we just don抰 know what that is. If you come across a topic that is a politically hot potato, you should not be nuanced, you should be vague, What is the difference? Being vague means you leave out specifics. Being nuanced is when you give specifics and then have to backtrack later to explain them. To be honest, Kerry is not very good with this because he is so self absorbed that he thinks he can get away with it. Hey John, it might have worked in AAA ball, but it won't work in Prime Time.
He's boring. Sorry to say it so plainly, but he is boring. His voice is monotone. He has one facial expression. He looks like it takes effort for him to smile. In the end, he doesn't come across in the media as a likable guy. And that is part of being the President like it or not. You have to inspire confidence in the people of America. You have to make them believe that you will be the one to make their lives better. You give them hope. Believe it or not, Bush is better at doing that then Kerry is right now.
He has positives, but I will explain them further down. Now what I want to do is to show J.F. Kerry how he can still pull out a win in Nov. [Ed. Note: I support Bush and I hope he beats Kerry in Nov. This is simply an effort in critical thinking and political analysis.]
Things he needs to stress more:
Accomplishments as a Middlesex prosecutor. He needs to let people know that he was tough on bad people. He needs to let people know that he stood up to bad people and put them away. He hasn't mentioned this once on all the shows that he does or in the interviews. He needs to make this relevant and show that he will be bad on evil terrorists who want to hurt innocent Americans.
He doesn't really want to bring up that he was Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts. The governor at the time was Mike Dukakis who failed in ?8 against Bush the elder and had the horrific idea for weekend furloughs of convicted felons (think Willie Horton). If brought up, he can decline to his job as DA prosecutor.
His record on the environment. He needs to show why he is better for the environment than Bush is. This isn't because he is going to win any swing voters or that this is even an important issue with the average American voter. But he does need to shore up the Green vote which is shifting to Nader. Plus, it never hurts to tell soccer-moms that you will make little Billy's air cleaner or little Suzy's water better to drink. But he needs to shore up the Greenies who are rabid activists and who WILL vote come Nov (they just aren't sure for who).
An additional part of this is the idea that we must cut our foreign dependence on oil to strengthen National Security. But Kerry must (and I repeat it) MUST not say dumb things like Bush and his oil buddies? People are already tired of that line and ever time you use it, you sound like a bitter Al Gore. Instead, leave out the oil companies and try to instill some hope that with American ingenuity we can decrease our dependence on foreign fuels. "We can help clean up the environment. And with American innovation, there is no reason we shouldn't be leading the world with new technology and creating new jobs". Something along those lines.
Explain how he is going to help people get health care. People are worried about this topic because many jobs today don't have health insurance and the ones that do are costing people more and more each month. He has to come up with something that will not be considered Big Government giveaways? And the best way to do this is to always give people a tax-credit? If you have to directly tax other people to give away health care to people, it's welfare? If you have to tax people to increase govt. revenues because some people aren't paying as much because of health care tax credits, it's not welfare (funny, but for the majority of Americans, it's how it's viewed).
The cost of health care is skyrocketing. Kerry has to address this with a clear plan that won't cost too much. Bush had one package, Kerry needs to top it and explain it in clear terms.
Tuition rates are rising. Kerry can complain as much as he wants about No Child Left Behind, but most people like the idea. So he needs a new educational issue. And what better than tuition tax-credits. It plays out the same in middle America as the health issue does. And if America is going to compete in the 21st century we need to have as many well educated people in the workforce as possible. Education is the gift we give our children to ensure our future? Yeah, I like the sound of that. It's hard to vote against something that will let people afford a college education.
Kerry needs to set a clear foreign policy. Not just on Iraq, but on how America will lead in the 21st century and beyond. Americans will not accept being subservient to the UN. So he should tailor his message to how he will help lead the US and the nations of the World to make the world a safer place for all? He needs to explain how he could have gotten more nations to contribute to Iraq, but he has to do it without saying that the UN is THE solution. The UNSCAM (oil for food) scandal will shut down any chance for him to say the UN is the answer. Instead, he must focus on his experience as part of the Foreign Relations Committee. But stay away from saying anything about foreign leaders endorsements. Instead say things like 揑 have for almost 2 decades worked with representatives of other nations on items such as peace and security?blah blah blah? But he needs to say exactly where we are headed and not be general about it. Bush did this to near perfection in 2000 and he won because of it (even if he made a 180 on foreign policy after 9-11).
He needs to explain that he isn't that much different from Bush (but in good ways). This is where he will try to get the swing voters. For example in Iraq he has mostly the same plan (stay the course, democracy is good, yadda yadda). His poll numbers went up when he admitted that he would stay the course and not punk out. He needs to explain how he will stay the course EVEN IF his plans to "internationalize" Iraq do not work. The majority of Americans understand how important Iraq now is to our national security and he needs to let them know he won抰 just run at the first rough patch that we come across.
Where he and Bush agree he needs to let people know that. He just has to let them know how he will do it better.
Style and Substance
Everything is perception. Bad substance can be covered up with great style. So he needs to improve how people perceive him as a person (which is pretty negative). Straight up? He needs to smile a lot more. He is morose and angry in almost every interview you see him in. He is angry at every stump speech he gives. Like I said above, people want a character who will give them hope for a better tomorrow. John Edwards ran a great campaign on that idea, and for someone with only 2 years political experience, he did incredibly well. A positive campaign also did wonders for a guy from Arkansas who sat in the White House for 8 years.
You can't simply win an election by only explaining why your opponent's strategy is wrong. You win it by explaining why your strategy is right. In every single interview and clip you see Kerry in, he says the same thing: "The Bush policies are wrong for America". Yeah, John we hear you, why not trying to tell us why you are so right? He would do a lot better if he never mentioned the Bush administration. Just take it out of some (not all) of the speeches. And instead he should tailor his speeches to use that time more effectively into articulating his vision for tomorrow.
Kerry needs to come to grips with who is he. Right now he is the "Anybody" for the
"Anybody But Bush" crowd of the Democratic party. He needs to spend more time as John Kerry the next President of the United States? If he doesn't start looking more Presidential, he will end up just being the junior Senator from Massachusetts.