And could only hope for a dime...
The next 10 days will be very telling for the Kerry campaign. If the Democratic nominee can not steal up at least 5 points in the polls against Bush, then he is going to have a nearly impossible task of defeating Bush in November. This next week and a half will show whether or not the Kerry camp can put together a definitive set of policies that will give the American people a definitive and distinct choice in November. If he can not deliver this by May, he can look forward to returning to being the junior Senator from Massachusetts.
The next week or so will be telling. Things have not been going well for Bush. The situation in Iraq has deteriorated. And while it is not the quagmire?that Vietnam was, it is not the smiling people welcoming us as liberators?as Cheney and Rumsfeld were hoping for (and promised a tenative American public). This does not bode well for Bush. But what does Kerry say his plan would be? Internationalize? Bring in the U.N.? This is a weak micro-political answer to a complex macro-political question: How does a democratic Iraq benefit the national security of the US? Kerry is looking for the fastest way out that permits a mediocre result.
Another blow to the Bush Administration will be the new Woodward book. This book will bring light to some of the darker rumors heard around Washington and given Woodward's credibility, it will put the Bush re-election campaign into a position where it does not want to burn political capital and valuable free media time trying explain away things from a novel. But how will Kerry respond? He can't really attack Bush on parts of Woodward's book that are attributed to 搃nside sources? Democrats tried this on Robert Novak after the Plame kerfuffle, and it didn't have the desired effect.
A third factor has been the report that the Saudi government will try to increase production in order to lower the price of gas in time for the election. This would most certainly help the incumbent in an election year and would help alleviate the strain on the growing US economy and the American voter. But what is Kerry willing to do? Is he willing to ride a wave of anti-Saudi animosity found in many Americans? How would he reconcile that with having to deal with a Saudi royal house that would get booted out of control if there was ever a democratic election (in the place of far more extreme elements in control of the world's largest oil reserves)?
Kerry may get lucky to open up a five point lead on Bush at the end of the next 10 days, but he better hope for 10 points. His positions do not outline him as a clear alternative (even though the RNC claims it does, much to their own glee). It outlines him as an alternative on paper only. And when it comes down to it, voters will not change presidents when there is only a marginal difference between the candidates. In these times, voters are looking for stability (both economic and political).
Kerry thus far has not been able to describe to the American people how he would be different in such a way to warrant a massive swing in public opinion. If he can not demonstrate to the American public how can bring them both hope and security, and can stop the bloodshed in Iraq, he will find it hard to describe why a majority of Americans should vote for him. And he will only have himself to blame.