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For those who feel the war on terrorism
could use a little "Structural Adjustment".

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Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Okay, enough playing with the fires of battle and the fogs of war (an interesting balanced article critical of Democrats for overstating the role of the Pentagon's intelligence groups) for me, for now. Instead, I want to take a look at the the voting herds. In reply to rumors that his name has surfaced as a possible running mate for John Kerry, well known Republican Senator John McCain had this to say last week on ABC's Good Morning America: "It's impossible to imagine the Democratic Party seeking a pro-life, free-trading nonprotectionist deficit hawk."
McCain's office later announced that he would not run for V.P. in 2004, but the fact the question was asked could be revealing some of John Kerry's strategy to court the Republican middle to bolt.

As a baseball fan, I learned some years ago that teams' general managers' use certain media outlets and sports writers as liasons to float potential trade ideas without having to go through the media glare and offending star players on deals that might not have a serious chance of being considered. The opposing team then might use the same writer to propose a counteroffer, or just say that they wouldn't be interested. The reporter of course loves getting "the scoop" on trade rumors and fans go and speculate wildly, and teams can appease their players by saying "we never talked to that team about trading you, Clutch," and be technically correct.

So here we have prominent Republican Senator being asked on a morning news show about running on the Democratic ticket and I wonder if this might have been a floater. It would make sense to Kerry to find someone of McCain's political background, and here's why:

1) Republican Presidential voters can be generally broken down into four or five groups, the wealthy, the South, the religious right, NASCAR fans, and the small government fiscal conservatives. Obviously people can be members of more than one of these at a time. Anyway, the groups President Bush has alienated most are the fiscal conservatives and the now non-working South. By getting McCain, a real "deficit hawk" (someone opposed to deficits) as compared to the Cheney-Bush "I'm a deficit hawk, the President is too," type, Kerry would indicate he's serious about putting constraints on federal spending while alleviating fears about protectionism.
2) The ticket would further emphasize the differences between Kerry's and Bush's military records and draw attention to years that Bush doesn't want emphasized in a character battle.
3) It would secure the Southwest, Arizona voted for Bush in 2000, New Mexico for Gore by less than a thousand votes. Both states as well as Nevada would likely go to Kerry if McCain was on the ticket, and give the Democrats a better chance in Florida. The Arizona win alone would seal the deal in Kerry's favor.

Of course, McCain put an end to this pipe dream early. However, if this is the direction Kerry is looking, he's on the right track. There are very few nominees that Kerry could rely on to switch Republican voting states to the Democratic camp. The states most likely to flip Democratic are Ohio, New Hampshire, and the Southwest (Nevada, Arizona and Colorado), with Missouri and Florida having an outside chance. The Republicans are looking to convert Iowa, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and the Northwest. New York is also a major prize that isn't as firmly with the Democrats as it was four years ago. Regardless, there is a distinct possibilty of a reversal of fortune for Bush, as if tiny New Hampshire flips to Kerry (he comes from a neighboring state and they do like him), the Democrats could win the election by just holding the states Gore carried in 2000, even if they lose the popular vote.

Bran 12:50 PM : |


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