By now you’ve seen the latest Bush ad, heard the rhetoric that “Senator Edwards delivers his pessimism with a Southern drawl and a smile,” and have found the “second choice” attacks from the right to be profoundly unprofessional. Welcome to the kick-off of the 2004 presidential mudslinging-fest, it’s only going to get worse.
Now, for a president who claimed to be a “uniter and not a divider,” the Bush campaign sure seems to be going out of it’s way to spin the John Edwards VP pick as a win for Republicans using McCain’s image (who was first choice). To counter this, I proffer the following cartoon editorial:
That’s right, once upon a time Bush was America’s second choice, and we swallowed that bitter pill even when we really wanted McCain to be the Republican nominee. Bush could have sucked it up and tapped McCain as his VP — which would have suited many people not ecstatic with his inexperience — but he didn’t, he went with Dick “F*#k off” Cheney (CORRECTION: Bush did try to woo McCain, and was spurned… Cheney was the second choice in 2000).
John Kerry has done a very smart and politically suave thing, he chose the number two Democrat that people voted for in the primaries. In contrast to 2000 Republican ticket with a puppet frontman and meandering VP, Kerry is this year’s evil embodiment and Edwards is the hand-grabber who brings personality. Not a whole lot of difference in the physical aspects of the platforms.
Which is why the ads from both sides (and heavily leaned on by Bush) focus on appearance instead of substance. Kerry comes close to actual issues, but he attacks the results of Bush’s malfeasance instead of addressing the causes and creating solutions. It’s easy to spout rhetoric in that fashion when your adversary is an utter failure in diplomacy and policy, but it’s another matter to actually have solutions to fill the vacuum left by a self-immolating opponent.
Which brings me back to the whole first choice, second choice rhetoric and where America stands on the negative ads: no matter your feelings on the McCain/Edwards Hullabaloo, Bush is quickly becoming the last choice.
G. O. P. Opens Intense Attack on the Choice and the Chooser [New York Times]