Long, hard road ahead | VailDaily.com

Long, hard road ahead

Don Rogers

Didn’t we mention in this space six, seven months ago that President Bush would have his hands full in his re-election bid if those elusive weapons of mass destruction could not be found?

Glossing over the right reasons to take over Iraq, the administration went rashly ahead of true coalition building and badly overplayed the weapons hand.

Still, find a cache of bio weapons or an undeniably nuclear bomb-making program and Bush steam rolls the liberal senator from Massachusetts or the latest smooth-talking Bubba from the South.

Don’t find those weapons and even catching Osama is unlikely to forestall a repeat of a near-evenly divided nation at the polls.

But it’s early yet. Most observers see the November election swinging much more on the national economy than Iraq.

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So polls today showing John Kerry creaming Bush can only lead to the sort of giddy nonsense that had Dean changing the political structure as we know it. This week his candidacy popped like the dot.com bubble of mainly hot air. Anyone buying the gibberish about having leverage at the Democratic convention come summer? He’s a fast-fading afterthought today.

Sorry, a few hundred thousand suckers does not make a trend. Over 100 million people will vote in November. Ryan and Trista could win more votes than this fellow. And President Ford has the fresher voice.

If the Dems really believed their own baloney about “electability,” they’d already have anointed Joe Lieberman, the popular choice for vice president back in 2000. Remember when the pundits thought more of him than presidential nominee Al Gore? This time, he couldn’t make it past February.

So the Democratic field has winnowed to essentially two – the familiar New England lib and glib Bubba from the South. Whoever makes it to the general election, we’ll have been there before.

The negative attention on Bush has had its effect, to be sure. The president has never suffered lower marks in the polls, and Kerry would beat Bush by double digits if the big election were held today, by Gallup’s count.

But Democratic voters tend to be fabulously flaky, neglecting in large numbers to bother at the ballot box, while the GOP voters are better known for following through. That does affect elections.

Sadly enough, the Bush machine will crank up its negative campaigning – because it still works – and the race will tighten considerably. The real change would be the end of the tilt to the gutter in the fall. Hah! Fat chance.

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