Tuesday, March 30, 2004

John Kerry's Mystery Theatre - Who Ya Gonna Call?

Instead of our Comely Camel Character saying or doing something worthy of a Scooby Doo team investigation, this time he is promising to reveal his VP pick by the end of May.

This, my friends, is a mistake of Biblical proportions. It is forced, as the article suggests, by a need to raise money. We discussed that yesterday. But their goal seems to be a second message floating around hammering W. Trust me, ladies, it will get real old, real quick. A second warm body raising money? Just recall the DNC/RNC difference - the money isn't there. The masses are giving their nickels elsewhere.

More importantly, I suggest it flatlines the DNC convention. No one will have any reason to watch it. It will be an organized event no different than a large fund raiser (without the net positive cash flow). People tuned in historically to find out who will be the VP pick, to hear the candidate give his or her big speech thereby setting the tone for the campaign. Now, it will be a coronation of a King and Queen about whom almost everyone has a firm, fixed opinion. In the speech, there can be no "reinvention" moment.

The campaign, generally viewed as beginning post-Labor Day, will have begun in June. This hysterically early start of a campaign against an opponent (W) who has a several-fold money advantage is just not smart warfare. Kerry should fight the battle he is fighting today. Maybe people will think W is "piling on" and should stop - maybe "defining the man with fact rather than fantasy" will backfire on W after the 15th issue ad. But changing the battle - adding his VP - gives W more time. Kerry should use tradition to his advantage. Wait until late July and add the suspense of the VP selection. Use his speech to bifurcate the past several months from the ensuing several weeks. Wait until Labor Day to begin the real campaign. It is the best way to conserve cash through maximizing free media.

Perhaps W will be known for the brilliant warfare strategies and tactics that brought Iraq down so quickly (I have read that the Israelis were deeply impressed and are teaching it in their war college - high praise indeed). Kerry may be known for the most ill-conceived and executed political warfare strategy and tactics in modern history.

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