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Saturday, October 16, 2004

How Bush could win

First, of course, he is slightly ahead in the polls. Kerry supporters belief that Kerry is going to win is based partly on sound arguments for why the polls should not be taken literally (see post below) and partly on wishful thinking (see post below).

Matthew Yglesias considers two other reasons why Bush might win: A Major Kerry gaffe (unlikely) or cheating (the Republicans have been repeatedly caught trying already).

What about the possibility that there will be a major terrorist attack and people will rally around the flag and re-elect Bush ? I think this is quite likely. Does this mean that I think the terrorists want Bush to win ? Well I do and, besides, they're not exactly rational are they.

A terrorist attack would convince rational Bush supporters that his decision spend 200 billion invading Iraq and to underfund homeland security is unforgivable *if* there were any rational Bush supporters.

The effect on undecided voters and unmotivated partisan voters might depend on Kerry. In particular, if he keeps hammering on lapses in homeland security and, in particular, repeatedly recites a laundry list of complaints about omissions, there is a chance that, in the horrible case of a terrorist attack, he won't even have to say he told us so.

This reasoning is so cynical that I am ashamed of it, but it makes sense to me. I'd say a terrorist attack on a chemical plant or a bomb in one of the 95% of uninspected containers would have a different impact than a terrorist attack exploiting a weak point that Kerry has not denounced.

Or look at it this way. The Republican strategists always complains that the Democrats are doing exactly what they fear that the Democrats will do. They said the Democrats are negative negative negative and tricked the Democrats into holding a positive convention.

What is the latest line ? "A plan is not a litany of complaints." Sounds like Bush is scared that Kerry's plan for protecting his campaign from Osama Bin Laden will be a litany of complaints.

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