Thursday, May 11, 2006

Howard Fineman trots out his ideal Democratic presidential candidate
Rove revamps the Republican strategy

By Howard Fineman

WASHINGTON – This fall’s election season is going to make the past three look like episodes of “Barney.”

The conventional notion here is that Democrats want to “nationalize” the 2006 elections — dwelling on broad themes (that is, the failures of the Bush Administration) — while the Republicans will try to “localize” them as individual contests that have nothing to do with, ahem, the goings on in the capital…

Rather than defend Bush, Rove will seek to rally the Republicans’ conservative grassroots by painting Democrats as the party of tax increases, gay marriage, secularism and military weakness. That’s where the national message money is going to be spent...[Ed. –That would be a hard sell. The next thing you know Rove will start peddling the meme that the Sun rises in the East and sets in the West]

So the White House will try to survive by driving down the ratings of the other side. Right now, an impressive 55 percent of voters say they have a favorable view of the Democrats, one of the party’s best ratings in years. But the “favorables” of leading national Democrats are weak: 34 percent for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton; 26 percent for Sen. John Kerry; 28 percent for former Vice President Al Gore. The bottom line: As long as the Democrats remain a generic, faceless alternative, they win; Rove’s aim is to paint his version of their portrait...


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