As Bush campaigned in 2004, notably absent from any of his stump speeches was a truthful celebration of his accomplishments. In fact there was rarely even a dishonest celebration of his accomplishments. His handlers didn't even bother to offer "that vision thing" which Bush's father at least acknowledged was a necessary illusion.
Instead, at event after campaign event Bush slumped over the podium, stared blankly into the crowd and reeled off a litany of crazy things that John Kerry says and thinks and desires. That famous smirk was the only sign of life in a robotic performance that didn't even need to punctuate the outrage that his crowds were there to bathe in.
What did this image tell us about a second term? Had Bush lost that election historians would undoubtedly have inferred from his demeanor that his heart wasn't really in the fight. With Bush defeated the lessons of history would be that the American people demand more from a candidate than dishonest bogeyman stories before they hand him the keys to power. Turns out, the American people aren't that demanding.
Before the 2004 Democratic primary all the media parrots lined up to warn the Democrats that they can't win elections by just running down the President and his policies. Americans won't vote out of animosity they all told us. So the Kerry camp ran a remarkably positive convention.
And naturally these good parrots held no such comparable insights when the Republican Convention turned into a rabid hate fest. No vision for the future, no accomplishments to be lauded, only contempt for John Kerry.
And that's how they won. And that's how they govern.
When the election is over and all that you've told the American people is that your opponent hates the country he seeks to govern, what do people expect you to do in office? You're in luck, because the people who voted for you obviously hold no expectations.
Seems the Republicans are fulfilling a campaign pledge of sorts and continue to make dogging John Kerry their number one priority. Kerry has been an able punching bag; it's almost like Republicans kick him just to watch his painful reaction.
Republicans won't continue to hold onto power because the American people are horrified of John Kerry. They'll hold onto power because otherwise thoughtful citizens will continue to steer clear of the ugliness of politics.