Some analysts think John Kerry has already garbled up his Iraq message so completely that he can no longer win on that issue.
Here’s a bulletin. You’re allowed to bungle a statement or two and send mixed messages as long as you hone your message for the stretch of time when it really counts.
Don’t take it from me. Take it from the Bush team.
For months we were told that we needed to invade Iraq because of the WMD threat. There were other reasons, but let’s not kid ourselves. That was the reason. Now that reason never gets mentioned. Last week at the convention, we were told that we went to Iraq because it was part of the war on terror. Well, it was really only part of the war on terror to the extent that Iraq had WMDs to potentially share with terrorists.
Think the Bush team focuses on their own flip flops and major mistakes in judgment surrounding these issues? Not a chance. They rework the message and power forward and refuse to admit mistakes or weakness. And slowly but surely, the voting masses start to believe it.
Now, when it comes to their attacks on John Kerry, do you think the Bush team is concerned that they are really misleading people when it comes to Kerry’s protest vote against the $87 billion for the troops? Or perhaps they are sitting around discussing what Kerry really meant when he said he would vote to authorize the President to go to war even if he knew all the facts he knows now? Do they even ponder the nuances of the issue (ie. we may actually be less safe because of their decisions)?
Not a chance. The message is simple. We were right. He is wrong. We will protect you.
Think about this for a second. There were no WMDs. We took resources away from our fight against Al Qaeda. We were not greeted as liberators. Most of the world was against us.
And still, Bush is absolutely kicking ass on this issue.
The Kerry team should not feel like the Iraq issue is beyond retrieval. Just get the message straight and keep repeating it. Let’s get a little last minute media training for the campaign troops, here. Hone the message. Stick with it. Answer unrelated questions by answering with that same message. The masses will move. Especially if what Kerry is trying to convince them of is the truth and what he really believes.
Update: Josh Marshall offers a post with a similar message.