Fourth Quarter Strategy
As the clock ticks down, Republicans are reduced to hoisting up low-percentage threes. The flurry of shots on Kerry's Mary Cheney reference, Bush's painfully desperate negativism (including the resuscitation of the "liberal" canard), and Bush's transparent projection will all miss the mark. Unfortunately, politics isn't basketball, and a shot doesn't have to be on target to score. Hell, it's not even horseshoes, where the toss has to be close. In politics, sometimes the most errant shots score the highest.
Nonetheless, the Bush attacks will produce long rebounds, which Kerry can turn into fast break points. In politics, this entails seizing Bush's arguments and using them to advance Kerry's narrative. Luckily, it's not hard to do, especially given the power (and truthfulness) of Kerry's narrative - Bush is "out of ideas, out of touch and unwilling to change." Every Kerry proxy (and that includes you and me) needs to hammer Kerry's theme home, not merely on offense, but on defense. When Bush accuses Kerry of being a liberal, that is evidence that he is out of touch. The details are irrelevant at this point, everyone who wants to know them already does. When Bush accuses Kerry of wanting to cut and run in Iraq, it shows that he is out of touch and unwilling to change. After 270 minutes of standing on the same stage with John Kerry, Bush still can't see the obvious falseness of his positions. And on and on and on. We can't stop scoring points.