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March 03, 2004

JUST AROUND THE CORNER....President Bush's new TV ads are here. Josh Marshall thinks the campaign's main theme is "It's not my fault," but I'm not so sure.

Take a look at ad #1 in particular. Could "Today America is turning the corner" be any closer to "It's morning again in America" without triggering a copyright infringement suit? Hell, even the music of the two commercials is similar. Don't believe me? Here's the Bush ad and here's the Reagan ad. Compare for yourself.

The other Bush ads are pretty standard issue stuff, also very Reaganesque in theme if not quite so obviously ripped off. Lots of flags being raised, images of Middle America, paeans to small business owners, "strong leadership," etc.

Will it work? Hard to say. The big difference between the Bush ads and "Morning in America" is that Reagan could genuinely cite some good statistics: inflation down, employment up, interest rates down, and so forth. Bush is limited to vague statements that, um, prosperity is just around the corner.

Hmmm, come to think of it, that old Hoover wheeze is mighty close to "America is turning the corner," isn't it? Maybe those endless comparisons of Bush to Hoover have paid off after all. Even the Bush campaign seems to have it stuck in its collective unconscious.

Posted by Kevin Drum at March 3, 2004 02:31 PM | TrackBack


Comments

I guess we'll see if it works, and whether GWB was closer to Hoover or Reagan this time around too. Like I said on the other thread - GWB will get 60 million votes.

Posted by: Charlie at March 3, 2004 02:34 PM | PERMALINK

Fed Says Economy Continuing to Expand

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20040303/D8132R2O1.html

Dollar Hits 2004 Highs on Jobs Outlook

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&cid=568&u=/nm/20040303/bs_nm/markets_forex_dc_19&printer=1

Posted by: ether at March 3, 2004 02:40 PM | PERMALINK

I thought if you kept on "turning the corner" you're just going around in circles.

Posted by: Mooser at March 3, 2004 02:40 PM | PERMALINK

My thinking is that the similarities to Reagan ads are deliberate. Rove would love to have conservatives equating the two.

Posted by: AngryElephant at March 3, 2004 02:42 PM | PERMALINK

Realplayer is the format of the devil!

I caught some clips on a local TV station, tho...

Interesting comparison between Bush and Reagan's ads, it's quite obvious when you think about it...

Posted by: Sandals at March 3, 2004 02:43 PM | PERMALINK

Time will tell but I suspect that Josh Marshall has nailed it pretty well. If you are happy with the way things are going, then these ads will make you even happier. If you are suffering - and name any issue here - you might just sit back and wonder why the hell the president is telling you the last 3 years sucked... as if you didn't know that already!

So, I think it will look like an excuse to those voters that matter.

Posted by: RDS at March 3, 2004 02:44 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, my general view is the ads suck. Bush & Rove are really doing the only thing they can do. In my view, they don't have much choice. The economic record sucks. Iraq is linked at the hip with the WMD issue -- which obviously didn't work out.

I don't care what Charlie and the rest of the right wingers say. You can't avoid reality forever. The economy ain't producing jobs. It ain't. Period. End of story. A tangential economic issue is the fact that we have tons of highly paid IT people that remember the gravy days of the late 90's, and are pissed that those days haven't come back. And man, are they pissed. I know TONS of IT and former sales people in the Northern Virginia area that are PISSED about their situation.

Charlie, you need to remember that once people have made a lot of money, they don't forget it. Some people have had their income sliced IN HALF over the last six years or so. And that hurts, and they're not forgiving types.

It's the economy stupid. Remember that phrase? Works here too. With Lou Dobbs pounding away nightly, the deficit the size of Mount Everest, people are concerned.

Bush has problems. And no policies to deal with them. If I were he, I'd immediately come out with a worker retraining program and all kinds of educational grants, etc.

C'mon now......WHAT THE HELL IS BUSH DOING FOR THE UNEMPLOYED? WHAT JOB CREATION PROGRAMS DOES HE HAVE OUT THERE? What about business development grants for all these IT people?

Bush ain't doin' squat. Face it. This is leadership?

Posted by: Tony Shifflett at March 3, 2004 02:45 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, don't stop there, Charlie. Post your full "analysis" so that we can all be convinced by your wisdom as to why Bush will get 60,000,000 votes:

"Bush got 50,456,169 votes in 2000 - I simply need 10 million more to get past 60 million. Now, let's look at the last two successful re-election numbers: Clinton got 44,909,326 in 1992 but only 3 million more in 1996: 47,401,898. That was even AFTER an impeachment (are you guys going to get one of those before November?) On the other hand, Reagan got 43,898,770 in 1980, but more than the 10 million additional votes in 1996 54,451,521."

(And before anyone calls Charlie on this, yes, he now knows that the Clinton impeachment took place after the election.)

Posted by: PaulB at March 3, 2004 02:45 PM | PERMALINK

Where are the Kerry ads? I think one of move on's stong points has been the fact that they give people the option of contributing to the airing of specific ads. You're more likely to contribute when you can see the specific fruits of your contribution. I will contribute in any event, but they need to get cracking on some ads now.

Posted by: tstreet at March 3, 2004 02:48 PM | PERMALINK

Public Service Announcement:

Okay folks. Time to do without that pizza on Saturday night. Or, forgo your Dunkin Donuts coffee for a bit.

Take that money and donate it – to Kerry, moveon.org, the DNC …Take your pick.

We need to get this asshole out of the White House.

Wouldn’t it be nice to see in a few months that Kerry has more in his war chest than Bush?

Close your eyes and envision Rove when that happens.

Delightful, isn’t it?

Let’s do it!

Posted by: Anyone But Bush at March 3, 2004 02:49 PM | PERMALINK


Rich Lowry of National Review sites some stats:

PRESIDENT BUSH is taking a beating on the economy, partly because he has failed to realize the power of numbers. In his 1996 reelection campaign, Bill Clinton took the numbers from a recovering economy and repeated them until the American public reached the point of statistical saturation and became convinced the nation had achieved economic nirvana. It was a classic case of “talking up” the economy. Lately, Democratic Presidential candidates have done exactly the opposite, making a recovering economy seem a cesspit of misery. If Bush is to save his Presidency, he must push back. He must tout his numbers.

The numbers speak of strong overall economic growth. The gross domestic product — the figure for the total output economy — grew at an 8.2 percent rate in the third quarter of 2003, and at a 4 percent rate in the fourth quarter. The GDP is forecast to grow at a 4.5 percent rate in 2004. As economist J. Edward Carter writes: “For the third consecutive year, the U.S. economy is poised to grow faster than most other industrialized economies. France, Germany and Japan, for instance, are not expected to grow even half as fast as the United States.”

The numbers indicate an economy constantly finding new and better ways to work. Non-farm productivity — a crucial indicator of economic efficiency that corresponds over the long term with higher wages and greater national wealth — grew at a healthy 4.2 percent rate in 2003. During Bush’s first three years in office, productivity has been increasing at a 4.1 percent annual rate, the best start to any Presidential term in roughly 50 years.

The numbers highlight a booming housing market. The rate of home ownership hit 68.6 percent during the past three months of 2003, an all-time high. Sales for new and existing homes were also at all-time highs last year. Housing starts have jumped 26 percent since 2001, and the 30-year fixed mortgage rate has dropped 20 percent, from 7.06 percent to 5.66 percent.

The numbers tell of bustling activity all around. Manufacturing production has increased 2.3 percent since January 2003. There was a 10 percent increase in equipment and software spending in the fourth quarter of 2003, the third consecutive quarter of strong growth in such investment. In January, retail sales were up a robust 5.8 percent over a year earlier. Profits among companies that are part of the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index increased by 26 percent in the fourth quarter of 2003.

The numbers trumpet a stock market that has recovered from the Clinton era bubble. Since the trough of October 2002, the stock market’s value has increased by more than $4 trillion. The market capitalization of the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ has grown roughly 40 percent since October of 2002.

What do the numbers say about those tax cuts that are either irresponsibly large or laughably small, depending on which Democrat is attacking them? Personal tax payments have declined 19 percent since 2001, and disposable income has thus increased 11 percent. In 2004, U.S. households are expected to receive $300 billion more in income-tax refunds than in 2003 (yes, the budget deficit has gone up, but it is economically inconsequential, and Democrats don’t have any serious plans for reducing it anyway).

The numbers provide some perspective on Bush’s biggest political liability: lagging job growth. Since reaching a high of 6.3 percent in June 2003, the unemployment rate has dipped to 5.6 percent, lower than the average unemployment rate of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

The numbers even like George Bush more than Bill Clinton. According to J. Edward Carter’s calculation, during the first three years of the Bush administration compared with the first three years of the Clinton administration, the inflation rate is lower (1.9 percent versus 2.6 percent), the unemployment rate is lower (5.5 percent versus 6.2 percent), annual productivity growth is higher (4.1 percent versus 0.5 percent), and the increase in non-farm real compensation per hour is higher (+0.8 percent versus -0.3 percent).

Bush should introduce the American public to these numbers. They are among the best friends he has.

Posted by: MJ at March 3, 2004 02:49 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I think one thing that I didn't say on my earlier post on this thread is that I think both you and Josh are right.

Josh is right because Bush and his people have gotten used to 9/11 providing them some cover, and those days have ended. It would've been much better for them if they'd had to confront the jobless recovery situation from the get-go. 9/11 forced them to get lazy -- and think they could just wait out the jobs situation. Now it's really too late to get anything in the pipeline in enough time for it to count. Cocky bastards shot themselves in the foot.

You're right because the upper financier classes have seen a recovery -- so from their point of view, it is morning in America again.

The election will swing on which group is larger -- those who think thiings are hunky dory, or those that don't.

Posted by: Tony Shifflett at March 3, 2004 02:54 PM | PERMALINK

MJ

As Ahnuld noted, people don't care about numbers. People care about their own situation. If they are unemployed, or know friends/family that are unemployed and if they are feeling insecure about their own jobs, then you can quote numbers till you are blue in the face and they're not going to feel any better about things.

The reality is that 2.5 million jobs have gone during Bush's watch. Unless lots and lots of new jobs open up in the next 8 months, Bush will be on the wrong end of the economic issues. Just like his Dad was.

Posted by: jimBOB at March 3, 2004 03:03 PM | PERMALINK

Re MJ's slew of hand-picked stats:

"All I remember about Clinton's stats is I had a job when Clinton was in office."

Total US employment right now is lower than when Bush took office, and barring a huge surge in employment the next six months, will still be lower in November. The last president to preside over a net decline in jobs was Hoover, as in George Hoover W Bush.

Posted by: HooverVille at March 3, 2004 03:03 PM | PERMALINK

Bush is going to lose. You guys are all caught up in Democratic analyses, which are valid, but you're discounting the vast, normally politically apathetic middle out there who are seriously pissed. I'm a libertarian - I have no faith in the State at all and yet my overriding concern right now is to get that lying bastard out of power. He deserves it.

Look at the numbers plummeting Dumbya's handling over the fake "war on terror." People are mad as hell that we're spending a billion dollars a week, minimum in Iraq for nothing, for a lie! Look how many people are dead for no reason. David Kay was the nail in the coffin of Dumbya's reelection.

Anyway, I could rant on, but that's what I'm hearing. I don't see how Bush can win. The independents and libertarians are voting for Kerry. We've had it with the lying, the phony piousness, the violence, the pure wasteful squandering of our money.

ANYONE but Bush.

Posted by: tex at March 3, 2004 03:07 PM | PERMALINK

Ickes or one of the other Kerry agents needs to strike quick on TV and accuse Bush of using 9/11 to enrich his chances for reelection---which he most certainly does in those commercials of his released today.

Get a few of those unhappy, articulate New York relatives of 9/11 victims, put them on camera with comments along the line of..."Tragedies are bad enough to endure; their awful memories should not be opportunities for personal political gain. If President Bush really cares about the consequences of 9/11, if he wants to help the country, if he wants to be above politics, then let him testify at length, in public, before the 9/11 Commission."

Let's see the Bush-Rove reaction.

Posted by: Sam Spade at March 3, 2004 03:09 PM | PERMALINK

Bush = Hoover -- Brilliant!

Watch Kerry's ads. They sold me on Kerry. Can Bush counter them? I don't think so.

Posted by: MattB at March 3, 2004 03:09 PM | PERMALINK

"A tangential economic issue is the fact that we have tons of highly paid IT people that remember the gravy days of the late 90's, and are pissed that those days haven't come back. And man, are they pissed. I know TONS of IT and former sales people in the Northern Virginia area that are PISSED about their situation ..."

If these highly paid IT people are "PISSED" at Bush, rather than at their former employers (for bad business decisions in the late '90s), then they are probably not the type of people who would vote for him anyway. On the other hand, I suspect quite a few of those highly paid IT people, pissed though they might be, do not blame Bush for the recession he inherited.

"If I were he, I'd immediately come out with a worker retraining program and all kinds of educational grants, etc. ... What about business development grants for all these IT people?"

In other words, you'd start spending like a drunken sailor on "feel good" government programs -- the liberal's answer to every problem. What "retraining" do formerly "high paid IT people" need? Assuming that they're technically proficient already, why does the government need to spend tax money "retraining" them? Assuming that they're well educated to begin with, why would you spend tax money educating them further?

Bottom line -- this wasn't Bush's recession and his policies (tax cuts, primarily) have the stock market almost back to 2001 levels, the economy growing rapidly and jobs (finally) being created. With enough advertising and repetition, most of the swing voters will understand those very basic facts.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at March 3, 2004 03:09 PM | PERMALINK

These ads were very weak IMHO. Something they could have run TWO years ago! Not now?

There is a hint of desperation under the surface here.

What positives do they have to point to? None that I can see?

All this media is a waste of money. In fact it may just backfire when what they are saying in the ads strongly contradicts reality and known facts.

Posted by: Young Turk at March 3, 2004 03:09 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think this will work. Morning in America worked because, amongst other things, in 1980 we had hostages and 21% interest rates. But in 2000 we had peace and prosperity. Yes, the slowdown had begun, but it got exponentially worse under the Busheviki.

Posted by: Alice Marshall at March 3, 2004 03:12 PM | PERMALINK

Reagan's "morning in America" resonated deeply for more reasons than just a short-term positive economic outlook. The US had just suffered through 11 years of mediocre economic performance. The post-oil-crisis 1970s were an awful time for the nation's psyche. We were getting beaten in manufacturing by the countries we'd conquered in WW2 (how quickly "made in the USA" went from connotating "state of the art" to "crappy quality"!), we were getting beaten consistently in the olympics by not only the USSR but also East Germany, we couldn't stop inflation OR high unemployment, our cities were defaulting, etc. etc. Add the Iranian hostage crisis, failed rescue mission, the Beriut barracks bombing, the Volker recession with super-stagflation, well, people were feeling real bad about the old US of A.

Then, Volker opened the pipes in late 1983 when inflation finally fell below 5%. Pent-up demand and supply kicked in. Reagan was talking tough to the Soviets. The country was DESPERATE to feel good about itself. Cowboy Reagan was the perfect candidate, even if he was really a rotten president.

In 2004? Let's face it, the country psychology is very different. We haven't just suffered 11 years of a bad economy, only 3. We don't feel like we're falling behind Germany (West and East), Japan, the USSR .. but we do feel threatened by terrorism. A lot of us doubt whether we're safer now than we were on 9/10/01. "Morning in America" is the LAST thing we want to hear. We DON'T think "everything is all better now." We want to hear a candidate who will address the problems we know are real. We want FDR, or Truman.

I predict this line of campaign ads will have a very short life.

Posted by: Moniker at March 3, 2004 03:12 PM | PERMALINK

Rich Lowry dismisses the surplus/deficit question in a cavalier manner. He says, "yes, the budget deficit has gone up, but it is economically inconsequential, and Democrats don’t have any serious plans for reducing it anyway."

Also, that National Review column says nothing about consumer debt. I'm no economist, but that must have some impact on the whole picture.

Posted by: three dots at March 3, 2004 03:13 PM | PERMALINK

If you are happy with the way things are going, then these ads will make you even happier.
My understanding was that these ads are targeted towards the base. So if this is true, the ads will be successful.

Posted by: Ron at March 3, 2004 03:13 PM | PERMALINK

"As Ahnuld noted, people don't care about numbers."


LOL


I guess when the numbers don't prove your point they become irrelevent.


Thx for the pointer MJ, i'll be sure to add that one to my favorites for proper linkage.

You may not resume your two minute hate.

Posted by: ether at March 3, 2004 03:13 PM | PERMALINK

The ads? Pretty schmaltzy stuff, the faux interview with his and his wife in an 'unscripted' moment...priceless.

I wonder if its a matter of time before the fear factor is thrown into his public relations machine, directly or subtly, with the message that everyone should be very scared of what will happen if the 'war prez' ain't re-ellected.

Personally, I'd like to see something innovative, perhaps done by an outside party. If this will be an eight month ad campaign, let's hope they can come up with something more original than the standard fare.

Personally I think introduction of cartoon like spots (along the line of Pearl Jam's Evolution or even South Park) could turn a few heads and get people thinking. Fortunately, Bush and Co. don't seem to posess a single original bone beneath their suits, so don't look for them to be breaking any new ground. Same old same old...

Posted by: forgetting at March 3, 2004 03:14 PM | PERMALINK

Did anyone else notice the odd schedule that Bush is keeping in the war on terrorism?

Just a week ago, the prez told us he could only spare 60 minutes to meet with the 9/11 commission, but yesterday he could squeeze in 80 minutes to chat with reporters in the oval office.

Politics always comes first with this administration.

Posted by: Oregonian at March 3, 2004 03:15 PM | PERMALINK

only white non threatening looking folks in this ad...I guess they know their audience..despite
network attempts to say their is a problems for Dems with black voters.

Posted by: ann at March 3, 2004 03:16 PM | PERMALINK

Oregonian: Well of COURSE he doesn't have more than 1 hour for the 9/11 commission. How else will he conduct 4-hour fact-finding tours of NASCAR races?

Posted by: Moniker at March 3, 2004 03:17 PM | PERMALINK

I do think the best counterattack for MoveOn or someone would be to attack Bush's trustworthiness, which people have come to doubt. An ad that said: "1. Bush said it was urgent to invade Iraq because of WMD's -- no WMD's. 2. Bush said big tax breaks for the rich would create millions of jobs -- no jobs. 3. Bush said would be a uniter not a divider -- has divided the country. When he says something, can you believe it?," would, I think, be powerful. In addition, it could counter both his "Morning in America" and attack ads -- lots of people just won't believe them.

In addition, I don't think it's just a lack of jobs Bush has to worry about. I think it's wage stagnation (or worse) as well. Even those who have jobs are wondering where their raise is.

Posted by: David in NY at March 3, 2004 03:20 PM | PERMALINK

The effectiveness of Bush & Co.'s ads will also be affected by the tone of Kerry & Co.'s ads. The ads Bush started running today are all positive, non-attack ads. As the incumbent, and as a candidate with boatloads of cash, he can afford to run a positive campaign at the outset.

If Kerry "goes negative" right away, lots and lots of "swing voters" will probably get turned off -- polls consistently show that those outside the "political junkie" realm don't much care for mudslinging. I think Kerry (and the 527s that are supporting him) have to be very careful here. They won't, of course, but they should be.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at March 3, 2004 03:24 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Tex.. my sycophantic Dubya worshipping in-laws are staying home this Nov. David Kay's comments definitely started the ball rolling with them..

Then they sort of came back onboard but when they saw him endorsing a consitutional admendment to ban gay marriage they had it.. They dont even agree with gay marriage..

They are my barometer, they do nothing but watch Fox and listen to AM radio..

Other than that I try not to associate with the wingnutters.. ;)

Posted by: sUbversive at March 3, 2004 03:26 PM | PERMALINK

It's certainly the conventional wisdom, Ellis Wyatt, that you don't go negative early. But Bush the First killed Dukakis by going negative, and I think it came quite early (but perhaps not till after the convention). And going negative didn't hurt him a bit. So I day definitively, it depends. If the other side has a real weakness, people may not hold it against you if you point it out.

Posted by: David in NY at March 3, 2004 03:31 PM | PERMALINK

Where can I get some of that stuff Charlie and the other wingnuts are smokin. You can buy my vote for a share of the stash dude.

Posted by: postit at March 3, 2004 03:34 PM | PERMALINK

Somehow I don't see "accountability" as playing as big a role in Bush's campaign this time around. At least, not by Bush.

Posted by: BayMike at March 3, 2004 03:34 PM | PERMALINK

I heard a clip of the Bush ads on NPR, and I was appalled at how lame they were.

Jeez, if that's the best Rove can do, he ought to take about $50 million and, like . . . buy a clue.

Posted by: Charles K at March 3, 2004 03:35 PM | PERMALINK

Ellis Wyatt says
If Kerry "goes negative" right away, lots and lots of "swing voters" will probably get turned off

I was impressed with the Dem candidates, they stuck together well as a block and pounded Bush instead of each other. Of course, I'm not sure they were ever able to differentiate themselves. A lot of people don't seem to be able to tell Kerry's positions from Edwards'.

But the entire Dem primary has been a Bush bashing party. It's a little too late to worry about "going negative" isn't it?

And it seems to me that the position of the base seems to be entirely described by "Anybody But Bush"; if he is going to reach these people, can he not attack Bush?

Posted by: Ron at March 3, 2004 03:36 PM | PERMALINK

Bush says in one ad, "I know _exactly_ where I want to lead this country." Someone should run that alongside the opening of _The Fog of War_ where McNamara uses the same emphasis.

Posted by: rilkefan at March 3, 2004 03:37 PM | PERMALINK

the Bushco negative ads are later this week
there are no swing voters.
the differences between the parties and the candidates are clear
The wait for tomorrow guy versus the real deal

Posted by: ed at March 3, 2004 03:38 PM | PERMALINK

"Non-farm productivity — a crucial indicator of economic efficiency that corresponds over the long term with higher wages and greater national wealth — grew at a healthy 4.2 percent rate in 2003. During Bush’s first three years in office, productivity has been increasing at a 4.1 percent annual rate, the best start to any Presidential term in roughly 50 years"

Unfortunately, those productivity numbers, like the low inflation numbers, are not favorable to Bush. Instead, they point to slack and excess capacity in the economy (Real GDP growth lagged productivity growth in 2001 and 2002). The government can't do much in the short-term about productivity growth; but it can do in the short term affect the demand side. But, instead of producing a budget that effectively would stimulate the economy, we got tax cut so slanted towards the high end of wealth & income that we didn't see much stimulative bang for the buck. The decline in the size of the employed population is an indication of this administration's poor record, and inability to grow the economy at its true potential.

This will also have a long-term consequence; the Fed has kept interest rates so low for so long that it has bled through to the housing market, creating yet another asset-price bubble. But hey, that won't get pricked until well after the election, so who cares, right?

"yes, the budget deficit has gone up, but it is economically inconsequential"

5% of GDP is economically inconsequential? Remember, a deficit is just deferred taxes.

So go ahead and campaign on the RNC spin economic numbers. I'll look forward to Nobel Laureates Bob Solow and Joe Stiglitz shredding 'em, while Americans who are nervous about their job situation vote with their ATM card.

Remember folks - Median Real GDP growth is higher under Democratic presidents, and deficits (as %age of GDP) and unemployment are lower.


Posted by: Tom at March 3, 2004 03:38 PM | PERMALINK

There is another difference between "morning in America" and "America is turning the corner": "morning' is now; the present; it's actually happening. "Turning the corner" is in some distant future. Maybe it will happen, maybe it won't. I agree with those who say it is a bad commercial. A sitting president should not have to ask the electorate to wait while we "turn the corner".

I wonder what happened to "steady leadership in a time of turmoil(?)"-- I can't remember the last word. I think that's a much better motto although you'd think after four years we would have less turmoil rather than more.

Posted by: Sasha at March 3, 2004 03:40 PM | PERMALINK

I just ate so will wait a few hours before checking out the ads. But, "Today America Is Turning A Corner"? Did anyone else immediately conjure a vision of Wiley Coyote? Ridicule being the political kiss-of-death, I pray (and I mean Mel Gibson-like pray) that Kerry's people see that opening, and take their shot in response ads.

Posted by: Sovereign Eye at March 3, 2004 03:42 PM | PERMALINK

Shouldn't it be, "MOURNING in America?"

Posted by: justasking at March 3, 2004 03:47 PM | PERMALINK

Is history repeating itself?

As it became apparent that the [recession] was more than a temporary downturn, President [Bush] appointed [Karl Rove] to his three-member presidential Emergency Committee for Employment. "It was really a public relations committee, " [Rove] recalled. [Bush’s] refusal to countenance "socialist" ideas such as social security and public works programs left the committee with few options. "We encouraged various ways of spreading employment: through reduced daily and weekly schedules, shorter shifts, alternating shifts and rotation of days off...We urged employers to find personnel willing to go on furlough without pay; to disclose duplication of wage earners in the same family, as a measure of spreading wages; to maintain lists for preferential employment and to determine the adequacy of part-time wages." In the end, however, [Karl Rove]realized, "These efforts were all ineffective. Particularly unsound was the share-the-work idea, which put the onus of sacrifice on the shoulders of the wage earner instead of the employer." Advertisers and businesses offered empty slogans such as "Be patriotic and spend money," "Spend ten cents more each day and help drive hard times away," or "Help the jobless by doing your Christmas shopping now." As the economy careened into deeper and deeper trouble, newspapers resorted to desperate cheerleading. "Optimism Gains as U.S. Speeds Jobless Relief," read one headline. "[Bush's] Drive to Aid Jobless Shows Results," read another. "President Declares Voluntary Cooperation of Industry Will Solve Problems."

[Karl Rove] joined [Bush’s] doomed campaign for reelection. He helped line up experts to sing [Bush’s] praises, including a pair of Yale economists who predicted the economy was now on a "sound foundation" and "the run of the dollar had been stopped." He formed a "Non-Partisan Fact-Finding Committee" which issued a poll showing [Bush] trouncing his opponent, [Kerry]. Outside the circle of businessmen and their sycophants, however, no one believed a word of it. The election of [Kerry] brought new experts into power, with new and grandiose ideas about what could and should be done to secure the general welfare. For [Bush] and the old guard, it was the end of an era and everything that they believed in, but for [Karl Rove] and the propaganda industry, business was booming like never before.

Of course the year is 1932 and you need to replace [recession] with depression, [Bush] with Hoover, [Karl Rove] with Edward Bernays and [Kerry] with Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Taken from this book, pages 51,52.

Bush is definitely like Hoover, and not just because he SUCKS!

Posted by: Thumb at March 3, 2004 03:49 PM | PERMALINK

I can hardly wait for W to ask, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?"

Posted by: xfrosch at March 3, 2004 03:49 PM | PERMALINK

Tony Shifflett:

Charlie, you need to remember that once people have made a lot of money, they don't forget it. Some people have had their income sliced IN HALF over the last six years or so. And that hurts, and they're not forgiving types. It's the economy stupid. Remember that phrase?"

Yes, I do - that's why we have 8 months to pound home the numbers Lowry pointed out - and hopefully the economy is even better come November.

David in NY:

"1. Bush said it was urgent to invade Iraq because of WMD's -- no WMD's."

Yet.

"2. Bush said big tax breaks for the rich would create millions of jobs -- no jobs."

Maybe if we hadn't had all those tax cuts and government spending, there would have been even MORE jobs lost? Or, maybe you should re-think NAFTA now? Maybe it's time for Plan B - reinstitute the draft and invade Iran or Syria, defend Taiwan or South Korea?

"3. Bush said would be a uniter not a divider -- has divided the country."

Of course, rolling over and playing dead when judicial activists / yahoo mayors shoot first - that's you're definition of a "uniter"?!

"In addition, I don't think it's just a lack of jobs Bush has to worry about. I think it's wage stagnation (or worse) as well. Even those who have jobs are wondering where their raise is."

I've gotten every raise and bonus except for the one immediately following 9-11. Just sold my home this past year for a tidy little profit. At least I'm doing my part to contribute to the economic recovery : )

postit:

"Where can I get some of that stuff Charlie and the other wingnuts are smokin. You can buy my vote for a share of the stash dude."

I don't smoke, but if you really will vote for GWB, I will gladly let you know from where (actually Whom) I get my hope.

Posted by: Charlie at March 3, 2004 03:50 PM | PERMALINK

Great campaign slogan:

Don't blame us , we did not know.

Posted by: john at March 3, 2004 03:51 PM | PERMALINK

Bush = Hoover -- Brilliant!

If the current President's father was President George Herbert Walker Bush, do we have President George "Herbert Hoover" Bush now?

(Yes, I know, it's a very unfair thing to say.)

Posted by: J D Eisenberg at March 3, 2004 03:57 PM | PERMALINK
They said Saddam had WMDs. He didn't. They said he was in league with Osama bin Laden. He wasn't. They predicted that no major postwar insurgency in Iraq would occur. It did. They said there would be a wave of pro-Americanism in the Middle East and the world if the United States acted boldly and unilaterally. Instead, there was a regional and global wave of anti-Americanism.

So concludes former neoconservative writer Michael Lind, writing about the neocon movement in the February 23 issue of The Nation.

That would be a pretty good ad, don't you agree?

Posted by: Linkmeister at March 3, 2004 03:59 PM | PERMALINK

Okay it's "Steady leadership in times of change" and it's alive and well and on his website. I don't actually watch TV so I rarely get to see commercials. Still, "turning the corner" has such a loser ring to it.

Having just read his commercial I have to add, does he take responsibility for anything? anything at all?

Posted by: Sasha at March 3, 2004 04:05 PM | PERMALINK

Campaign slogan:

Dog ate my homework.

Dog ate my economic recovery.

Dog ate my suprlus.

I ate a pretzel.

It's all Clinton's fault.

Posted by: ch_noir at March 3, 2004 04:12 PM | PERMALINK

If the current President's father was President George Herbert Walker Bush, do we have President George "Herbert Hoover" Bush now?

During the 1992 campaign, Tom Harkin used the phrase to refer to the old man.

Maybe he had chosen the wrong Bush?

Posted by: rachelrachel at March 3, 2004 04:16 PM | PERMALINK

does anyone else think that Laura B. looks like a botox junkie?

I don't think these ads will work either. I expect to see Clinton make some MAJOR noise about Shrub's claims about the state of the economy when he left office...

and the whole "I know where I want to take this country" mantra, when coming from an incumbent, just begs the question...."Where is that...and why aren't we there yet?"

Posted by: paul lukasiak at March 3, 2004 04:18 PM | PERMALINK

I'll bet one campaign slogan Bush does NOT use is:

"I will restore honor [or honesty] and integrity to the white house."

But perhaps Kerry should ....

Posted by: Moniker at March 3, 2004 04:22 PM | PERMALINK

I hope you're right, Cal. But I think I come down closer to Josh Marshall's position; the goal of these ads is to turn our attention away from anything bad that's happened, or any specific policies undertaken by the Administration. Instead, we get heartfelt declarations positive sound-bites about results no one could possibly object to; Americans safe and able to find a job.

Whether this tack can work depends in no small part on whether Kerry can convince many voters to compare these warm and fuzzy images to the record, and also, whether Kerry can convincingly evoke warm and fuzzy visions of what America would be like under his leadership. I'm waiting, with some trepidation, to see if he can do it.

Posted by: TedL at March 3, 2004 04:22 PM | PERMALINK

The current polls showing Kerry defeating Bush by 10% points will hold to election probably getting worse for Bush because he has been un-masked as a liar that has caused necessary death, thus also, subconsciously, a murderer. Once credibility is lost, especially on matters of life and death, there is no restoring it. Everything Bush says he will say as a liar, and a dangerous liar, at that. His words will be increasingly derided and invoke disgust. His sickly sweet ads will be mocked, and the Democrats should help his demise along by countering each of his ads with the truth of the matter making it all so apparent to the electorate that they are being played again for fools. And let's not have a slow escalation words to November. Give'em both barrels right now. The Democratic campaign should be bluntly pin liar on him immediately in no uncertain terms, and do so at his every utterance. "The Mendacity!!"

Posted by: BigDaddy at March 3, 2004 04:41 PM | PERMALINK

These ads are horrible. Too many cooks in the kitchen have dumbed em down beyond impact (tho GOP base is pretty dumb).

Posted by: Jay Leno at March 3, 2004 04:42 PM | PERMALINK

Here's an idea, what if the Kerry campaign decides not to run any ads for say six months? No seriously, let him pull a reverse pre-emptive strike.

With only one candidate running ads, it won't take long before the uninformed asked what gives. Most people view political ads as propaganda anyhow, so why not coast, store up money, and wait until Bush realizes he's being stiffed or it's late enough in the campaign for the Kerry campaign to actually compete on a cash basis.

There will be buzz about the democratic nominee up until the convention most likely, so why invest in bells and whistles? One thing in Kerry's advantage that, as a lame duck senator, he is free to travel to crucial states. Bush, on the other hand, has to keep up the facade of ruling the free world, as he has done since he set foot in the white house.

Shades of brilliance? Tilting at windmills?

Feel free to shoot me down.

Posted by: forgetting at March 3, 2004 04:45 PM | PERMALINK

It's not just the next 8 months.
For many many IT industry people, it's like 18 months ago. People understand that there's a business cycle. People understand that layoffs happen. They understand that 9/11 had a serious impact.
But they don't understand the absolute refusal to do anything about the H1B problem. The legalization of illegal immigration. The refusal to do one damn thing to even look like they're trying to clean up corporate corruption. The consistent refusal to extend unemployment benefits. The push for personal bankruptcy reform. The refusal to do anything about health care. (when I was laid off, COBRA was $800/mo. my unemployment wouldn't cut it).

Of course they're pissed. Folks have sat this employment depression out, waiting for things to get better, and waited, and lost their houses, had families broken up, watched their resumes look less and less attractive as they took lower paying jobs often in different fields. Their savings evaporated. They went into debt. They've filed for bankruptcy. They've gotten new jobs, then watched their new employer go belly up within the first few weeks.

Of course they're pissed. Getting these guys jobs NOW isn't going to fix the fact that they lost their house. OR that they had to file for bankruptcy. Or that they lost their family. Or that they came down with an illness while they were uninsured (even if they're lucky enough to get back into the workforce, with insurance - it's a pre-existing condition).

Of course they're pissed.

Posted by: Occam's Cuisinart at March 3, 2004 04:45 PM | PERMALINK

"Steady leadership in times of change",

I prefer Atrios' version:
"Don't change horsemen, mid-apocalypse."

Posted by: ch2 at March 3, 2004 04:48 PM | PERMALINK


The reason "productivity" is up is because one person is now doing extra work that used to be handled by a colleague who's since been laid off.

And the lucky retained worker isn't getting paid for his extra efforts.

Republicans define "economic growth" as "the increase in the CEO's compensation package more than made up for the loss in income of the 3,000 people he laid off".

And deficits do matter. Ask an Argentinian. When the government hyperinflates the currency to get out of debt, the ordinary wage-earneer can pretty much kiss the value of his investments goodbye.

Debt is slavery. At the individual level, and at the national level.

Posted by: Buzzerman at March 3, 2004 04:53 PM | PERMALINK

This ad is all about the past and is glaringly silent in acklowledging the ongoing challenges faced by the US in the next decade. It is essentially claiming that things are going well despite difficult times and that the Chimp is to thank for that.

I think we are witnessing the limitations of the Lie Machine...they cannot rewrite history or continue to pretend that everythings peachy, no matter how much money they have to repeat this fiction over and over. They're drunk on power and overconfident in their ability to create their own reality. I have to say this is a great ad, from a Democrat's perspective!

Posted by: Vesicle Trafficker at March 3, 2004 05:02 PM | PERMALINK

Not many trolls here to defend the pResident on his lame ads,do we sense a trend here?

Posted by: smalfish at March 3, 2004 05:02 PM | PERMALINK

With the exception of those who live off of trust funds, there are exactly 2 economic statistics that matter to Americans:

1) Jobs
2) Income growth

The rest is hot air (gee, I'm *so* excited that Dell increased their profit margin by outsourcing to India! Whopee for the expanding economy!), and $130 million isn't going to make Bush's pile of s*it smell like roast beef.

Posted by: Jimmy Jazz at March 3, 2004 05:12 PM | PERMALINK

Jimmy;

Well put! I must admit that it is becoming enjoyable to watch Bush try to swat the flies away from his steaming pile...

Posted by: Vesicle Trafficker at March 3, 2004 05:23 PM | PERMALINK

The narrator sounds like the guy who use to do the voice overs for all the best Dem ads. I can't remember his name, now, but I'll never forget that voice. Is he a Republican now? Does anyone know who I'm talking about?

Posted by: patriotboy at March 3, 2004 05:27 PM | PERMALINK

"With the exception of those who live off of trust funds, there are exactly 2 economic statistics that matter to Americans:"

Uhh high taxes ARE major point too,and I'm not just talking about income taxes.I'm talking about payroll taxes,and all the other fees we have to put up with.Luckily I dont have to put up with payroll ripoffs I just pay income tax as I'm self-employed,but when I was employed I hated looking at my paycheck and see the taxes I was paying every week.Those numbers NEVER went down either and I would bet not a small wager that those figures havent changed with this so called "tax cut"

Posted by: smalfish at March 3, 2004 05:32 PM | PERMALINK

if Bush knows what to do --why doesn't he do it

I guess it's kind of like the Nixon plan for peace in Viet Nam...always a secret

Posted by: ad at March 3, 2004 05:36 PM | PERMALINK

smalfish: taxes aren't an "economic statistic", but your point is taken. Krugman just blew the whistle on Greenspan's shell game with SS taxes, and people already *know* that the rich are getting richer at the expense of the middle class, even before the Dems started harping on it. Check any poll: only about 30% agree that Bush "cares about people like them". Nobody turns down tax cuts, but as states jack their fees and state income taxes up to cover the shortfall, the middle class is the group that feels the squeeze and Bush even loses them on the tax issue.

But David Kay will be remembered as the man that blew a whole in Chimpy's re-election.

Posted by: Jimmy Jazz at March 3, 2004 05:40 PM | PERMALINK

I think that Bush will lose because he has lost the middle class. The middle class votes and is mad as hell about jobs. IT is always a bad idea to piss off the middle class in favor of corporate aritos if you want to get reelected.

Posted by: HI at March 3, 2004 05:49 PM | PERMALINK

How long will we have to wait for Bush to start offering us a chicken in every pot?

Posted by: M. Tullius at March 3, 2004 05:58 PM | PERMALINK


As mich as I'd like to join in the chirpy reports that Bush is dead, one must remember that he's got a formidable array of backup systems:

1. Osama
2. Another 9/11
3. Diebold

Are the Democrats savvy enough to pre-empt all of the above?

Posted by: Buzzerman at March 3, 2004 06:00 PM | PERMALINK

Taxes are a part of it, and if Kerry puts forward a tax package better for the average person (not difficult), Bush will be in serious trouble...

The two statistics that matter ARE # of jobs and wage levels..those are dependant on one another, of course. But that's not just for personal gain. Without people making money and spending money, the American consumer economy can't keep on chugging along.

Supply-side economics? Don't make me laugh. Reality is Demand-side economics.

Bush administration, out of touch, out of their league, and out of time. That's how it works...

Posted by: Karmakin at March 3, 2004 06:07 PM | PERMALINK

As mich as I'd like to join in the chirpy reports that Bush is dead, one must remember that he's got a formidable array of backup systems:

1. Osama
2. Another 9/11
3. Diebold

He also has things he can't control coming up:

1. The Plame investigation
2. The 9/11 investigation
3. The Senate document theft investigation (was the White House counsel involved)

Posted by: patriotboy at March 3, 2004 06:13 PM | PERMALINK

"He also has things he can't control coming up:"

Dont forget the senate investigation into intel misdeeds.thats comming like a freighttrain.

Posted by: smalfish at March 3, 2004 06:24 PM | PERMALINK

"Today America is turning the corner"

It reminds me of the German idiom "to bring someone around the corner," which means to "bump him off."

Posted by: pmacfar at March 3, 2004 07:03 PM | PERMALINK

"Two Hummers in every 3-car garage."

Posted by: The Dark Avenger at March 3, 2004 07:43 PM | PERMALINK

Steady leadership and a homo loving opponent.

Posted by: obe at March 3, 2004 07:57 PM | PERMALINK

The biggest difference between the Reagan and Bush ads is that Reagan was able to point to actual accomplishments (more jobs than ever before, interest rates cut in half, etc., etc.). He could refer indirectly to the negatives of 1980 by stating directly the positives that had turned them around on his watch.

Bush can't do that -- all he can really point to is the downsides of 2000 and since (dot.com bust, 9/11), but he doesn't have anything to point to that lets him say "and I fixed it." All he can offer is a vague "America is turning the corner," which doesn't really have the same impact and might lead people to think "OK, but we're not turning in the right direction, and we're not turning fast enough."

Posted by: Dan at March 3, 2004 08:02 PM | PERMALINK

I'd just like to say that I think all these comparisons of Bush to Hoover are really unfair - to Hoover. Hoover was an accomplished guy and by all accounts, pretty honest. He didn't have a clue about how to handle the Depression, but he was a decent human being who, in later years, did a good deal of useful public service.

Posted by: jimBOB at March 3, 2004 08:26 PM | PERMALINK

What strikes me about the Bush ads is their complete vacancy of content. Not only are there no numbers, there's nothing, and I mean nothing, in terms of a case for Bush. They remind me of those stylized ads where you scarcely know what the product is at the end, or why you should buy it, except that it is somehow supposed to make you feel cool.

In contrast, the Morning in America ad is filled to the brim with a VERY convincing case for Reagan, and for extending his tenure.

It really as if the Bush team just took the mood music and bright visuals from the Morning in America ad and dispensed with everything else, as though that would suffice in creating the same effect in the voters.

They are astonishingly stupid in design and execution, cobbled together, but at great expense, by apes instead of men. They treat voters like idiots -- not so very different though from how the Bush administration has treated the American people for the last four years.

Posted by: frankly0 at March 3, 2004 08:49 PM | PERMALINK


For a name for the advertising campaign, how about--

"It's twilight in America."

or

"It's midnight in America."

Posted by: Bill Thomas at March 3, 2004 08:52 PM | PERMALINK

Did anyone notice the key difference in content of the two ads? Reagan's pointed to specific economic numbers that improved and they related to everyday lives. Why didn't Bush's ads do that? Very easy, the only numbers he has in his favor are GDP growth . . .

Posted by: Bret at March 3, 2004 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

Tony -- what is it you want Bush to do? Living in Austin, and being a part of that Internet boom, there were lots of us, wondering when this was all gonna go wrong!

And it did --- Before Bush went into office, I kept asking, "where is the profit to this?" Interesting..... yes, I worked with those folks making tons of money... and mostly, they didn't understand the concept of profit... it was all about business plan, finding the investors, stock options and going public....

I know, I was there..... closer to all of it than I now want to admit. Call me embarassed, that we allowed this to get so out of hand.

Bush didn't set that high salaries. Bush didn't lose those big salaries. The business cycle of supply and demand determined those factors.

Sorry, I know those folks with those inflated salaries..... and how sad they all now are, that they didn't save some of that money, and now, their house is foreclosed. Sorry, that ain't Bush's fault. That's a lack of not, as we older folks say, "saving for a rainy day."

And I cautioned them then, but I refuse to say, "I told you so."

Posted by: Just Me at March 4, 2004 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

"'1. Bush said it was urgent to invade Iraq because of WMD's -- no WMD's.'

"Yet."

He's right, you know. I have it on good authority (I'm not saying from Whom ) that Saddam Hussein is even now plotting to sneak back into the country with cylinders of uranium hexafluoride concealed in his nightshirt, dig up his secret stash of balsa wood gliders and aluminium tubes, and create an unmanned drone that will explode a dirty bomb over Wrigley Field.

"Yet" is a good answer. It will serve for almost any purpose. "We have not seen the President's promised job creation." "Yet." "Bush has not released his service record as he promised." "Yet." "Bush hasn't visited the funeral of anyone killed in his invasion of Iraq." "Yet." "Bush has shown no sign whatever of competence, honesty, or the ability to read a speech without sounding as though he'd swallowed a handful of Ativans a half hour before stepping up to the microphone." "Yet."

Bush hasn't been kicked out of the office he never earned in the first place.

Yet.

Posted by: Ernest Tomlinson at March 4, 2004 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe it's just a me thing...

But I am thinking that Bush really does not want to win.

No, not a joke or anything--think on it. Why come up with the announcements his has over the past six months. I mean, when back when he was touring Africa for a (lost plot) cause, he was pointedly asked questions about his State of the Union speech, and the mysterious entry regarding "YellowCake" or whatever. The simple thing to do then was to face the matter head-on and say I believed it a pertinent issue and had it placed in the State of the Union speech "period." Everyone knows that he is not an expert and that acting on gut instinct (at times) is a fair call.

No, instead we saw the shifting of feet, followed by finger pointing. It's someone else’s fault, not mine.

Then there are the myriad of gaffs which followed, with the last few resonating loudly to the issue at hand -- he doesn't want to become re-elected...

The new immigration proposal--hello, Mr. Pres, is anyone really home on this...

I will make my military record fully available--only after I have it classified (for the sake of National Security of course)...

My administration has given the 9/11 commission extraordinary access--To what all watching must ask???

Forget the space station and all of the work, which has gone into that project. Forget about the space shuttles, they are passé. Let's forego all that and instead cast our sights on Mars...--cheap talking Presidents, please take you place as being first in line on this one.

And now, let's raise to the forefront an issue of small consequence and make it into a national debate, hell, let's even amend the constitution on it. --- The only ones benefiting from this discussion are the opportunists who are pushing the gay rights issue...

(Sorry folks, I have no feeling one way are another about these folks--it's their bag and thought I personally think it is wrong I am not here to judge or pass judgment. But know that this is not about read and visible discrimination as ethnic nationalities or women suffered in past years. This is one deals with, and is wholly about a "chosen path.")

A serious person is needed now. Bush is not being sincere, or serious. Actions speak far louder than words, and commercials no matter how positive, cannot drown out that kind of noise...

Posted by: PK at March 4, 2004 02:30 AM | PERMALINK

Take a look at this in-depth commentary on the Bush ad campaign, and what Kerry has to do to beat back the Bush assault:

http://worldonfire.typepad.com/world_on_fire/

Posted by: rickfman at March 4, 2004 02:42 AM | PERMALINK

Saying that we have been through some tough times, but are turning the corner, is not a very positive message, and it serves the purpose of drawing attention to the failures.

Posted by: Bob H at March 4, 2004 06:15 AM | PERMALINK

Dollar Hits 2004 Highs on Jobs Outlook

Isn't it just as likely that the $ is responding to the growing likelihood of grownup management of the American economy starting next January?

Posted by: Bob H at March 4, 2004 06:17 AM | PERMALINK

Fallen on hard times - but it feels good to know
That milk and honey's just around the bend.
Running on bad lines - we'd better run as we go,
Tear up, tear up the overdraft again.

Oh, dear Prime Minister - it's all such a mess.
Go right ahead and pull the rotten tooth.
Oh, Mr. President - you've been put to the test.
Come clean, for once, and hit us with the truth.

Looking for sunshine - oh but it's black and it's cold
Yet, you say that milk and honey's just round the bend.
Giving us a hard time, my friends
Handing us the same line again.

Fallen on hard times - and there's nowhere to hide
Now they've re - possessed the Rolls Royce and the mink.

Turning on the peace sign - and it's back to the wood.
Soon there will be raised a holy stink.

Somebody wake me. I've been sleeping too long.
Oh, I don't have to take this lying down.
You can keep your promises. Shove `em where they belong.
Don't ask me to the party - won't be around.

Jethro Tull: "Fallen On Hard Times"

Posted by: otmar at March 4, 2004 06:19 AM | PERMALINK

"What strikes me about the Bush ads is their complete vacancy of content. Not only are there no numbers, there's nothing, and I mean nothing, in terms of a case for Bush. They remind me of those stylized ads where you scarcely know what the product is at the end, or why you should buy it, except that it is somehow supposed to make you feel cool."

Yeah, they have that very "Ask your doctor about Bush" ads that never get around to explaining what Bush is supposed to treat. Whereas the Kerry ads explain that if you get a four-hour erection, it's not normal.

Headline in today's NY Daily News: Outrage over Bush 9/11 ads. Whoops!

Posted by: Mr Happy at March 4, 2004 07:24 AM | PERMALINK

That the Bush people would use 9/11 in their new ad campaign makes me sick. Sort of like putting his arm around a fire fighter, using him for a photo opportunity, and then cutting funds for emergency response equipment.

Will America wake up? This whole campaign is based on lies. Just tell them what they want to hear.

Posted by: Keith at March 4, 2004 07:25 AM | PERMALINK

September 11 fundamentally changed our public policy in many important ways, and I think it's vital that the next president recognize that."
Karen Hughes---trying to justify smoldering trade tower images in the new Bush TV ads---on Good Morning, America

Oh, Dianne, Dianne, why didn't you reply, 'Do you mean to say that President Bush doesn't recognize that yet?'

Posted by: Sam Spade at March 4, 2004 08:36 AM | PERMALINK

I really, really hope Bush goes with the message Ellis outlined way above:

Out of work? Working double hours at half pay?

Tough luck. If you are too stupid to help yourself there is nothing Bush can do.

Vote Bush!

Posted by: Tripp at March 4, 2004 08:46 AM | PERMALINK

On a related note, my mother was watching the local news on ABC this morning and they did a segment about the upcoming ad barrage we are about to get with Bush v. Kerry. Oddly enough, they showed a small segment from a Bush ad, but for Kerry - nothing -- although they were generous enough to mention him by name (big woop!). Nice of them to give Bush a free ad. Aren't they obligated to give Kerry equal time?

Posted by: Shelley at March 4, 2004 08:51 AM | PERMALINK

I think that Charlie's response to my proposed ad on Bush's lack of trustworthiness demonstrates the power of the proposal. Charlie's responses concede that Bush was not telling the truth -- that events have not turned out the way he claimed they would. So we win on the all-important question whether Bush is trustworthy.

The only defense Charlie can mount is that Bush might someday turn out to be right, or that although he was wrong, Democrats might have been worse. Or that he was justified in not doing what he said he would because liberals are really bad. These do not respond to the charge of untrustworthiness and are, as pointed out above, absurdly weak.

So get with the program. Bush is not trustworthy. Recent polls show most people suspect this already.

Posted by: David in NY at March 4, 2004 08:55 AM | PERMALINK

Hey MJ,


MJ quotes:"Rich Lowry of National Review sites some stats:

Lowry: "PRESIDENT BUSH is taking a beating on the economy, partly because he has failed to realize the power of numbers. ...He must tout his numbers."


Lies, damn lies and statistics: let's see which these are.


Lowry: "The numbers speak of strong overall economic growth.


The reader can decide for themself what the numbers 'say'.


Lowry: "The gross domestic product — the figure for the total output economy — grew at an 8.2 percent rate in the third quarter of 2003, and at a 4 percent rate in the fourth quarter.


The GDP numbers were fudged. See hedonics!


Lowry: "The GDP is forecast to grow at a 4.5 percent rate in 2004.


'Forecasts' are just more propaganda, not facts.


Lowry: "As economist J. Edward Carter writes: “For the third consecutive year, the U.S. economy is poised to grow faster than most other industrialized economies. France, Germany and Japan, for instance, are not expected to grow even half as fast as the United States.”


Economist Akerlof has also said of the Bush economic policies, they are 'a form of looting' and they're 'the worst in our 200-year history'.

Pick a group of economists and you can get any number of opinions of how things are going.


Lowry: "The numbers indicate an economy constantly finding new and better ways to work.


Enough with the conclusion-drawing, let's just see the numbers.


Lowry: "Non-farm productivity — a crucial indicator of economic efficiency that corresponds over the long term with higher wages and greater national wealth — grew at a healthy 4.2 percent rate in 2003. During Bush’s first three years in office, productivity has been increasing at a 4.1 percent annual rate, the best start to any Presidential term in roughly 50 years."


What exactly did Bush contribute to cause that productivity gain? Nada. Employers are/were using more computing power and laying off some workers while forcing others to do more more more.


Lowry: "The numbers highlight a booming housing market. The rate of home ownership hit 68.6 percent during the past three months of 2003, an all-time high.


That does indeed look good. I wonder how they rigged those numbers. :-)


Lowry: "Sales for new and existing homes were also at all-time highs last year. Housing starts have jumped 26 percent since 2001, and the 30-year fixed mortgage rate has dropped 20 percent, from 7.06 percent to 5.66 percent.

Aah, the lower interest rates. And, those were caused by a strong economy? No, they were caused by a disastrous economy where no businesses wanted to borrow money and the rates dropped like a rock. That housing starts and sales should increase during such a time only indicates there are some people with jobs who can afford them at the lower interest rates, but it doesn't indicate how the unemployed or under-employed are doing and it doesn't tell us how household debt in general is doing.


Lowry: "The numbers tell of bustling activity all around.


"All around"? The IT industry busted, remember the dot com bust, and it hasn't come back yet. Much of our industrial and some white collar employment is headed out of the country, so what all-around is he talking about?


Lowry: "Manufacturing production has increased 2.3 percent since January 2003.


I guess when you're recovering from a recession this can happen. But, is anyone really indicating the manufacturing sector of our economy is in terrific shape, the next great boom for America?


Lowry: "There was a 10 percent increase in equipment and software spending in the fourth quarter of 2003, the third consecutive quarter of strong growth in such investment."


Were the software spending numbers fudged like the computer-sales numbers in the calculation of GDP?
After all the other lies of this admin. it's hard to see any number and not wonder if it's just another lie.


Lowry: "In January, retail sales were up a robust 5.8 percent over a year earlier. Profits among companies that are part of the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index increased by 26 percent in the fourth quarter of 2003."


Is this a reflection of Christmas and post-christmas sales of December and January?

Do Americans really care what the profits are?
I guess we'll have to wait for the election to see how satisfied or dissatisfied the electorate is.


Lowry: "The numbers trumpet a stock market that has recovered from the Clinton era bubble.

"Recovered from the Clinton era bubble" is a very curious phrase. It seems to indicate that the growing stock market of the '90s was somehow a bad thing and we had to 'recover' from it by creating a recession. Does this mean Bush wanted to have a recession? Weird stuff.


Lowry: "Since the trough of October 2002, the stock market’s value has increased by more than $4 trillion. The market capitalization of the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ has grown roughly 40 percent since October of 2002."


Where does it stand relative to Jan 2000, when the Fed started raising interest rates and pushing the economy into the toilet?


Lowry: "What do the numbers say about those tax cuts that are either irresponsibly large or laughably small, depending on which Democrat is attacking them?


I don't recall any Dem. saying the tax cuts were too small.


Lowry: "Personal tax payments have declined 19 percent since 2001, and disposable income has thus increased 11 percent. In 2004, U.S. households are expected to receive $300 billion more in income-tax refunds than in 2003 (yes, the budget deficit has gone up, but it is economically inconsequential, and Democrats don’t have any serious plans for reducing it anyway)."


In the aggregate Bill Gates and other rich people are doing great. What's the median tax cut and refund?

Lowry: "The numbers provide some perspective on Bush’s biggest political liability: lagging job growth. Since reaching a high of 6.3 percent in June 2003, the unemployment rate has dipped to 5.6 percent, lower than the average unemployment rate of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s."

Again, an average can be very misleading. The median number is better. During the 1990s there was true economic growth and the unemployment rate dipped a bit. Even during Carter's time the unemployment rate dipped to something like 4.25% until the OPEC oil price hikes changed everything. But, the Conservative economists, at least since the 1980s, have had an idea that there SHOULD be about 6% unemployment, to keep those who are employed from feeling free to ask for a raise and causing inflation. Once W was elected the unemployment rate went right up to about 6% and stayed near that. It seems quite intentional. Has any Conservative repudiated that economic idea?


Lowry: "The numbers even like George Bush more than Bill Clinton.


This is rather audacious and outlandish. It's simply ridiculous.


Lowry: "According to J. Edward Carter’s calculation, during the first three years of the Bush administration compared with the first three years of the Clinton administration, the inflation rate is lower (1.9 percent versus 2.6 percent), the unemployment rate is lower (5.5 percent versus 6.2 percent), annual productivity growth is higher (4.1 percent versus 0.5 percent), and the increase in non-farm real compensation per hour is higher (+0.8 percent versus -0.3 percent)."

Lower inflation because the Fed has kept interest rates low and there's no job growth, no pressure on employers to offer higher wages, thus no inflation.

That the unemployment rate should be lower is awfully peculiar. I'll have to review those stats to see what they're doing to skew them.

That annual productivity rate should be higher now only indicates that those sitll working are doing the jobs of themselves and also of the one or two who were laid off. It's not improved productivity from use of computers or anything else truly magnificent.


MJ: "Bush should introduce the American public to these numbers. They are among the best friends he has."
Posted by MJ at March 3, 2004 02:49 PM | PERMALINK


Lies have always been his friends.


--------------------------

Tony writes: "Kevin, ...
You're right because the upper financier classes have seen a recovery -- so from their point of view, it is morning in America again.

The election will swing on which group is larger -- those who think thiings are hunky dory, or those that don't."
Posted by Tony Shifflett at March 3, 2004 02:54 PM | PERMALINK


Ahmen.

Posted by: MarkH at March 4, 2004 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

"That the unemployment rate should be lower is awfully peculiar. I'll have to review those stats to see what they're doing to skew them."

That would be people abandoning their job searches, which makes them ineligible for jobless benefits. They then "disappear" from the statistics the government keeps.

Posted by: D McGinty at March 4, 2004 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Ickes or one of the other Kerry agents needs to strike quick on TV and accuse Bush of using 9/11 to enrich his chances for reelection---which he most certainly does in those commercials of his released today.

9/11 is completely within bounds for the President and one of the few things he has going for him. The same would be true for Hillary Clinton or Schumer in their next campaigns. How you handle a crisis is important, should something like it happen again.

If Kerry wants to argue the handling, that's also fair.

Posted by: Chris K at March 4, 2004 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

"What strikes me about the Bush ads is their complete vacancy of content."

i think most folks felt the same way about Bush untill 9/11 saved his rear.
anyone remember "that's my bush" ?

this admin was rustled the apolitical from thier slumber, i have personaly spoken with many people
who'll readily admitt as much. to them iraq never added up and the hampering of the 9/11 investigation speaks loudly.

there is SO MUCH this admin has to side step over the next eight mouths, and as such, i would expect these sort of bland Bush adds to continue rolling out ... if only, once the Dem start slinging mud, for the Rove machine to charge "look america,we're keeping this contest clean" ... just a hunch.

Posted by: tom brown at March 4, 2004 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

I still like the comparisons to Nixon better.

Posted by: Sugar Plum Fairy at March 4, 2004 01:09 PM | PERMALINK

How about an ad that simply shows (if such footage is available) flag draped coffins of Iraqi casualties and some of the wounded from the conflict with the title "Mourning in America".

Posted by: trulib at March 4, 2004 05:28 PM | PERMALINK

I'd make some pithy comments except for one problem:

I do not exist.

I am in my twenty-fifth month of unemployment, no benefits; according to labor statistics I am not "unemployed". I'm certainly not employed; last year I earned a grand total of three thousand dollars.

For comparison, my annual health insurance bills total five thousand dollars.

Oh, I saved for a rainy day. The rainy day came. My savings are depleted, and it's still raining buckets.

My safety net is gone, and to hear the President of the United States talk, I do not exist. "People are poor because they're lazy?"

Until this year, I considered myself a staunch independent. Now, I feel more at risk today than I did on September 12, 2001; I see the country I was born in - the country I have always believed in - on the brink of being transformed into a bankrupt third-world theocratic police state.

In the spring of 2001 I received a check from the U.S. Treasury proudly stamped "Tax Relief for America's Workers". Remember those? Remember that they were factored into the next year's tax return, so they weren't actually giving that money back?

That check was for three hundred dollars.

It wouldn't pay for health insurance for one month for a healthy non-smoker.

I'm ashamed to say I was checking to see whether I'd be of draft age in 2005; not so much from abstract worry as from a genuine fear that a slip would be drawn and I'd be told to report to Basic and issued a faulty rifle.

Those are my personal issues, and I'm fairly sure I'm not alone. I plan to spread the word as far and wide as I can, because I honestly think another four years of current policy will spell the end of the United States of America...

Posted by: Bruce at March 4, 2004 06:32 PM | PERMALINK

Ouch, Bruce.

Posted by: Sandals at March 4, 2004 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

These new ads are straight from Garrison Keilor's Ketchup Advisory Board.

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Even a philosopher gets upset with a toothache.

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Against boredom even the gods contend in vain.

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