But... but... he WON
Kerry supporters are sputtering in disbelief. Immediately following the debate, the weekend "first impression" polls assured them Kerry had won the debate. Of course, Kerry supporters completely ignored the underlying poll questions and responses that suggested Bush easily won on those issues voters would use to actually decide the election. No, Kerry won the glibness contest handily, and that is what mattered. Or so they imagined.
And how they gloated.
Now, a few days later, the same polls that had Bush ahead of Kerry following the conventions, still show Bush in the lead. And pretty much by the same margins too. The Kerry folks are simply astounded.
How utterly unfair that a candidate could "win" the debate, but not pull ahead decisively in the polls!
So, what then does "win" mean, when it comes to the debates? Well, apparently style is no substitute for substance. Consider how poorly Bush handled himself-- staring into the camera as though he was wondering what the question was, grasping for words to complete his thoughts, appearing annoyed at having to put up with mindless inanities. In spite of this weak visual performance, voters somehow connected with his message. He made sense to them, however goofy he may have seemed.
Certainly they did not connect with Kerry's message. The Left has never understood the American mind. To them, it's still Maoist street theatrics and Worker's World Party foaming-mouth rhetoric. The New Left of the late Sixties runs the Democratic party today, and they were trained as Marxists. For the Left, machine propaganda is the weapon of choice.
If you say it loud enough and long enough, people will tend to believe it. Forget reason and logic. Since "the people" are fools, then fool them with words. Make a strong emotional case and hammer the point, over and over.
Wrong war at the wrong place and the wrong time.
Worst economy since Hoover.
Drown out the opposition voice with sound bites-- however irrational in fact-- until the voters are numb.
The problem with the Left, and the Democratic Party today, is they tend to believe their own propaganda. Consequently, they make false assumptions and strategic errors.
So when Americans voted for Reagan in overwhelming numbers in the Eighties, the Left was confused and dismayed. Reagan was a dolt, they assured themselves. How could anyone possibly follow him? Yet traditional Democrats gave Reagan a landslide, because Reagan gave them what they wanted: a stronger America.
Bush is an idiot, they insist today. A mindless puppet of the mysterious corporate cabal, headed by Halliburton. How could anyone possibly follow him? Because Bush gives them what they want: a stronger America.
Americans are not actually stupid. They are capable of collective reasoning and will follow whoever not only makes sense, but speaks to their hearts. While Kerry offers a weaker America, Bush offers strength.
Americans prefer strength.