TALE OF THE TAPE TIPS A KERRY VICTORY
by Mark Scheinbaum
American Reporter Correspondent
Boca Raton, Fla.
TAOS, N.M., Aug. 23, 2004 -- Highly-paid pundits say the presidential race is too close to call, but applying the old "Tale of the Tape" as boxing writers do, the election could produce a Kerry knockout and national Democratic win.
Our old UPI Sports Editor on the night shift, Bob Stewart, made sure that the newswire ran a side-by-side measurement chart on height, reach, weight, record, etc., for every title fight. It's kind of like the pro football match-ups you see in the paper. In any case, I think either the poll-takers have messed up, or respondents to polls are, well, pulling their chain.
Here's how I see it:
Incumbent Power: The ability to move troops around, delay base closings, announce some pet pork expenditures, and the overall trappings of a sitting president making a stump speech in your home town. Although it creates a big target for Kerry to take aim, a supposedly wartime president has an advantage. Edge: BU.S.H.
Military Record: Let's see, now: Spoiled rich kid Kerry enlists in the military at time of war and goes to combat. Maybe he aggrandizes his record, maybe not. He puts his blueblood butt on the line for several months. Most of the guys who fought with him claimed he acquitted himself honorably, may be even bravely.
But what if it was all a plot to build up a quick resume so when he ran for high office later in life, he looked good on paper? Sort of like, maybe, Bill Clinton deciding in second grade he would be President, right? Okay, maybe some shenanigans, maybe not. His anti-war activism was from the heart, with passion, whether you agreed or not.
Versus George W. Bush, who like many sons of the wealthy sought relief from bullets in the Texas - or was it the Alabama - Air National Guard. Dispute over Dubya's record isn't about whether he embellished his combat record in a war zone, but how much, if any, time he actually showed up amid the safety of home. Commander-in-Chief or not: Advantage KERRY.
Political Record: Kerry, as junior senator from the Bay State, played second fiddle to the imposing - or at least large - leadership of Ted Kennedy. A nice guy, re-elected, never stole a freight train, probably not on anyone's Top 10 list of influential U.S. Senators.
Bush was anointed governor of the Lone Star State. Good report card grades on legislative lobbying and "schmoozing" a la the late Lyndon Johnson. To the dismay of some Democrats, and with the help of independent billionaire H. Ross Perot, he undertook some significant K-12 and higher education reforms in his state, which won him some Hispanic loyalty. As President his domestic and foreign policy record was uninspired or not even on the radar until the Sept. 11th massacre. Advantage: NONE.
Foreign Policy: Bush squandered valuable diplomatic currency by cutting Colin Powell out of the decision-making loop. Traditional allies were never brought into the "Coalition of the Willing." Scratch the surface for an Iraqi "coalition" with the likes of El Salvador and the Dominican Republic which sent their meager platoons packing when Madrid was bombed and Spain pulled out.
Some conservative GOP donors tell me they didn't like being manipulated. They would have favored bombing Iraq because, "It is a longtime enemy, run by a looney who wants Americans dead, and is part of a global Islamic movement which works against us. It doesn't matter if he was responsible for 9/11 we are knocking off enemies. We are going after terror regimes no matter if they are in Belgrade or Bogota. It's Saddam's time to go, and besides, he threatened to kill my daddy, etc."
The 911 report is a case study in how not to run national intelligence. If Kerry's worse mistake is changing is votes in the Senate, and trying to patch things up so sauerkraut and French Fries can go back on the menu, so be it. Bush foes want him out. Bush supporters are scratching their heads with each dead Marine. Advantage: KERRY.
Personal Management Style: Many of us did not vote for Al Gore because he was silent partner to Clinton lies. Gore was an active partner in illegal fund-raising. We were willing to give Bush - perhaps not the smartest kid at Yale - a chance. right off the bat with the reliance on the recycled Reagan-Bush cabinets (Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc), we heard that the American people really shouldn't know about energy meetings with the same crooks who ripped off Enron investors and employees.
It was indeed an Administration run of the people, by the people, and for the people. It was just that the "people" benefiting weren't folks who most of us knew. Kerry's first executive decision, choosing John Edwards infuriated big business and many Republicans - good. Even the CEO of GM or IBM would want a shrewd Tarheel millionaire lawyer representing his wife - on contingency fee of course - in a personal injury case.
Americans hate high medical costs and the cost of product liability claims, but they hate losing people who fight for the "little guy" more. Kerry has not shown either rhetorical or administrative dynamism. Yet he at least is reaching out to the traditional Democratic base, and talking up veterans benefits and seniors' issues. Advantage: KERRY
Summary: When it come time to pull the lever, check the box, or touch the video screen which may or may not work correctly, most Americans will say: Bush, you were a liar like all the other politicians, ran the country for your buddies, and let the real culprits of 9/11 slip away.
I'm not thrilled with Kerry, but he sure as heck deserves a chance to do a better job than Bush. KERRY BY TKO.
AR Correspondent and former UPI newsman and political science instructor Mark Scheinbaum is chief investment strategist for Kaplan & Company Securities, NASD, SIPC, Boston Stock Exchange, based in Boca Raton, Fla. (www.kaplansecurities.com).