The other day I mentioned that candidates should answer their own questions, not the media’s questions. A benefit of doing this is, in addition to avoiding getting pinned with an answer you do not really support, you can change the subject. In a case like John Kerry and the Swifties, Kerry has been unable to change the story. Well, the story is about to get changed in a brilliant way – so brilliant in fact, I would speculate there was coordination, but for the fact that Kerry is the central reason.
For about three weeks now, Kerry has been hammered by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. The poll numbers are starting to show a real impact. For three weeks Kerry has been unable to change the story. The hammer is about to drive the nail completely in.
With Kerry’s incompetence at changing the story, the Bush campaign has intervened to change the story for him. We will now be subjected to a weekend of pro-America Olympics recaps and transition directly into a one week George Bush love fest known as the Republican National Convention. Bush is changing the message for Kerry and it will be to Kerry’s detriment.
I would say this was coordinated – that the Swifties planned to drag this story out until Bush could change the subject. But, that is not actually what happened. While the Swifties planned to drag the story out and Bush planned to have a convention, the media planned to ignore the Swifties until Kerry opened his mouth. Once he opened his mouth, like Pandora, he couldn’t shut the story up again.
In the slow news month of August, when voters should be focused on the Olympics, they have instead focused on a group of 264 angry veterans. The veterans stole the August headlines better than Chandra Levy and Gary Condit ever could through tragedy and mystery. Now September has arrived with an opening season of Bush. By the time Kerry gets the chance to change the message, he will have been at least four weeks out of the drivers seat.