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Dead cat bounce and the squirming Democrats

By Carol Devine-Molin
web posted July 12, 2004

Last week, I bet many who watch MSNBC's "Scarborough Country" were in the mood to drop-kick host Joe Scarborough into the upper ethers, as he repeatedly insisted that the new Kerry/Edwards ticket was guaranteed an immediate 10 point surge in the polls, followed by an additional 10 points in the wake of the Democratic convention by the end of July. Thank heavens for Scarborough's two guests, Jack Kemp and Steve Forbes, who managed to dampen his mania. As to Scarborough's know-it-all attitude and political projections, the cable host is being proven wrong by unfolding events.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Senator John Kerry (D-MA) (R) and his running mate Senator John Edwards (D-NC) wave to the crowd at a rally in Raleigh, North Carolina on July 10
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Senator John Kerry (D-MA) (R) and his running mate Senator John Edwards (D-NC) wave to the crowd at a rally in Raleigh, North Carolina on July 10

The John Edwards Veep-pick of July 6 has failed to generate a big bounce in polling numbers. In fact, the Democratic presidential ticket appears headed for a "dead cat bounce", which is nothing more than a minimal bump in the polls that is expected to quickly revert to prior levels. According to an Associated Press piece dated July 11, "John Kerry's choice of John Edwards as his running mate was received favorably by the public, polls suggest, but it has made little difference so far in the race with President Bush. Kerry strategists are trying to lower expectations for a bounce in the polls that presidential candidates sometimes get after choosing a running mate or attending a convention."

The AP poll conducted July 5 - 7 had to be the most discouraging for the Democrats with Bush-Cheney in the lead at 49 percent, trailed by Kerry-Edwards at 45 percent. In the July 6 - 7 Zogby poll, Kerry-Edwards only pulled ahead of Bush-Cheney by two points, 48 percent to 46 percent, certainly within the margin of error. The Rasmussen's presidential tracking poll of July 11 was a little better for the Democrats, with Kerry-Edwards running at 48 percent and Bush-Cheney at 45 percent. It would be fair to say that this presidential race is still a virtual dead-heat. Many political analysts now doubt that the Democratic convention will create a double-digit surge in the polls, or one with any sustaining value. The Democratic Party bigwigs should be worried.

Despite all the media hoopla surrounding the newly dubbed John-John ticket, Senator John Edwards is a notably flawed Veep choice. He's only a first term senator with limited experience, and lacks salient national security expertise that is pivotal during this war on terror. Any levelheaded person knows that the ability to exert credible leadership is key during troubled times. On the question of Vice Presidential leadership in this upcoming election, the public has a clear opinion. The latest Newsweek poll rates Vice President Cheney as a considerably stronger leader than Senator Edwards, 63 percent versus 53 percent. In contrast to Edwards, Vice President Dick Cheney has a stellar background: He served in the Congress, as White House Chief of Staff, Secretary of Defense, and now as Vice President during crisis times.

Edwards is little more than a profoundly Left-leaning trial lawyer – He's for raising taxes, engaging in protectionism and enacting extreme social liberalism including partial birth abortion. These political positions are out-of-sync with mainstream America, and only diminish the Democratic ticket. The few notable assets that Senator Edwards brings to the table are his good looks, charisma and youthful exuberance, all of which are important during an election year. But in today's complicated and demanding world, these superficial attributes will not suffice for any VP that might be called upon to assume the mantle of the presidency.

What will immediately impact the Kerry-Edwards ticket? Senator Kerry particularly revels in running around the campaign trail accusing Bush-Cheney of misleading the public about WMDs in Iraq. Yes, the Michael Moore Left-wing crowd eats this stuff up. Never mind that the prior Clinton administration, the United Nations, and intelligence agencies around the world all believed that Saddam's regime was in possession of stockpiles of WMDs until Iraq fell. Now, the Senate Intelligence Committee has issued its official conclusions on the matter – The CIA was at fault. The agency was inept, devoid of any decent human intelligence, and it promulgated its inaccurate analysis on WMDs in Iraq.

Now let's wait-and-see how the Kerry-Edwards ticket and the Democrats squirm and spin all of this.

Simply put, President Bush was given bad intel. Well knock me over with a feather! Predicting that the Senate Intelligence Committee would blame the CIA is like predicting that a strung-out Courtney Love will again get arrested. The inevitability factor is in play. Most Americans, with the exception of delusional Left-wingers, already knew the score on the CIA and had come to expect the Committee's findings. But it's still nice that the Senate Intelligence Committee has released its pre-war intelligence report at this juncture.

Carol Devine-Molin is a regular contributor to several online magazines.

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