Friday, April 23, 2004

Not Buying: Ryan Lizza suggests that Kerry is in the midst of a rope-a-dope strategy to sap Bush's war chest.
But, instead of spending this money as it came in, the Kerry campaign made a decision to absorb Bush's blows and to rely on the effects of the 527s and the negative news from Richard Clarke, Iraq, and the 9/11 Commission. This decision may be remembered as the most brilliant move of the campaign or the one that cost Kerry the presidency. It is a large-scale version of rope-a-dope--allow your opponent to unload with his most powerful punches as you hunker down and bide your time, waiting to unload in the next round, once the other guy has spent himself.
Lizza gets some things right, but he ignores some of the key timing. He sees that Kerry has the upfront advantage, since Bush's convention is later -- thus Bush has to make his private money last until his September nomination, while Kerry will get 75 million federal clams in late July. But then Kerry has to begin spending his federal packet a month before Bush gets an equal allotment. Lizza parenthetically notes this, but doesn't attach much importance to it. But would you rather have your advantage now, or then? I'll take then, in a New York minute. Bush has the late convention, thus the late bounce. Couple that with a late financial advantage, assuming Kerry has to spend to keep his convention bounce through the August Olympics (which Lizza bizzarrely sees as more of a problem for Bush), and any gains Kerry makes in an early rope-a-dope had best be huge ones.

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