Observations on the world today.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Compare and Contrast 

Compare this:

HoustonChronicle.com - National mourning helps Bush politically for now
A week of national mourning for Ronald Reagan has helped President Bush politically by shunting Democrat John Kerry to the sidelines and driving bad news from Baghdad off the front pages.
"I don't think it hurts to remind people of a time when Reagan provided leadership that made people feel good about the country again -- that is a good atmosphere for Republicans," a Republican Party strategist said.
"It never hurts to change the subject after you've had a couple of bad weeks," California Republican consultant Dan Schnur said.
"This has real potential for the president, but he has to be very careful," Schnur said. "If he is too heavy-handed, voters will back away."
The front page of Bush's campaign Web site was taken over this week by a tribute to Reagan, including links to some of his most famous speeches and to words of praise for Reagan from Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
"If this happened at the end of October, it would matter," he said. "But in the first week of June? Nah."
To this:

deseretnews.com | Wellstone tribute turns political
Republicans quickly criticized the partisan tone of the memorial. "I was frankly stunned. It was over the top," said Sarah Janecek, a Republican consultant.
And this:

WCCO: Reality Check: Wellstone Tribute One Year Later
Some believe the backlash affected Democrats nationwide, helping elect a Republican Senate, and strengthening a Republican House.

One poll reports that 68 percent of American voters knew about the memorial service, which was broadcast on C-Span. 49-per cent said it made them less likely to vote Democrat, including a surprising 67 percent of Independents.

The man who took Wellstone's place believes it helped create a Republican majority.

"It was what it was," said Senator Norm Coleman. "Not just in Minnesota but across the country. I have more folks coming up to me and saying you election was responsible for us winning control, picking up seats in the House and Senate, but it wasn't me. People watch something and they made a judgment."
And this:

GOP demands equal time; Wellstone aide apologizes; Ventura upset
The state GOP asked for equal air time to match the 3 1/2 hours the memorial was on TV Tuesday night. And the University of Minnesota official who gave the campaign the go-ahead to use Williams Arena said she wouldn't have done so if she had known it would have "political overtones." Even the DFL candidate for governor, Roger Moe, criticized it as "unfortunate."

"I deeply regret if anyone took offense or was taken by surprise by some of the content of one of the addresses last night," Wellstone campaign manager Jeff Blodgett said. "It certainly was not an orchestrated or scripted event as some have suggested."
Yeah, not like the Reagan funeral.

Holy cow, I heard criticism of Kerry (a Roman Catholic) for crossing himself after saying a prayer in from of the casket, for crying out loud! They said he was grandstanding!

Look, Reagan was a politician. Politics was bound to come up. And it is perfectly reasonable for the republicans to be thinking about how this affects them politically. But come on. Do you honestly think that had the Wellstone tribute not been so successfully used by them to vilify the democrats that the GOP would have been half as reserved as they were? I don't. And in addition, I don't think the left would have criticized them for taking some political gain had they not been so over the top in their criticism of the Wellstone event.

Of course, we'll never know for sure. But in my opinion, if there is one good thing to come out of the Wellstone backlash, it is that it ruined a good chance for the right to take some political benefit out of the Gipper's death.


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