Rich Choices in November
But doesn't this theme contradict with Republican criticism of Democrats for playing class warfare?
"No," she said. "No."
Said Democratic National Committee spokesman Jano Cabrera: "We gave them an A for it—an A for audacity."
The DNC e-mailed the following statement this week:
"Yesterday the Republican National Committee, chaired by Ed Gillespie (whose lobbying firm collected at least $27 million from corporate clients like Enron in the two years before he became RNC chair), unveiled a new internet game poking fun at the personal finances of John Kerry.
"It is unclear whether the campaign of George Walker Bush (son of U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush and grandson of Connecticut Senator Prescott Sheldon Bush) and Dick Cheney (worth between $24 million - $107 million; former Chairman and CEO of Halliburton who received a $20 million retirement package to run for vice president) has endorsed this line of attack. Bush (a CT-born Yankee who summered in Kennebunkport, Maine, and attended the Kinkaid school in Houston before moving to Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, where he became head cheerleader and earned the nickname the Lip from his chums for his rapier wit), was unavailable for comment."
Frivolous Maybe, but It Matters
There are important things going on this election, two wars being fought abroad, an economy inching out of the doldrums, older Americans struggling to pay for prescription drugs. So why does this matter?
Well, because it could help determine who the next president will be, that's why.
Issues matter first and foremost for voters, but intangible personal traits are also important. Most political experts agree that, fair or not, Al Gore's reputation for stretching the truth hurt him in 2000, just as Bob Dole's reputation for meanness hurt him in 1996, just as George H.W. Bush's reputation for being out of touch hurt him in 1992 and Jimmy Carter's reputation for grinning cluelessness hurt him in 1980.
Both Bush and Kerry have their own potential intangible liabilities this year. Democrats try to tag Bush as a stubborn, not-so-bright cowboy relying on platitudes and an overly simplistic vision of the world. Republicans try to portray Kerry as a flip-flopping, Boston patrician with a phony sense of noblesse oblige.
Pollster Andrew Kohut of the nonpartisan Pew Research Center can help explain what's going on here. Despite a very tough couple of months for Bush, he wins polls by double-digit margins when voters are asked who has the best judgment in a crisis or who is the most willing to take a stand. But ask voters who is the most likeable or down to earth or honest, and voters are evenly split.
Here's the kicker though: The one place Kerry clearly leads Bush is on the question of "cares about people like you." In the most recent Pew poll, respondents favored Kerry over Bush, 45 to 34 percent.
In March, the Washington Post/ABC News poll asked voters whether "Bush cares more about serving poor and lower income people, middle income people, upper income people, or would you say he cares equally about serving all people?" Forty-four percent said "upper" compared to 41 percent who said "all" and only 7 percent who said "poor or middle."
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