Monday, August 30, 2004

Another pre-emption?

Instapundit has highlighted this report from Soxblog suggesting that Bill Kristol's insightful rumor mongering might be worth spreading. The jist is that a September surprise might be in the offing -- a VP switch for Bush, making for an insurmounable bulwark against any type of big-D win on November 2. Definitely worth reading.

It is very interesting this has come up again. I scoffed at it before but there are other currents in the election sea which now make this move more conceivable. I had been prep'ing a post suggesting Bush might be on the horns of a dilemma -- what to do about a foundering Kerry campaign.

I was pretty sure at the beginning of the Election 2004 race (that is, when Kerry was sure to be the nominee after he lucked out fast track primaries where the Dems had no interest in vetting their candidates for the nomination) that Bush would pass the election finish line first. Going into the Convention now, Bush has inched ahead of Kerry. I expected the move to come because of the Convetntion and against some good headwinds, not because of events before it.

Bush was able to stay competitive early on with some adept tacking and by generally ignoring the waves caused by the 527 yachts of sight-seeing sailor wannabe Kerry supporters. But Bush slipped into the lead by the accidental wake ride provided by a passig fleet of PCF's piloted by Swiftvets intent on circling and targeting Kerry's Swift boat until it founders.

I honestly think that while the arrival of the Swiftvets in this campaign was not unexpected by the Bush team, the strength of forces, the determination of the members and the measure of will of the Swiftvets was not anticipated at all. And who knew how bad Kerry's story really was. The Swiftvets' success with their self-assigned combat orders is and will be beyond belief. The Bush team misunderestimated the story and the Swiftvets. Bush will still have to maneuver around some nuisance 527's yachts still on the course, but the view of Kerry, floundering and surrounded by Swiftvets with a duty to do, is quickly passing over the horizon.

Therein lies the dilemma. Will the USS DNC reverse course to rescue Kerry or slow to half speed and launch another contestant in a newly designed boat while radioing to Kerry that they are processing the paperwork for an early discharge for his current tour of duty. Is it possible? I am sure there have already been calls for damage reports, an assessment of how much more ammunition the Swiftvets have and how accurate their fire has been. It depends on what kind of answers come back. Kerry is maintaining radio silence and time is running short.

The Bush team felt they could trounce Kerry on their own terms and in a different race. Hence the desire to stop this river race in Vietnam by graciously praising Kerry's service and the call for a race in a different venue, like the qualifications of Kerry's later service. The 'Toricelli option' is a great unknown and Bush does not want the Democrats to go there.

Could the McCain move be the pre-emption of what the Bush team feels is a good possibility now, an announcement to the Democrats that the race is over and that any new launch will be a failure, too? I can understand the McCain move in these terms, even if it only serves as a warning of a sundering shot at the Democrat's flagship.

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