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September 12, 2004

Duelling epistemologies

Matt Yglesias writes:

It's not clear to me, though, that anything really does hinge on the Killian allegations. Among other things, the general relevance of Bush's Guard service is not manifestly clear. I'm not going to pretend that this is the reason I don't think he deserves reelection, though I wish Bush supporters would have exercized the same courtesy when they were busy uncritically repeating lies about John Kerry's war record.

Matt is eliding two issues: whether anything should hinge on Bush's guard record, and, whether anything does hinge on Bush's guard record. The answer to the first question is conditional and depends on the preexisting beliefs and desires of each voter. If you support Bush because you think he is an honorable man, then you should care about proof that he behaved badly and lies about it to this day. On the other hand, if you support Bush because you know that he hates stem cell research and loves tax cuts, then the guard record shouldn't make any difference to you.

The answer to Matt's second question is empirical. The second question can be paraphrased as follows: "What percentage of Americans will change their voting behavior as a result of the revelations about Bush's guard record?"

A related empirical question is "Which voters will actually be influenced by Bush's tarnished guard record?" I suspect that these revelations will only influence swing voters. Everyone who has been paying attention already has overriding reasons for choosing their candidate. I have a hunch that Bush guard revelations will be very influential with swing voters because they paint a pretty vile picture of Bush, which is exactly the kind of thing that matters to swing voters.

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» What Gore could've done from The Ethical Werewolf
The resulting picture of Bush would be of an unreliable reprobate whom nobody should trust with the responsibilities of the presidency. [Read More]

» What Gore could've done from The Ethical Werewolf
The resulting picture of Bush would be of an unreliable reprobate whom nobody should trust with the responsibilities of the presidency. [Read More]

Comments

Majikthise,

I wrote this for Clemons and it is on subject so I copy pasted it onto your site. People who think ANG Bush's draft dodging past versus his CIC role don't matter are wrong.

"...It does matter...many well educated voters would prefer to chew on substance, but does matter in the rural swing states. In rural swing states lot of folks out there work hard physical jobs and when their work is done they just want to slurp some suds and relax. In those places you will find a reservoir of people whom have been captured by the successful GOP campaign to culturally identify themselves with hardworking Americans. Never mind that you and I both know that the Republicans represent the interest of the top 30% of the country.

To make my point about military service mattering, if it didn't matter why did Karl use the SBVFT to go after Kerry's war record? Because untainted it would swing a lot of votes in important states?

That said, I think the biggest tactical mistake Karl has made this year is in having Jr. demagogue on gay issues and thus drying up a lot of votes in Florida which has several gay Mecca's. Now this mistake may be negated by the effects of the Hurricanes particularly if Ivan hits the Keys hard. It's hard to see where that is going to drive votes, we will just have to watch as the storm tracks."

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