Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Wednesday | October 16, 2002

McBride nips at Bush's heels

This is the marquee race -- the one all of us partisan Dems want win above all others. Jeb v. McBride, and McBride is giving us plenty to smile about.

In all the latest polls, McBride is trailing Bush by a hair, always within the margin of error. And as Matt Drudge noted, the entire Bush clan is sweating this election:

A growing concern that Florida Governor Jeb Bush may be vulnerable in next month's election has become a near-obsession inside of the White House, top sources tell the DRUDGE REPORT.

"Democrats and the media will show no mercy if the president's brother is defeated," a top Bush insider said from Washington. "While no one wants to lose a state house, a win by [Democratic challenger Bill] McBride would be viewed as symbolic."

McBride's strategy is to avoid specifics as much as humanly possible (education being the exception) and run on personality. It's delicious irony to see the Bush camp cry foul over the lack of specifics, considering brother George 'won' the presidency in 2000 by emphasizing style over substance.

And Jeb remains on the defensive, even forced to apologize in today's radio debate over his "devious" remarks. However, apology or not, the truth of the matter is that the real Jeb was exposed, and no apology can erase that. And even then, Bush apologized for using the word "devious", not for scheming to subvert the popular will of the voters of Florida. From all initial indications, that "apology" was not really an apology at all. But like I said, apology or not, the comments will haunt Bush all the way to election day.

Now, with the race in a deadlock, McBride has turned up the heat with his first negative ad explicitly targeting Jeb by name. Bush's camp has promised to retaliate. Check out these laugher graphs in this Orlando Sentinel story:

Bush, denouncing his rival's attack as a "gross distortion," says he expected it. His campaign promises to retaliate.

"They would not have begun this three weeks out if they didn't know what we know -- that their campaign has gone flat," said Al Cardenas, Republican Party of Florida chairman. "It's a sign that they've had to change their strategy."

Democratic Party Chairman Bob Poe scoffs at the claim.

"Ask him to show you his polls. There has been no slowing," Poe said Tuesday. "The fact is, Jeb hasn't been telling the truth about his record. So we have to start telling the truth. That's not negative. That's the facts."

Poe is right. If a campaign has internal polling showing their candidate with a lead, you better believe the poll is leaked or released outright to the press. The fact that Bush's camp hasn't countered all the independent polls showing an even race indicates their internals show the same results.

Now a bit of a reality check -- Bush has over $30 million to spend. McBride hopes to raise $10 million in the race's final weeks. McBride will be grossly outspent, though some of that advantage will be mitigated by McBride's union supporters. But it will be a squeaker.

Posted October 16, 2002 09:38 AM | Comments (3)


Bush Administration
Business and Economy
Foreign Policy

© 2002. Steal all you want.
(For non-commercial use, that is.)