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Jewish World Review August 3, 2004 / 16 Menachem-Av, 5764

Tony Snow

Tony Snow
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The Dead Cat Bounce | Republicans are euphoric because the Democratic National Convention produced nothing but a dull thud for John Kerry. According to one poll, Kerry got a 2-point "bounce" among registered voters (a less reliable indicator of potential electoral success than a canvass of "likely voters"), while other surveys indicate he actually lost ground. Either way, it marked the least successful Democratic Convention since George McGovern grabbed the brass ring in 1972 — on his way to losing 49 states to Richard Nixon.

The GOP might want to restrain its glee, however, at least for now. The Democrats certainly ran an awful convention — one in which they tried to masquerade as Republicans in drag — but Kerry also suffered from the fact that broadcast networks spurned the gathering by airing just one hour on the first, third and fourth nights. For that, viewers got the Clintons, Edwardses and Kerrys — and not much else.

Republicans will get precisely the same amount of coverage — and, if they script their convention as tightly as Democrats, people are likely to be every bit as bored, if not more. That would produce a dead-cat bounce for the president as well. Rumor has it that the president will throw a couple of Vision Thing long balls, such as suggesting the abolition of the Internal Revenue Service, the scrapping of the income tax, and the installation of a national sales tax. That's a good start, but the debates between George Bush and John Kerry likely will determine which man takes the oath of office next January.

It may seem awfully odd that forensic skill could determine our next president — but in this year of hot tempers and high levels of public boredom, some good verbal theatrics might indeed separate the loser from the Leader of the Free World.

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