Anyone notice that the Kerry campaign is trapped outside the media vacuum created by Rathergate? It’s like they were put in one of those three dimensional space jails – like the villains from Superman 2. CBS isn’t doing the Kerry camp any favors by offering lame defenses, lying, and stonewalling. All that is doing is prolong the story and crowding out Kerry. It’s entirely possible that Kerry/Edwards will remain virtually attention-less until the last weeks of October.
In a bid to get back into the story, today the Kerry campaign takes (arguably) the dumbest political move ever attempted (Operation Fortunate Son) in stepping up attacks on Bush’s National Guard service. Rather than address the specifics of the folly of their ways, I intend to frame the issue in terms of championship boxing.
For those of you who remember Mike Tyson in his prime; you may remember that the conventional wisdom was that there were only two ways an opponent could potentially beat Tyson.
Method #1 was to try to take Tyson into the late rounds, since he rarely fought beyond 2-3 rounds, and hope he would run out of gas. Of course there was the small problem of not getting the living shit beat out of you for the 10 or so rounds that would be required to test this approach. Needless to say few ever got the chance to fully test this method. It’s worth noting that one man who picked this method, journeyman Buster Douglas, ended up knocking out a dispirited Tyson in the late rounds of their fight. Tyson was never the same after that fight.
Method #2 was the bum-rush technique. The idea was that you come out with everything you’ve got and ignore conserving energy for latter rounds, as you will either knockout Tyson early or he’ll knock you out real early. This was a popular and deeply flawed strategy for one simple reason – while Tyson’s opponent might land the occasional good punch in a futile search for Iron Mike’s glass jaw, the beating they took in return was (no exaggeration) life threatening. The bum-rush technique made for some short but exciting fights – pretty much all of Tyson’s early opponents were in this category. One of the best examples of the technique though was not a Tyson fight, but the Marvin Haggler-Thomas Hearns title fight where the two essentially stood toe-to-toe trading massive blows until Hearns just simply ran out of gas.
It seems today that the Kerry campaign is opting for the bum-rush technique. The problem for Kerry (just as it was for Tyson opponents) is that the counter attack is going to be worse that whatever they can dish out. Voters heard all these allegations against Bush in 2000, what they haven’t heard is a detailed retelling on Kerry’s post war activities. In Kerry’s defense, these stories are coming regardless of what the Kerry campaign says or does, but bum-rushing Bush’s Guard service is essentially abdicates the moral high ground, and exposes their soft underbelly for a massive counter attack.
So the question is, which Tyson opponent will the Kerry campaign choose to emulate: Michael Spinks or Buster Douglas?”
Operation Fortunate Son makes me think the answer is Spinks.