Monday, September 06, 2004

John Kerry is George Foreman!

It's struck me that John Kerry could very well be compared to George Foreman. Not George Foreman, the loveable purveyor of Lean, Mean Grilling Machines, but George Forman, stunned victim of a master strategist, Mohammed Ali.

If you havent seen "When We Were Kings", go rent it or buy it at Amazon. GREAT movie! It's a documentary on the fight between Ali and Foreman where Ali shocked the world by beating the superior physical specimen of Foreman. A facinating story with, I think, pertinent application for the current presidential race.

As I write this, the Kerry campaign is in meltdown mode. No bounce from the Dem convention. The Swiftboat Vets shredding the ability to rely on Vietnam as the foundation for credibility. Finally, a Republican convention pitch-perfect that seems to be giving W a double-digit lead. What happened? Kerry was ahead! W is an idiot empty-suit Hitler wanna-be who doesn't deserve to shine Kerry's medals!


This is where I go back to Foreman. Ali was a brilliant strategist, Foreman knew he would win. Fatal mistake.

The first thing Ali did was size-up his opponent. He knew George Foreman. Knew his strengths, weaknesses, and how he, Ali, compared. Second, he endeared himself to the people of Zaire, while Foreman seemingly hit all the wrong notes at the wrong time. Result: Ali had the crowd on his side. Finally, Ali developed a strategy to beat Foreman. Not a strategy to win a fight, but to beat Foreman. Foreman went out to pummel his opponent, just like Ali knew he would.

Bottom line: Rope-a-dope. Go watch the movie.

How does this relate to Bush and Kerry?
Bush is striking me as a master strategist, and Kerry is looking like someone who has no idea how to compete with someone who won't play by the rules you want them to.

Tactical advantage. Keep your opponent off-balance. Patience, Grasshopper, patience.

Bush has not personally responded to the wild-eyed, frothing-at-the-mouth criticisms of Moore/Move-on/etc. He crafted a convention that communicated quiet, strong, determined triumphalism. We are left with the impression of someone who is doing the right thing and will continue to do so reguardless of the difficulties. VERY American. We like that.

Kerry howls at every barb, much less punch. Takes everything personally, and constantly criticizes. Bottom line: whiney bad-mouther. VERY elitist. We don't like that.

What is the president doing? Very carefully, determinedly, surgically squirting gasonline on Kerry's hot head, knowing combustion is coming any minute.

The moment when this all came into focus for me may seem trivial, but I think it sums things up perfectly.
It was the pre-acceptance speech film. Specifically, the last sequence in Yankee stadium. The culmination of this whole image-piece to introduce President Bush is what? Throwing out the first pitch at a game. How is this gasonline on the hothead? Let's compare: right before the Democratic convention, John Kerry goes and throws out the first pitch at a Sox game. Bad move. First, this close to an election, the crowd is polarized. Boos will be heard (and reported, thanks to the blogosphere). Second, Kerry throws like a wus. EVERYONE in the stadium knows it. EVERYONE who sees the clip knows it. Kerry should have known it and figured out something else to do for a photo-op. Third, he stands IN FRONT of the mound (wus), and, inevitably, he bounces the pitch to the plate (double-wus). Thus, a try for some good PR ends up with Kerry being laughed at (the head is heating up...). So, what does W do? Takes a moment at the convention (one of the most watched moments, I might add) to remind everyone that he can go out to Yankee stadium, right after 9-11, with body-armor on, take the mound (even emphasizes this point), and throw a strike to the catcher. Take that, ketchup boy!

That whoosh you heard was the sound of combustion.

George Bush is a poker player, and a good one. Poker is all about strategy. Use the cards you got, whatever they are, to beat your opponent, whatever they got. Also, it doesn't matter who wins the early hands, only who walks away with the winnings at the end of the night.

Be looking for the Kerry Lean, Mean Searing Machine coming to an infomercial near you.


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