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John Wayne and the Democrats

Reported by Eleanor - July 30, 2004 -

Kevin Phillips, respected author, commentator, and former republican, had a few things to say about the convention and Kerry on NOW with Bill Moyers (July 30, 9:00 p.m.).

Phillips main point was that Kerry solved a lot of image problems for the democrats with that magic speech. For example, the guy who threw away his medals/ribbons became the Boston patriot, a JFK. Also, he presented the democrats as going back to their old liberal fighting image, and "that's the worst thing that can happen to the republicans." (That's why they tried so hard to make liberal a dirty word.) Phillips said that if Kerry had not delivered a great speech, it would have been a disaster, but it was a home run. A real success. Stunning. Kerry tied the president's leadership style to failure, by getting people to think about the current results, and focusing on the issue of how to handle Iraq now, rather than who voted for what.

According to Phillips, the economic part of the speech will get the blue collar, poor, less educated back in, and that causes the republicans to "break out in a cold sweat." The movable voters are lower income who are the most likely to be persuaded. Kerry had the "beginning" of a clear economic message to these people. The money they have to spend is shrinking. "Tiffany America" is having a field day, while "Payless America" is not doing well at all.

Phillips indicated that the republicans are meeting right now, probably this morning, to work out strategy around defense, military - the strong leader image to head off the damage. McCain's influence is important. People are watching him.

Phillips described growing up republican, watching John Wayne movies, and thinking of democrats as not the hard hitting tough guy type. Now he can easily see himself and the democrats watching John Wayne movies together. He has changed.

Comment: The 2000 election and the last four disastrous years might put a lot of people in that theater watching John Wayne movies with Philliips and the democrats.