GOP Playbook: Find Foe's Strength and Attack It

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2008 8:06 PM CDT
Republican strategists, despite plenty of questions about George W. Bush's service, made John Kerry's Vietnam record a central plank of attack in 2004.   (KRT Photos)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Republican strategists are as adept as judo masters at turning opponents' strengths against them, Michael Kinsley writes in the Washington Post. With "genius, courage, creativity and utter ruthlessness," they managed to turn John Kerry's Vietnam service into a liability and Michael Dukakis' humble roots into elitism. Now, even more brazenly, they are striving to turn Barack Obama's eloquence and ability to stir a crowd into a negative.

"They are attacking Obama's charisma, as if popularity itself were a disqualifying factor and whoever draws the larger crowds is by definition the lesser candidate," Kinsley writes. "This is truly perverse. It comes close to being an attack on democracy itself. Can the Republicans possibly score with such a preposterous argument? Oh, probably."