The Magazine

The Dukakis Trap

From the March 15, 2004 issue: Why isn't George W. Bush's message getting out? The truth is the White House isn't trying very hard.

Mar 15, 2004, Vol. 9, No. 26 • By FRED BARNES and WILLIAM KRISTOL
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Who could have imagined the situation Bush finds himself in? The Democrats are trying to take the finest hour of Bush's presidency--his magnificent response to 9/11--off the table. Republicans often liken Kerry to Michael Dukakis, the wimpy Democratic presidential nominee in 1988. But perhaps it's Bush who should worry about falling into the Dukakis trap. Bush and his team seem to assume opposition charges won't hurt because, of course, voters will know the charges are unfair and disingenuous. It's Kerry and his adviser Bob Shrum, with their relentless attacks, who are following the example of Bush's father and Lee Atwater. We know who prevailed then.

--Fred Barnes and William Kristol