Vernon Lee strikes again. Pondering the habit of editorial cartoonists like Mike Luckovich to depict Bush as a very tiny little man, Vernon points out how we blew it two years ago:
Democrats ... misfired terribly during the 2004 campaign in reinforcing those elements of Bush's character that Democrats hated and feared but were the entire basis for hard-core (white evangelical male) Republican support.Bolded text is my emphasis. Matt Stoller was right to point out that conservatives don't think like us. Stoller was making the point with regard to Giuliani's appeal to sociocons - the authoritarian personality makes up for the lack of gay-hating. Vernon's argument makes me wonder if liberals won't fall into the same trap with Rudy as with Bush. The thing that disturbs me most about Giuliani is his authoritarianism. But it's also the source of much of his support. If Rudy wins the GOP nomination, we may need to carefully consider how we plan to go after him, so that we don't end up reinforcing his strengths.
Depicting Bush as a swaggering cowboy or schoolyard bully perfectly captured and underlined the reassurance the archetypal Bush voter felt at having someone like Bush in charge. Now, while it wasn't particularly likely that such core supporters could have been moved into the Kerry column in 2004, they might at least have stayed home if they'd come to feel less buttressed in their masculinity via association with Republicans.
[I]f Bush supporters encourage the view that he's a cowboy, and Kerry supporters warn us that he's a cowboy - well, good cowboy or bad cowboy: Bush is a cowboy....I wish some 527 had instead specifically undercut that which Bush supporters valued.