Anonymous asked this question on 5/7/2000: (The mystery of "W"'s success)
I would like someone to tell why exactly George W. Bush is doing so well in his presidential campaign? I had a lot more faith in my fellow Americans than to follow a weasel like him. Is there something about his politics or character that others see that I am completely missing? The only excuse I can see for his success is that most people who voted for him in the primaries think that he IS his father.
(Don't get me wrong- I am not a big Gore fan either, but McCain or Bradley would have been nice. Anyone but W- ok, not ANYONE. Not Keyes or Buchanan...)
madpol gave this response on 5/9/2000:
The small matter of a $70 million war chest and the fact that Republican Congressmen started their attacks on Gore 3 years ago might have something to do with it.
The debates are likely to hurt Bush considerably. He is not an agile speaker or fast thinker, and has been accused of "having the attention span of a ferret on crack."
Anyone can look presidential in a still photo.
Seeing Bush in verbal combat will turn a lot of people off.
Bush's current strategy involves moving to the political center. No warm welcome awaits him among Centrist's and the Democrats are insane if they don't compare his positions in the Primaries to the ones he is currently espousing.
JesseGordon gave this response on 5/7/2000:
I'll try to be non-partisan, although it's hard when answering an inherently partisan question....
1) George W. is the popular governor of a large state. That gives him an automatic batch of electoral votes in the general election. Throw in Florida, where his brother is Governor, and he has a heck of a jump start on someone from a small state like, say, Tennessee.
2) In the primary season, being the "front-runner" is a self-propagating phenomenon. People who want the GOP to win in November want to give money to the GOP front-runner; then the front-runner has more money so he easily wipes out his competition; so he becomes the even-more-in-front front-runner. There was a period in February and March where McCain was clearly more popular than Bush; if there had been no past, McCain would have become the front-runner. But Bush already had the support and cash lined up from earlier in the season, so McCain never gained front-runner status.
3) That just begs the question, "How did W. become the front runner to begin with?". First, see #1 above. Then refer to the question itself -- yep, being President Bush's son certainly helped too. I think people like the idea of political legacies, and the Bush family certainly seems to be creating one.
4) I think ultimately the reason George W. is doing well is because he wouldn't be a terrible president. And neither would Gore. I think McCain & Bradley could have both been trusted to not destroy the country, but we're probably a little safer on that count with either Bush or Gore. In other words, the political process has successfully selected the guys who are the least likely to do damage to America as president. Certainly we would be at greater risk with Keyes, or Buchanan, or with any of the other third-party candidates. Although I agree with many of their stances, I acknowledge that they represent a much larger risk than Bush or Gore.
Ultimately, I think the answer to your question is "George W. Bush became the GOP nominee because most Republicans acknowledge that he won't destroy America if he gets elected." One could say the same for Gore. Hence the political process works, by choosing candidates who are safe.
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