Tuesday, August 17, 2004

President Bush learns an electioneering lesson from past presidents

"President Grover Cleveland vigorously pursued a policy barring special favors to any economic group. Vetoing a bill to appropriate $10,000 to distribute seed grain among drought-stricken farmers in Texas, he wrote: 'Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character. . . .'"

Cleveland lost his re-election bid.

"After Hurricane Andrew left thousands homeless in August 1992, the first President Bush's administration was roundly criticized for moving too slowly to deliver food, water and troops."

G.W.'s father was not re-elected.

"The son apparently did not want to repeat history. Even before Hurricane Charley struck, the second Bush White House was poised to act. Hours after Hurricane Charley made landfall, federal aid was flowing.

"As emergency crews and National Guard troops swooped in to help residents across the state, Floridians were showered with promises, assurances and lists of toll-free numbers they could call for help, according to a story in the LA Times.

"Although Andrew was at the time the largest natural disaster to hit the country, Hurricane Charley was in many ways more of a political challenge.

"'This cut through a lot of good Republican turf, and then I-4 — that's a lot of swing voters,' said David Johnson, a Florida GOP consultant and former executive director of the state party."