Dean Esmay has a good post reminding us that, as kooky as Howard Dean and some of the other contenders for the Democratic nomination might sound now, almost nobody is paying attention. He also points to some possible strategies the eventual nominee can use depending on whether things are going well in Iraq next fall.

I basically agree with this line of though. Nixon’s “run to the right in the primaries, then to the middle in November” strategy is tried and true; candidates have had to energize the base to win the nominee and then persuade the general public that they’re not radical sense the current primary-based method of selecting nominees arose. I think the difference is that, nowadays, every last word uttered by any candidate anywhere is on videotape. So, even if Dean (or whoever) runs to the middle, the GOP will have plenty of fodder for TV commercials.

And, yes, the “out” party is always counting on things being bad. Only JFK managed to run on a “sure, it’s great now–but it could be even better” strategy and pull it off. And even that required the bogus “missile gap,” a rather unlikely politician in Nixon, and a skin-of-his teeth victory.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.