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by R. J. Crane, Editor topplebush.com
August 17, 2004

As the campaign heats up rounding the far turn and heading into the final stretch, there are five things that groups working to beat Bush can and must do to guarantee his defeat in November. The fact that these items are not being addressed fully now or not at all, in our opinion, is a serious omission on the part of the campaign. We aren't implying that Bush can't be beaten without focusing on these issues. We only claim that by doing these five things, Bush will be history on November 2nd:

1. Registering as many of the 76 million eligible but unregistered voters [from Friends of Hillary figure on their website] by informing them that most can register to vote online. Yes, we are aware that many organizations including the Kerry campaign are trying to register voters online and in other ways but no one, with one exception, Declare Yourself, with ads on Comedy Central, has made an ad buy on television to promote online voter registration and no one to our knowledge has made an ad buy on radio or in any major newspaper promoting online voter registration. In other words the overwhelming majority of organizations aren't using their millions of dollars to reach millions of unregistered voters the most effective way possible: With a major ad campaign letting them know how easy it is to register to vote online in most states. To not take advantage of the full potential of online voter registration when the race is expected to be tight and where a high voter turnout would benefit Kerry over Bush is inexcusable. We would urge MoveOn.org, ACT, the DNC, Working Assets, et. al. and the Kerry campaign to use the millions they have stashed away to immediately create national ads that promote online voter registration before it's too late and deadlines come up. Or in the alternative, to at least run these ads in every swing state.

2. Attempts must be made to get the national media to post the "real" Iraq War casualty numbers and numbers of soldiers killed as a result of the Iraq War on their nightly news programs every night. Or in the alternative to at least post the lower "incorrect" casualty numbers being reported by the Dept. of Defense. It is our understanding from having read numerous qualified reports citing sources such as retired generals, field commanders, and hospital reports on the number of soldiers treated at Landstuhl, that the number of U.S. casualties in Iraq is much higher than the number being released by the DOD. Instead of about 7,000 the DOD reports, the real number is closer to 30,000. The McLauglin Group [PBS August 15, 2004] claims there have been 27,500 U.S. military medical evacuations from Iraq. The McLaughlin Group has been consistently reporting the higher more correct number. Most average citizens when asked, have no idea how many serious casualties there have been as a result of Bush's misguided Iraq War. If they did and as this number kept increasing upwards every night on the evening news, can you imagine the backlash against Bush? Many political experts think Bush will take a serious hit when the U.S. death total from Iraq reaches 1000, which is expected to happen in September if current trends continue. When we refer to casualties, we aren't talking about a small scrape or cut that can easily be treated in a field hospital. We are talking about soldiers injured seriously enough they had to be medivaced to Landstuhl military hospital in Germany to be treated for battlefield injuries, illnesses, or other problems. If you recall during the Carter Administration ABC Nightly News showed a counter of the days the hostages were being held captive in Iran. This created negative imagery for Carter every night for millions of viewers and certainly helped contribute to his defeat.

Now it's not going to be easy to find a reliable updating source for the actual U.S. casualties in Iraq as others who are well connected have tried to get this number and have been stonewalled by the government. If someone had been successful, it would be widely reported...which it isn't. But since the McLaughlin Group has used the more realistic much higher number on some of their programs, they must have found a good source for this data. We have tried to confirm the higher casualty number with two U.S. Senators but so far have been unsuccessful as no one seems to care if Americans hear the truth on this.

3. E-voting machines that don't require verifiable paper ballots need to be prohibited from use in all states using them in the November election or in the alternative in any swing states using them. Again, there are many individuals and groups working on this issue and some have been successful, but this issue is still alive in some states and Florida in particular where Jeb Bush and his Secretary of State are working hard to prevent any changes to these machines that would require them to have the paper backup ballots. What we feel is missing in this effort is a large scale campaign by teams of lawyers willing to file lawsuits in state courts where the judges would be more "friendly" to these suits, challenging these machines as violating state recount statutes. It might even be feasible for a November candidate to appear as the plaintiff and seek a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction preventing these machines from being used, since a candidate would have the potential of being irreparably harmed if these machines can't provide a valid recount. Since none of these machines can recount ballots individually, we feel that these machines can't pass standards for conducting recounts, which would put them in violation of most state statutes with respect to this. We have tried to find documentation of any on-going legal efforts to prohibit the use of these e-voting machines with the cause of action being that they violate state election laws but haven't found any, although someone in Florida is challenging the use of these machines based on an "equal protection" argument. From information we have from experts on this issue, printers can easily and cheaply be added to these machines, even though the manufacturers are claiming otherwise.

In the alternative we would urge large scale campaigns in at least the swing states within the precincts where these machines are being used to inform voters that their vote on these machines might not be counted, urging them to request absentee ballots to make sure their vote counts. To this effort, groups would have to work hard to make sure absentee ballot applications were distributed quickly and returned on time. If we can't remove these machines from the election, a big effort needs to be made to discourage voters from using these machines....while providing them with an effective and easy alternative to vote. At least in Florida one doesn't need a reason to request an absentee ballot to vote absentee.

And of course poll watchers must be found that can be present in all of these precincts using e-voting machines without verifiable paper ballots to watch for and report any irregularities and to take notes of anything that looks suspicious even though no one will know if any of these machines are correctly tabulating the votes. We would also urge exit polling at every precinct in Florida where these machines are being used. We understand the Kerry campaign is fully aware of this issue and is trying hard to ensure the election isn't stolen again in Florida.

4. Ralph Nader has to be attacked ruthlessly and hard to prevent his campaign from taking votes away from Kerry in at least all of the swing states where he gets on the ballot. Efforts have been made with some success to keep him off the ballot where he tried to qualify and in California his campaign failed to get enough signatures [because the GOP didn't help him there] to get on the ballot. Nader is vulnerable in how he managed to get on the ballots in most states where he qualified. He only qualified in certain states either because the requirements were so minimal the local dog catcher could have gotten on the ballot or because the GOP was helping him not only with money but with workers collecting petition signatures. He also had help from Bush supporters who were working undercover in various organizations set up with nice-sounding names. He never would have gotten on the Michigan ballot without GOP help like this. [Nader will have to mount a legal challenge to get on the ballot as an Independent in Michigan. He already is in court trying to get on the ballot as the Reform Party candidate.] In fact of the 50,500 signatures turned in on behalf of Nader in Michigan, about 40,000 of them were directly attributable to help he received from the Michigan GOP. The message needs to be made clear to all but the blind that a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush. This attack on Nader shouldn't come directly from the Kerry campaign but it could effectively come from Howard Dean, who is already on record as strongly opposed to Nader. The fact that Nader has to know this too, tells us that he only cares about himself and making money selling his book and has lost his moral compass if not his mind. So he MUST be attacked on his current set of ethics and fundraising. He must be attacked as THE stooge of the GOP. Nader of all people should know better than to allow state ballots to be used this way by opposing parties to weaken their opposition. It makes a mockery of our elections.

5. The Kerry campaign, the DNC, or one of the many organizations that are well-funded and working to defeat Bush with TV ads must start running ads attacking the Bush record with a defined and unified ad concept and stick with it. Most successful ad campaigns have at least one unifying theme that is repeated in all ads ie The AFLAC duck is a good example of one of the most successful ad campaigns ever. The Taco Bell dog was another. Our suggestion for this ad campaign would bear the name: "The Face of Failure." One ad might look something like this. The first frame of the ad would show film footage of Bush joking and laughing at his desk in the Oval Office with a voice over that says: "Prior to 9/11 the Bush administration received no fewer than 12 serious warnings of an impending terrorist attack, but did little because its top priority at this time wasn't concern with terrorism but passing a tax cut for the rich." Another ad might show Bush's failures in going to war in Iraq with footage of flag draped coffins lined up in long rows and photos of war casualties with missing limbs ala Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9-11, with similar voice overs.Other "Face of Failure" ads might reveal Bush's devastating environmental policies, Medicare reform failures, job creation failures, the increasing and large budget deficits and federal deficits, informing voters that Bush has literally bankrupted the U.S. economy in only four short years! etc ......The closing tag of each ad would show an unflattering photo of Bush with text over that says: "The Face of Failure" with a voice over that says: "Has been a consistent failure where it mattered most."

The reason these ads would be effective is because it would shift people's perceptions of Bush as a "strong leader" into a "weak and incompetent leader." The only place Bush seems to be polling well is that voters see him as a stronger leader than Kerry. With this ad campaign, Bush would become indelibly branded in people's minds as a failure. No one wants to associate themselves with a failure or vote for one....even subconsciously. This ad campaign would be an appropriate counterweight to the GOP's successful ad campaign that branded Kerry a flip-flopper. If undecided and independent voters are left choosing between a flip-flopper or an unqualified failure, we think they will pick the "flip-flopper."

We feel that all of these suggestions can be implemented if resources and efforts are made to do so. This is a real blueprint for beating Bush that is independent of anything else that might happen between now and Nov. 2nd. Of course Kerry should win this election even without implementing any of our suggestions above -- but to ignore implementing these suggestions when they most assuredly would guarantee victory makes no sense to us.

Posted: August 17, 2004


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