In his Arts (and Politics) column in the NYTimes about a half year ago, Frank Rich speculated that the biggest reelection blind spot for Bush had to do with his ignorance of popular culture. This article was written just as the wheels were coming off the Dean wagon, but at the same time, people were realizing how much his sudden rise was fueled by the (populist) internet.
Despite the skill and savvy of Rove & Co., the model they operate out of is a generation behind, geared too much toward the tools (direct marketing) and constituencies (Bush Pioneers, fossil fuel industry) of pre-dot com culture and consciousness.
Despite the level of creative energy circulating now (eg: the backlash to Bush in popular culture; Bush has catalyzed an emotional, expressive response that is building exponentially toward November – viz. Bruce Springsteen’s recent decision to get involved) it’s not that Bush & co. are failing to push back on it, it’s that they don’t even register it.
This has been my perception for some time. The zeitgeist has been moving left since the start of the Iraq War. It is leaving the Bush administration and the Bush campaign behind. Even putting Jenna and notJenna in the campaign are too little, too late to catch up.