The Horserace Blog: Election Analysis Part II: Bush and the Republicans: "Note: Sorry this is a tad late. The Horserace Blogger needed to sleep in today!!!
As Bush-Cheney 2004 (BC04) was a reelection campaign, it had a fundamental advantage – it had the experience of four years ago upon which to draw. There were many lessons for them to have learned from Bush-Cheney 2000 (BC00). BC00 was run much the same that traditional Republican campaigns have been run. It was a top-down affair. BC00 did a masterful job of cultivating a good relationship with the media. Bush was decidedly chummy with his traveling press corps, and this chumminess engendered many a positive story – if you have any doubt, check out Alexandra Pelosi’s fantastic Journeys with George. It is important to remember that Bush was perceived differently that year. Bush and Rove worked very hard to cast Bush as a transcendent Republican, i.e. a Republican who could make peace with the Democrats, a Republican who could end the animosity that lingered after Clinton’s impeachment, a Republican who was not cast of Gingrich’s mold. Bush’s personality was perfectly suited to this task. He is, by all accounts, a very, very amiable fellow. A combination of Bush’s personality and the general theme of the campaign made this quite a smart strategy.