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Sunday, November 13, 2011
PBS MacNeil/Lehrer Report: Iowa Caucus 1988: Bob Dole's Peak
When then Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole while he was running for President back in 1987-88. Won the Iowa Caucus, beating both Vice President George Bush who was considered the Establishment Candidate. As well as beating Rev. Pat Robertson who was the Religious Conservative Presidential Candidate. That made the 1988 Republican Primary Race for President a two candidate field. Between Minority Leader Dole and Vice President Bush, giving each candidate a target to shoot at. And now they know who they had to beat to and it would come down to New Hampshire. A neighboring State for George Bush who grew up in Connecticut and was the favorite going in. But Bob Dole was polling well enough there to make it competitive. And I believe the Bush Campaign led by Lee Atwater and others calculated that they had to win New Hampshire. In order to be able to win the Republican Nomination, that even though they were the Frontrunner and the favorite. Had a lot of money and were the Establishment Campaign, with a popular President behind them. That if they were lose both Iowa a State they won in 1980, just eight years prior. And add New Hampshire to that list, again a neighboring State to Connecticut, that they would have a real tough time. Going South with Bob Dole up and Pat Robertson still in the campaign. The Bush Campaign wanted a quick and smooth Primary Process to prepare for the General Election. Against whoever the Democratic Nominee was, they got a quick but not a smooth campaign.
Winning Iowa for Bob Dole meant that he was definitely in the Republican Primary Race and that he was a serious contender for the nomination. And nobody new this better then George Bush and his campaign especially Lee Atwater. And their number one objective going into New Hampshire. Was to bring down the Dole Campaign and head South with all of the momentum to win the nomination. Accusing Bob Dole of all things of being a liberal and a Tax Hiker. Even though Dole had one of the most conservative Voting Records in Congress. All made up attacks basically the same Hatchet Job they pulled on Mike Dukakis in the General Election. When they were down by 17 points to him, this was not about Peace and Prosperity. Or the New Frontier, Opportunity Society or any Grand Vision that George Bush could offer the country. The Bush Campaign was about I'm Vice President of the United States the 2nd Ranking Officer in the Federal Government. Vice President to a very popular President in Ronald Reagan. My opponents are unamerican and unqualified to be President of the United States, so vote for me. George Bush and Bob Dole were the two highest ranking Republican Public Officials in America. That were eligible to run for President in 1988. And Bush beat Dole by bashing his head in, not by offering a better agenda.
Had Bob Dole had what the Clinton Campaign coined the War Room in 1992, an operation thats purely designed to Counter Attack. Respond to any Negative Attacks that are thrown at them as well as being a Research Operation to dig up negative information against the other side. That Bill Clinton had in both 1992 and 1996 and that Al Gore had in 2000 to a certain extent. Then Bob Dole perhaps wins New Hampshire or does well enough to keep his campaign alive. And at least be able to force George Bush to offer their own agenda and vision in where they want to take America. But they didn't have that.