PRIORITY: Memo to Dean, Kerry, Gephardt, et al.

Re: Secret Strategy to Win the White House

| September / October 2003

IT'S A YEAR until election day but Democratic presidential hopefuls are off and running, well in advance of the usual political timetable. It's easy to see why. They are up against the most lavishly financed candidate in American history -- a fellow who can swoop into a banquet hall, offer a few remarks to a cheering crowd of millionaires, and walk out with gobs more money for his reelection coffers.

This cash is immediately funneled into an awesome political machine that makes the Daley family of Chicago look like amateurs. Bush's strategic mastermind Karl Rove believes that with enough money (a half-billion is a figure regularly mentioned) he can flood the campaign trail with all the paid messages and staged events necessary to keep the president's approval ratings up and, more importantly, he can depict Democrats as foolish, un-American, and possibly traitorous. It's a breathtakingly brazen step for American politics, and if Rove pulls it off our democracy will never be the same.