Could the Must-Support-Our-War-President Zombies be stirring to independent life?
The dozen independent-minded voters sitting around the table here Tuesday night are the face of trouble for President Bush.Yeah, that can be a problem for a candidate - to know him is to feel kind of repulsed contempt for him...
Seven of them voted for him in 2000; all 12 are middle-of-the-road folks who sometimes back Republicans, sometimes Democrats. But as the president campaigns for re-election, only four say they are leaning in his direction. None describe their support as rock-solid.
An improving economy? They don't feel it. Talk of new jobs finally being created? "240,000 new jobs at Taco Bell, and our manufacturing is draining away to Indonesia and China," snorts Deborah Harris, 53, a homemaker who voted for Bush four years ago and is undecided now.
If Kerry lived next door, Cheryl Maggard, 48, a retired school-bus driver, says he would be someone "I'd wave at but never get to know." Jody Blair, 33, a homemaker and former teacher, says she could see herself outside Kerry's house, "watching the party through the window."
But they agree that Kerry "looks presidential." They can envision him in the Oval Office, though they want to know more about what he would do before they'll put him there. Two of the voters say they support Kerry now; three more are leaning his way.
If the problem with Kerry is that they don't know him well enough, they seem to feel they know Bush too well.