Bush goes on his first date with voters

IN CONVENTIONAL warfare, overwhelming force wins. But in guerrilla warfare, more lightly armed combatants can triumph by drawing their opponents into small engagements, turning their strength against them and gradually grinding them down.

Those are the enemies that lie in wait for George W Bush as he sets out on the campaign trail this weekend, beginning the long journey that could lead to his selection as Republican candidate for President. The Governor of Texas is the big favourite. He has huge funds, staff in every state, an army of money men, admen, press advisers, strategists and pollsters, smart young women with cellular phones and young men with clipboards. He also has a handsome poll lead - handsome indeed for a man who has not definitively said that he will run and who has so far confined himself to private meetings in the Governor's Mansion in downtown Austin.

Now he must take his case out to the world, or at least to Iowa and New Hampshire. Those states kick off the electoral calendar next year. He must win there if he is to have a shot at the White House.

Seven of the Republican candidates will be in Iowa this week, most of them gravitating to the World Pork Expo in Des Moines. Before he can get elected to the White House, Mr Bush must beat the other Republican candidates, and he is already under fire. Dan Quayle, the former Vice- President, is one of several Republicans who believe that Mr Bush can be outflanked on his ideological right. In the past few weeks Mr Quayle has repeatedly raised conservative social issues with the aim of drawing Mr Bush.

The Texas Governor has been slow to express his positions on these social issues, with good reason. This is not the time for a detailed list of policy prescriptions. "It's like a first date," says Tom Korologos, a Republican consultant who is a supporter of Mr Bush's rival, Elizabeth Dole. The voters will want to size him up, but not make final judgements.

Mr Quayle, best known for his imaginative mangling of the English language, may not seem the most likely challenger. But he has support on the conservative right, and his strategy is a taste of what Mr Bush will get over the next few weeks. Conservatives will try to draw him into small battles on these big issues. The billionaire Steve Forbes, Senator Bob Smith, the religious leader Gary Bauer, Mr Quayle, the maverick nationalist Pat Buchanan, the former Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander and the talk show host Alan Keyes are all seeking the vote of the right, and if they can score small victories now it could have big results later.

The polls show Mr Bush with a wide lead over his opponents in Iowa. A polling initiative, Iowa Project 2000, found 36.7 per cent of likely Iowa Republicans backing him in March, with 16.4 per cent behind Elizabeth Dole and roughly 8 per cent each for Messrs Quayle, Buchanan and Alexander. It looks as if the race is for second and third place.

Only one of Mr Bush's rivals can probably emerge as the standard-bearer of the right. His massive and highly efficient fund-raising performance is siphoning away cash, leaving some on very shaky financial ground. Mr Quayle is already under pressure: next month the Republican leadership in his home state, Indiana, will hold a massive fund-raiser - for Mr Bush. Mr Alexander is running so short of funds that he has laid off some staff, and is pinning all his hopes on a good performance in Iowa.

Mr Quayle is using the number of party endorsements that Mr Bush has received as a weapon against him. "We cannot follow the campaign strategy of the party establishment in Washington any more than we can be guided by the moral leadership offered by the Clinton administration," he said in a recent campaign speech. The Bush name will also be turned against George W, drawing on conservative dislike of his father, the former President.

Mr Bush needs to build and keep a coalition of voters from right and centre. His ideology is built around the idea of "compassionate conservat-ism". He will sketch some broad outlines in his Iowa speeches this weekend.

But the conservatives want the primaries to be about ideology and clear choices. And Mr Bush's rivals will hope that the "first date" metaphor works. "Most first dates don't live up to expectations," said David Kochel, Mr Alexander's campaign manager.

Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
world cup 2014A history of the third-place play-offs
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
life...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
arts + entsReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice