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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
News
i100
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015