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.

News
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
people
News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
food + drinkTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
Arts and Entertainment
arts + entsWe have created an infogaphic that looks back over the previous incarnations of the Doctor
News
Australian rapper Iggy Azalea was left red faced but, thankfully, unhurt after taking a few too many steps backwards, sending her tumbling off the stage.
peopleIggy Azalea was left red faced but apparently unhurt after taking a few too many steps backwards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
newsComedian Lee Hurst started trend with first tweet using the hashtag
Sport
Romelu Lukaku scores during Everton's 3-0 win over Arsenal last season
LIVEFollow all the action as Everton take on Arsenal in the final Premier League game of the day
Life and Style
A nearly completed RoboThespian robot inside the Engineered Arts workshop is tested in Penryn, England. The Cornish company, operating from an industrial unit near Falmouth, is the world's only maker of commercially available life sized humanoid robots
techSuper-intelligent robots could decide destroying the human race is the kindest thing to do
News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
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
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Software Developer (Java /C# Programmer)- London

£30000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global investment management fi...

Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CCNP, Cisco, London)

£65000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CC...

Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, Cisco, CISSP)

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, C...

Senior Network Engineer-(Design, Implementation, CCIE)

£60000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(Design, ...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition