Friday, January 30, 2004

Strategic deterrence

I really enjoyed the Kerry/Heinz article cited to by Brian here. I think this bit (though not really related to the rest of the story) is particularly interesting:

"To that, Kerry says he won't spend any Heinz money on a campaign -- and Heinz says she won't make it available -- unless, in her words, an opponent engages in 'character assassination' against her or Kerry. As an example, Kerry says that if he is attacked in the way that McCain was attacked by George W. Bush before the South Carolina Republican primary in 2000, he would not hesitate to tap 'other resources.'"

Really interesting. I can't think of another example of something like this -- having a huge stash of money that acts as a deterrent to keep the other side playing by a particular set of rules. It reminds me somewhat of strategic over-construction to deter entry - but entry in a rather limited sense. I don't know if I'm comfortable, however, with the idea of someone having the financial power to dictate the terms of the campaign. Yes, it is his money (well, hers, fine), but it would be one thing to dictate terms based on financial superiority through donations -- it may be another to dictate terms based on a personal fortune. I guess this isn't really that different from Perot running and forcing certain issues into the campaign. Be that as it may, I'm not sure I like it.

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