President Forever 2004 is the perfect computer sim for political junkies. I bought the full version last week (only $12, well worth it!) and have run through six campaigns so far with Dubya kicking my ass all but once. He beat Kerry twice, paired up with Edwards and then Gephardt, neither of whom helped carry their home states. He beat Kucinich twice, with Edwards and then Clark, again with neither VP delivering their home states. Kucinich's default setup is oddly to the right of the real deal. Not drastically, but subtly enough to illustrate the annoying nuances of politics that leave us with choices like Kerry or Bush.
In the last two campaigns, I made myself the Democratic candidate using the Candidate Editor that lets you create new candidates or tweak existing ones. It's similar to some of the Selectors that match you up with a candidate based on your stance on various issues. The first time out, I ran with Gephardt and got trounced. The second time, though, running with Clark and a totally different strategy, I beat Dubya soundly, even taking a few southern states, including Clark's home of Arkansas. The main difference in approach that time was a focus on research that uncovered three different scandals on Bush; heavy barnstorming in swing states, including entrenching Clark in Arkansas and its neighbors for the final two weeks; heavy preparation for the three debates, each of which I won handily; and then a final week TV ad blitz, the only advertising I did for the entire campaign.
Not only did I win but I still had about $50 million of the $72 million I started out with in the bank! Take that Howard Dean!!!
In the real world, Kerry's back on the campaign trail after a relaxing week of skiing. And, presumably, another round of Botox shots as he's looking unusually smooth again. Way to connect with the average American there, Johnny boy!
I need to start boning up on my Spanish over the next few months because, if Bush wins, moving to Spain will become a really tempting option.