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Hullabaloo


Thursday, June 22, 2006

 
We're Not That Innocent

by digby

... at least I hope not.


This is a psych-out, Democrats. You know that don't you?

... people who attended a series of high-level meetings this month between White House and Congressional officials say President Bush's aides argued that it could be a politically fatal mistake for Republicans to walk away from the war in an election year.

White House officials including the national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, outlined ways in which Republican lawmakers could speak more forcefully about the war. Participants also included Mr. Bush's top political and communications advisers: his deputy chief of staff, Karl Rove; his political director, Sara Taylor; and the White House counselor, Dan Bartlett. Mr. Rove is newly freed from the threat of indictment in the C.I.A. leak case, and leaders of both parties see his reinvigorated hand in the strategy.

The meetings were followed by the distribution of a 74-page briefing book to Congressional offices from the Pentagon to provide ammunition for what White House officials say will be a central line of attack against Democrats from now through the midterm elections: that the withdrawal being advocated by Democrats would mean thousands of troops would have died for nothing, would give extremists a launching pad from which to build an Islamo-fascist empire and would hand the United States its must humiliating defeat since Vietnam.


It's ballsy and it's "bold," but what would you expect from a party that is looking at losing its majority in the fall? Of course they are going to try to run on some faux, patriotic, don't "cut n run" crapola. What else have they got? It's their tried and true playbook and the best they can hope for is to trash talk the Democrats into cowering into the corner.

But just because they are running their game again that doesn't mean that Democrats need to run theirs and get all flustered trying to find a way to appear to support whatever the Republicans say without actually supporting them so they don'tlook soft --- and end up looking soft. That is losing politics and never more than now when we have these bastards on the run for the first time in decades.

As U.S. Grant famously said "it's time to stop worrying about what Bobby Lee is going to do to us and start thinking about what we are going to do to him."

Go on the offensive on the war, Democrats. Hard. Do not fall for this nonsense again. This is Karl Rove at his most obtuse and obvious. He is not magic (although his latest escape certainly adds to his mystique on that count) and he is not a genius. He's a cheap thug who is going to try to squeeze one more narrow win out before he retires to teach and lecture younger cheap thugs in how to win by cheating and character assassination.

The best approval rating Bush gets on Iraq is below 40%. Independents are breaking heavily against his policies. There is nothing to be afraid of. The country's desperate for some leadership. Give it to them. I'm begging you.

Update: I see that Greg Sargent at the Horse's Mouth discussed this earlier from a different angle, by noting that the elite media always seem to categorize the Republicans as being on offense and the Dems as being on defense, when in fact the parties are attacking each other furiously.

This is an important observation. The problem has been that the Democrats have too often in the past reacted to the elite media and began to see themselves as being on the defensive. It's a Dem disease. They seem to pay too much attention to the political press and don't keep their ear to the ground very effectively out in the country.

They must resist this impulse. It is bullshit, particularly in this situation. This is Bush's war, it's dramatically unpopular, it's a horrible meatgrinder and the country has grown tired of the lies. If anyone is on the defensive it's Bush and his Eunuch Caucus who have made this war their pet cause. The press doesn't want to report it that way because it feels uncomfortable for them to pile on Republicans. They get a lot of shit for it and are never happier than when they can align themselves with the establishment.

But no matter. The people were able to see through the gauzy, Woodward-created hagiography of Dear Leader after a while and they still do. The fall election is a turnout election. Rank and file Dems will support the party if the party supports them.

Let's not lose our nerve here.



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