Steve Gilliard on tracking journalists
Atrios sounds the call
Dionne on the rational hatred of Bush
Krugman on so-called boom
TNR on Wolfy — focusing on postwar would have diminished support (implication –> just go in, we’ll be “too big to fail”)Early this week, the Republicans gave a preview of their strategy for taking down Howard Dean if he becomes the Democratic nominee for president:
“Voters don’t normally vote for an angry, pessimistic person to be president of the country,” Matthew Dowd, a senior Bush adviser, said as he pressed the anti-Dean theme this week in an interview at Mr. Bush’s re-election campaign headquarters. “They want somebody, even if times are not great, to be forward looking and optimistic.”Atrios was right on the spot with the nightmare scenario of where this could be going:
Look for it to be coming out of every Republican’s mouth soon, and then it will increasingly creep into “objective” reporting. The process will go something like this. First, they’ll quote Bush campaign sources describing Dean as “pessimistic.” Next, they’ll move onto Democratic campaign sources, often anonymous, describing Dean as “pessimistic.” Next, they’ll stop bothering getting the quote and just write things like, “Some have criticized Dean for his unappealing pessimism…” And, then, finally, process complete, campaign analysis pieces in print and the “objective journalists” on the roundtable shows, will just write/say things like “Dean’s pessimistic rhetoric…” By the end no discussion or news story about Dean will see the light of day without the word “pessimism.”Like it or not, this is the way the political game is played. Given that even most people who vote don’t pay much attention to campaigns, the Bushites have long since mastered the art of appealing to ignorance by pounding on broad, simple themes and visceral impressions.
But as I’ve noted before, Dean has some sense of how to play that thematic game, too. In one of my first Needlenose posts a year ago, I called this ability the key requirement for beating Bush, and Dean demonstrated it in again in an overlooked article in yesterday’s Washington Post:
“National security and economic security are the touchstones of the election,” he said in the interview after a rally Monday in Green Bay, Wis. “I think the president has been fairly reckless in just about every area I can think of.”The key isn’t just that he’s repeating his themes; it’s that he’s appealing to something that (in my opinion) people will find believable on a visceral level. Dubya works overtime trying to broadcast his steely determination and absolute certainty as part of his image as Decisive, Steadfast Bush. But the flip side of that is an inability to admit mistakes, arrogance, and a certain amount of mean-spiritedness — and even lazy observers can grasp that. I expect that Dean will keep pushing these rhetorical buttons, and I’m glad he will.
Dean accused Bush of taking “enormous risks” by refusing to negotiate with North Korea, permitting “warlords” to control much of Afghanistan and failing to address the most serious threats to homeland security.
. . . More than once, Dean drew direct connections between Bush’s 10-year, $3 trillion tax cuts and critical security investments. “If you think tax cuts are more important than homeland security, then I think you’ve made a mistake as president, and clearly that puts us in greater danger,” he said in the interview.
. . . By choosing “ideology over facts,” he added, the Republican administration is “not only a failure, but the most dangerous administration in my lifetime.”