Monday, November 20, 2006

Round One: We Are Underway

With the election almost two weeks past, we hear the first few "tap-tap', (early in the fight) jabs. In a boxing match, it's this kind of activity that just let's the opponent know you are there, while taking an opportunity to loosen up and get into the swing of things.

From the Telegraph comes this article.

Republican strategists plotting their party's comeback after it lost control of Congress have identified the "first lady" of Democrat politics as a key target in the 2008 White House campaign — even though she will not be running.

Senior party operatives told The Sunday Telegraph that they are already co-ordinating plans to attack Nancy Pelosi, the liberal Californian congresswoman and Speaker-in-waiting who suffered a damaging rebuff from her own party caucus last week.

The Republican strategy is not only to undermine Mrs Pelosi's control of the House but also to associate her in voters' minds with Senator Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner for the 2008 Democrat presidential nomination.


Sounds like trying to get off first from the opening bell, to me.

If we are to accept this article at face value, we must ask ourselves who are these so-called "senior party operatives"? Unnamed sources do not carry a lot of weight. But if that's not enough to dissuade someone from blindly accepting this at face value, we must consider other things.

The first thing to be looked poses an interesting question, in itself: Why would we expect anything else from the minority Republicans? After all, haven't we just experienced and been witness to a 5 year onslaught of the GOP, by the Dems? Or better yet, can we really be surprised that this might be the case?

The anti-Bush crowd has certainly had its say as the opposition party and to some degree, still they still do. They searched for and used any negative they could find to discredit any Republican, especially those in leadership. They dug and dug, and when they found something, they took it to the farthest length. When they didn't find something, they exaggerated, distorted, and even made things up. So, how is that any different from what this article is claiming?


It isn't.

Just as the Dems said their complaints were all fair game, so is this. But, now the shoe is on the other foot. And they must be reminded that this is the price you pay, when you are the party in power. Ideology, where you stand on the issues, means less than what many (including myself) would like for it to be. But the fact remains, it is what it is. And what it is, is politics.

We can decry it all we want. But unless we all demand better from our elected representatives, this is what we are going to get. If we really were to have any hope at all, the people are going to have to demand more accountability from every elected official. Whether they are Democrats, Republicans, Liberatarians, Socialists, or whatever, they must know who they work for and who hired them.

But know this: If this is to be successful it will take a couple more cycles of voting the party in power out. It will mean having the guts to vote against the ones that seemingly have no opposition, and have been in power for years. And that means voting against the ones that have become comfortable, in the role of career politician.

Nancy Pelosi is one those politicians

Oh yes, and the second thing that we must consider? The only person that can bring down Pelosi is Pelosi. The Murtha debacle was her own doing. So to worry about how the GOP is going to act is wasting valuable time. Because we know they are coming. If Pelosi behaves and performs properly, there will be nothing to worry about. But if not, we can safely bet that when they dig, they will find. When they find, they will capitalize. And that will be the undoing of the new Speaker, not some backroom political strategy.

9 comments:

All_I_Can_Stands said...

The media has largely gone along with the Dem's aggressive tactics that you describe very well. I do not think they will paint the same actions by the GOP in the same way. The rules are always different.

I share your doubt of these anonymous GOP strategy leaders. If they exist, I think the story was written before the author "found" someone that even vaguely fit the category.

This story shows the different rules I referred to already emerging. Basically when the Dems attack the GOP, the media acts as a magnifying glass and maximizes the controversy. When the GOP attacks the Dems the media is silent, distorts, moves on to other things quickly; and basically acts as a minimizing agent.

The media will continue to shred its credibility by continuing these practices.

Anonim said...

One more excerpt from the article quoted:

"Two years of Pelosi gives a good idea of what four years of Hillary will be like," said Tom DeLay, the Republican powerbroker [...]. "They are both committed liberals and we will make that clear to the American people."

I don't want to overreach my place as a guest here, so I won't quote what other unnamed Republican sources are attributed as saying in the article (everyone can access the full text after all). However, accepting the claim at face value seems only reasonable to me. I wasn't in the States back in the Bush Senior years, so I can't testify to the state of domestic politics back then, but I saw too well the level of inflated moral outrage campaign run against Clinton. Considering also the so-called "liberal media bias" drumroll, I think, Democrats, moderate Republicans, and the media all were cowed effectively, and people were taken to vote on values rather than for their immediate interests in 2000. It appears only natural to me that officials elected in this manner may lose their ways to make us say "we [should] demand better from [them]." As far as I can see, the Bush 2000 and 2004 campaigns, his administrative practice and Republican-controlled congressional practices put the country on a track where people will have to struggle with issues grander than themselves.

Looking back at these Bush years, I see (not in any particular order) one justified war, one totally mysterious --probably divinely-inspired-- war with no end in sight, tax-cuts, an aborted attempt to fix the social security system that probably wasn't broken, denial or distortion of scientific method/truth and all that intelligent design hype that put the middle America right there where the Islamic Green Belt might be, and an erosion of constitutional values and liberties that made America great and respectable even in the eyes of her opponents. The results are horrendous in my opinion: a perfectly good budget surplus turned into big deficits to burden a couple of generations down the road, a bigger and badder government hampered by an overseas nation-building enterprise, liberties sacrificed with no evident security benefits in return, ..., and a totally fed-up and disillusioned voter body (I think this last one is a good one).

I too am a cynic of sorts; it concerns me that Tom DeLay's kind of pointing at Liberal A as proof of how bad Liberal B will turn out to be might just work, and we may forget what we have gotten ourselves into by scare-mongering. Yes, it is what it is; it is politics unfortunately. But don't fret... As Borat might say, "Nancies Pelosi is veery nice; she has a mother-of-fives voice, and can still pulls the plow." (And, what a plow it is that she has to pull! The new congress has a lot to do to reclaim credibility by erasing its guilt of giving in to "you're unpatriotic if..." threats and shrinking from asking the hard questions. Same goes for the media in my opinion.

Anonim
Your attendant dissident, I guess...

Mark said...

Hear hear anonim...apt and well done summation of the bush years. And Borat on Pelosi.

All_I_Can_Stands said...

Anonim,

The new congress has a lot to do to reclaim credibility by erasing its guilt of giving in to "you're unpatriotic if..."

I have heard many Dems claiming they were accused of being unpatriotic. I cannot recall this charge ever being stated. If you have some quotes I would be interested. I would be especially interested if you find a quote that happened before the libs began whining about the patiotism thing.

LASunsett said...

Anonim,

//I don't want to overreach my place as a guest here//

You've been here enough that you are not just a guest, anymore. You are now a regular.

But as I have said before, you have free reign to disagree with whatever you want. I do not want an amen corner, but free-thinking individuals.

LASunsett said...

Anonim,

//I too am a cynic of sorts; it concerns me that Tom DeLay's kind of pointing at Liberal A as proof of how bad Liberal B will turn out to be might just work, and we may forget what we have gotten ourselves into by scare-mongering.//

I am not sure how much credibility Tom Delay still wields within the GOP or with the independents. And I am not sure that this strategy of painting Hillary with Nancy Pelosi's brush would be successful either.

If we had to make a comparison on a macro level, Pelosi is very liberal, Hillary is mildly so. But most people will cast their ballots on Hillary based on Hillary, not on what Pelosi does or doesn't do.

If Hillary takes the same stands as Nancy does and those stands are unpopular, then there is that chance that the GOP will have sufficient ammunition to pull this strategy off.

Red herrings may work with some people, but those that are smart enough to recognize the smokescreens will not be easily dissuaded.

Anonim said...

LASunsett,

//Red herrings may work with some people, but those that are smart enough to recognize the smokescreens will not be easily dissuaded.//

Sure hope so. But why not take an equally comfortable and confident position vis-a-vis the claim in the Telegraph article? You seemed to take an exception with it. I took an exception in turn.

All_I_Can_Stands,

<< Ashcroft [in his congressional testimony in December of 2001] asserted that Americans who disagreed with some of his anti-terrorist initiatives provided "ammunition to America's enemies." He said: "My message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists." >> (Ref: Honolulu Star-Bulletin)

I am not sure there was a literal accusation. I am not sure if one is needed, either. Call an act for which there is legitimate opposition "Patriot Act." The implication is clear enough. Or take Bush's "You are either with us, or against us." Though this was said in an outwardly fashion to other nations of the world, you cannot deny the inward effects of the rhetoric. In retrospect, and IMHO, this signifies the kick-off for the crazy ride the Bush administration took us all.

Do the Dems/liberals tend to "whine" too easily? Maybe. Do the Reps/conservatives complain too easily vis-a-vis imagined liberal tactics/plots and blind media assistance to such? I think so.

One thing we, I feel, may agree on is, despite (or maybe because of) all the technological advances in communications, there is too much punditry, spinning and twisting out there and too little news. I don't know what to do myself but use judgment and try to extract the news out of commentaries. I don't know what to do if we can't leave a Reuters report on a "report" alone, and see instead an ill-will against America by Reuters. Why not at least wait until someone jumps to the feared conclusions?

Maybe, politics is inside all of us, and we want to point fingers to potential plots or plotters before finger-pointing is due. A political defense mechanism?

LASunsett, thanks for your reassurance about the guest thing. I'll try to come to your Reuters commentary in the right place, under the original entry.

LASunsett said...

Anonim,

//But why not take an equally comfortable and confident position vis-a-vis the claim in the Telegraph article?//

If I understand your question correctly, it's mainly because I am not so sure that there are Republican strategists that are willing to show their hands. Anytime someone uses unnamed sources, I am suspicious. The sources could be actual, but there is always the chance they may not be.

You may have said it best here:

//Maybe, politics is inside all of us, and we want to point fingers to potential plots or plotters before finger-pointing is due. A political defense mechanism?//

That's exactly why a boxer wants to throw the first punch, to keep the opponent off balance.

Anonim said...

//That's exactly why a boxer wants to throw the first punch, to keep the opponent off balance.//

Yeah, that's it. I must have felt that's what you were doing too, and commented instinctively and a little too strongly (later I felt so) although I only have half a dog in this fight. I think the jury should still be out on the matter. I have a feeling that disclosures by political operatives (named or not) may be governed by more complicated mechanisms/concerns. Maybe giving the signal to your base is more important than hiding your hand in some situations.