(Written this morning, not posted until now.)
The Democrats showed up at a hockey game with badminton rackets. The Republicans weren’t there to play hockey, either – they brought machine guns.
Here’s what I’m talking about. In Georgia, (as had been done with Bush vs McCain in the South Carolina primary), the Republicans ran a draft-dodger against a war hero and won by questioning the war-hero’s patriotism. (Meanwhile, in Washington, the Republicans were quietly cutting Veterans’ benefits and health care.) They pulled it off by, as Joe Conason put it, fomenting an atmosphere of war to scare the shit out of the public and silence opposing voices. Was that good for the country? WHO CARES? The Republicans didn’t care, and the Democrats didn’t make it an issue.
The Democrats don’t get it. The Republican Party has been completely taken over by the far-far-right, and it is a new game. It isn’t about policy. It isn’t about what is good for the country. The Republican approach is, “What is it that we need to get the public to believe in order to get them to vote for us, how do we get them to believe it, and how do we keep them believing it?”
Look at it this way, if focus groups showed that a certain key group of South Dakota Democrats would not vote for Tom Daschle if they learned that he had secretly received a medal from the King of Siam, there would be a story on the Drudge Report that he had received a medal from the King of Siam, and it would be repeated in the Washington Times, and Rush Limbaugh would pick it up, and soon every media outlet in the country would be talking about it.
The story would have no basis in reality whatsoever – and that would not matter. Remember the story about Clinton selling Arlington National Cemetery plots? The public thinks there were “Clinton Scandals,” even though every single charge was proven false! That’s how it works. You don’t fight this kind of accusation by saying “No, I didn’t.” You can’t fight this sort of thing that way. You fight it by exposing the operation so the public sees what is going on underneath the phony stories.
The Democrats need to get in the game.