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Diogenes finds an honest Democrat

By Michael J. Smith on Wednesday March 15, 2006 09:28 PM

The Nation magazine sent me an e-mail today calling my attention to this piece by Ari Berman.
Iraq returned as a central theme in George W. Bush's State of the Union address this year. With the war on the minds of many members of the public and with the 2006 midterm elections approaching, it seemed natural that the opposition party would forcefully challenge the President's policy. Instead, the Democrats ducked and covered.
Dog bites man. Ari did drop, perhaps intentionally, perhaps not, a droll observation:
Rahm Emanuel, a leading party strategist, didn't even mention Iraq when asked on television what his party would do differently from the Republicans....
Well, Rahm was being truthful, then, if only by his silence. They wouldn't do anything different, in spite of the self-deluding hopes of donkey addicts -- people who just can't stop themselves from walking into that booth and pulling that lever and telling themselves they could stop any time they want to.

Lots of good stuff in this piece, actually:

[Demo "strategist" Paul] Begala praises Bob Casey Jr., a conservative Democrat from Pennsylvania who's criticized his opponent, Senator Rick Santorum, for his allegiance to President Bush but has also indicated that he would have voted for the Iraq War and has ruled out any plan for troop withdrawals. Karl Struble, a media consultant to Kaine and former Senator Tom Daschle who'll produce campaign spots for Democratic Senate candidates in Arizona, Nebraska, Washington and West Virginia, says that Iraq "can't or shouldn't be the primary thing Democrats talk about" in '06 campaigns. "When the tree's gonna fall, the best thing to do is stay out of the way," he says.
So Begala is praising this paragon Casey for -- well, for incoherent, demented, self-contradicting doubletalk, for word salad that would make a confabulating Korsakoff patient seem cogent by comparison, for tying himself in dialectical knots that would defeat the ingenuity of a topologist to describe.

And it's wonderful, in a way, how guilelessly candid they are. "Wait for the tree to fall" -- that's the "strategy," isn't it? It's interesting, really, that they think they can get away with being this honest. I guess it's because they're confident that the only people who will read this stuff are people who are already self-convinced that they have nowhere else to go.

Comments (2)

Incoherent, demented, self-contradicting doubletalk? Oh, you mean democrats!

Meanwhile, here in Stumptown, the aparent wisdom in the blogosphere is that a unified mesage beyond "Bush sucks" isn't neccessary because you don't need one to win local elections:


Note the tactful avoidance of any mention that Oregon Democrats have not been able to achieve anything beyond a razor-thin majority in Salem for years now. I don't suppose that there could be some kind of figure-8 going on there: Lack of unified message leads to tiny or non-existent majorities-- which leads to inaction on the important state and local issues, which leads the public to decide that one party is much like the other, so what difference does it make if one team has a signifigant majority or not?

The conventional wisdom usually says that the public doesn't want one party to have too much power. That's supposed to flatter the voters as pragmatists who are above all that icky partisan stuff, I guess. Yet, we're also supposed to deplore all the "gridlock" over schools and so forth. So it's "pragmatism" when nothing controversial is being discussed, but it's "gridlock" the rest of the time.

My guess is that if I went over there and said anything along these lines, I'd get burnt at the stake. Of course, we all know how easy it is for the Reds and Blues to get it together when they have a common enemy: That's how we ended up with H.B. 2614.


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