My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Thank God For This Opposition

Donald Lambro in the Washington Times reports today on some advice the Democrats have been getting.

House and Senate Democrats have asked the authors of a sharply critical analysis of their party's strategic election weaknesses to brief them on their political proposals in preparation for the 2008 presidential campaign cycle.

The 70-page report, "The Politics of Polarization," by two veteran Democratic strategists who worked in the Clinton White House, takes the party and former presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, to task for being weak on national security and cultural issues. It also criticizes them for championing a liberal agenda that has driven centrist, married and religious voters into the Republican column.

This is interesting, and, well, to most of us, somewhat obvious. So you would think it would be easy to expect the Dems to take this advice, which could spell trouble for Republicans. But you would be wrong.

Mr. Galston and Ms. Kamarck have been down this road before. They co-wrote a similarly stinging critique of the Democrats' 1988 presidential campaign, titled "The Politics of Evasion," charging that liberal Democrats "were clinging to a series of myths that thwarted critical thinking and needed change."

Re-examining many of the party's same strategic mistakes in his latest study, Mr. Galston said, "I've seen this movie before. Here we are 16 years later and the sequel is very much the same."

In my opinion, the White House has been pretty bad at the public relations game for quite a while now. To some degree, I find it nearly miraculous that the President won re-election, given the ineptness of the WH communications effort coupled with the overwhelmingly biased press coverage of the last two years. And it hasn't been any better lately--since about mid-July it's been as if all the smart people left the country. Consider Sheehan, the economy, Katrina, Harriet Miers, and the lack of shouting about our other foreign policy successes (Lebanon, North Korea).

If I had my way, the President would ask to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night in prime time with network coverage. I would ask the Prime Minister of Iraq and General Patreus to be in the front row, and I would shout about the great success of this weekend's Iraq vote from the loudest bully pulpit in the civilized world. I would follow that with a loud and forceful OFFENSE on the Miers nomination, including, if necessary, a sharp rebuke of conservative critics who have criticized her nomination because they DON'T HAVE ENOUGH INFORMATION.

It's time for the White House to get off the schneid [ed. query: what's a "schneid", and why does anyone get on one?] on the public relations game and start demonstrating the public leadership that drew the American public to the President's side in the days after 9/11.

But I'm not holding my breath for that to happen.

So, short of the White House getting better about this, I think all we can do is take comfort in the fact that any bad news requires an opponent capable of capitalizing on it. And, lucky for us, the opponent in this case is the Democrats.

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