The Iraq chatter in the past week has been awful--AWFUL for the President. And two key campaigns that have been heavily Iraq focused have, nonetheless, gone down in the polls: Webb and Lamont. If the public is voting for Dems because they are angry about Iraq, then Woodward's book should have shot every campaign over the top. That's not what happened.
I watched Webb interviewed by Blitzer the other day and when asked about the Foley affair he said he had nothing to say. I thought that was a big, big mistake. I think a basic error is being made by some campaigns: they are viewing their issues as more important than this Foley affair, essentially seeing themselves as better than this issue--instead of asking why this Foley affair is having such a huge impact on the American public, and then finding ways to apply what they learn by answering that question.
I think both Lamont and Webb are going to go a few points backwards this week as a result of this error.
My sense in watching this whole thing unfold is that the corruption of the Republican Congress is a huge, huge bipartisan issue that leads people to conclude very quickly and clearly that the solution is to vote them out.
Iraq, by contrast, is the morally superior issue, but it is still caught up in confusion--people are against the war/occupation, but they blame Bush, have doubts about the Democrats, wonder where to go next--it's just not as clear.
I believe very strongly that we cannot afford to make this mistake--the mistake of seeing the Foley thing as just a sex scandal that is more important than the "real" issues.
I think these additional versions of that same chart give a fuller picture of what's happening.
Bush has stayed constant:
I hate to say this, but based on these Technorati charts alone--which are by no way scientific--it does seem that at least in terms of blog chatter that the Foley story is having more of an impact than talking about Iraq. Sad, perhaps, but true.
But it also seems a bit insider-baseball to me. It's basically an ad about Joe Lieberman's ads. Kind of makes Ned look like an irate product spokesperson instead of a candidate.
I wonder if the drop in the polls is reflecting the "celebrity death match" dynamic that's emerged in this race--Lamont and Lieberman locked in a death match that's left the people of Connecticut out of the loop a bit?
My favorite ad is still the very first one--with Lamont at home and the mighty-mighty bloggers barging in to help him. That ad has so much heart. It makes me smile just thinking of it.
Hours earlier, ABC News had read excerpts of instant messages provided by former male pages who said the congressman, under the AOL Instant Messenger screen name Maf54, made repeated references to sexual organs and acts.
for this post. I wrote emails with slight variation on what your wording. In case anyone is interested:
Please vote "no" on S. 3930.
This unAmerican bill betrays the United States Constitution and will not help our efforts to secure the country. It violates the spirit of our people, our history, and our heritage. Moreover, torture does not lead to useful intelligence, but only to a muddy moral future for our ourselves and our children.
Thank you for your service and for your leadership.
I don't disagree with your suggested wording, but just thought some variation might not be bad either.
This is has been a really tough week trying to weather this thing. I think everyone deserves a "well done for holding it together."
It alll started over the past few days with many front-pagers on various blogs (MyDD, Kos, FDL) who were very critical of al Dems in preparation for what looked like a capitulation on this torture bill. It felt to me like the front-pagers across the blogs had lost faith in the party leadership. Then, today, in what seemed like a natural progresssion, there were a spate of diaries in the blogs that pretty much carried on that negative tone--in particular, one very big diary at kos. Then, thankfully--a few hours ago--the front-pagers stepped up and started talking about staying positive, Kos, FDL, not MyDD.
I feel like it's been really had for the readers and the front-pagers of the blogs to get in sync on this one--but we did it. Personally, I've hard a had time fluctuating between what I know we need to do (stay focused on Nov 7) and what I feel I want to do (throw a brick at the party leadership for taking so long to step up and be vocal on the is torture bill).
I can see, now, that we are settling into a strategy of contextualizing our emotions with pragmatism, but it was tough--really tough.
So, I give everyone credit for fending off this Rovian tactic and generally keeping our heads over the past few days--front-pagers, readers...the whole shebang.
Well done, everyone. Especially the front-pagers for some very agile shuttle diplomacy back and forth.
What I see is that Democrats who don't "do politics" 24/7 like bloggers--they still really love Clinton. In fact, they don't just love him--they LOVE him!
So while we are parsing the legacy of Clinton (which is a reasonable thing to do), we could also be making better use of him as a real rallying point for turning out the base.
That might start here on the big blogs with a series of posts across the top tier, something along the lines of: "Love him or not, Big Dog turns out the big vote! And that's what we need right now. So let's get him out there! Draft Big Dog for GOTV!"
It's time to take that "guilty pleasure" and send him into the field to turn up the heat.
I think you mean...he's underming "Progressives" with this talk.
I say that because many Democrats (as opposed to Progressives) believe--really believe, not just talk--that pulling of Iraq will be a disaster.
I think Matt's post really hits the nail on the head. There's a conflict we feel in Bill Clinton between how we want a Democrat to behave and how we want a Democrat to believe. We want them to act like a tough Democrat and have positions like a smart Progressive. Clinton gives us one side of the menu only.
For my money, we can't do better than Bill Clinton just ignoring the rules of an interview and taking over Fox News for 20 minutes the way he did in that video. His behavior was absolutely beautiful.
But then, when that moment is over, I come back to those Clinton issue positions--Iraq in particular--and I loose my buzz. Damn! I wish he wasn't the grandaddy of al "centrists."
I think that's the "guilty pleasure" that Matt talks about. This idea that we want Clinton to come out bare-knuckle swinging because nobody draws blood better than him when he's "on." But we feel guilty because we also know that he really enjoys sharing the stage with Murdoch, he really believes this "centrist" stuff--and worst of all--that he really wants the chance to do the Iraq occupation better than Bush, instead of pulling out.
I imagine this kind of "guilty pleasure" is what most people at the Big Dog lunch from last week felt. And whether or not I appreciate Bill Clinton more, I can appreciate that "guilty pleasure" much more now after this latest Fox News smackdown.