Sunday, March 19, 2006

Eleanor Clift thinks Democrats should be spayed

Eleanor Clift mistakenly concludes that Senator Feingold's motion to censure President Bush for his law-breaking in the NSA FISA Wiretapping scandal is a political disaster for the democrats.

She writes:
The broader public sees [Feingold's censure motion] as political extremism. Just when the Republicans looked like they were coming unhinged, the Democrats serve up a refresher course on why they can’t be trusted with the keys to the country.
Ok, this brings a couple of questions to mind.
  1. She cites no evidence for her first claim. The poll out Friday by the American Research Group is very clear: in two separate questions, 48% were in favor of censure, and 43% are in favor of impeachment. Right or wrong, Feingold is not being extreme, he is being prescient.
  2. Why in the world is this idiot considered liberal? She spends this entire column spitting out Republican talking points about the censure motion, and treating Democrats with open contempt.
She also writes:
Nor could it have come at a better time for a Republican Party still battered by bad news in the polls. The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC survey, released earlier this week, shows that Bush’s job approval rating at its lowest ever—37 percent—as a majority of Americans lose confidence that the Iraq war will end successfully. The same poll shows a significant uptick in the country’s willingness to accept a Democratic Congress, with 50 percent of those questioned saying they would prefer the party to control Congress. Thirty-seven percent say they want it controlled by Republicans.
Her argument is just too meta-meta for me, too inside baseball to make any sense whatsoever. After listing multiple reasons why the GOP and the Bush administration is in trouble, She concludes, without evidence, that Feingold's resolution will serve as a boost to the Republican Party.

Well, why? Why not attack? Why not convene Congress to insist that President Bush obey the laws they write. Why would it be a liability to point out that Bush's administration has repeatedly, flagrantly, and unabashedly decided what laws they would and would not follow, on torture and on wiretapping? Isn't this Carville's proverbial anchor?

When Newt Gingrich started his bomb-throwing campaign of extreme conservatism in the House, it was the mid-1980s. It took him a long time to build up the financial and personal networks that led him to become speaker. He started as one of the most irresponsible and extreme Representatives in office. By the early 90s, he had used his fund-raising skills to become essential to a large group of present and future congressional reps, and they pissed and moaned about every little thing that Clinton had done for eight years. They spoke of Clinton as some kind of demonic presence: every misstep he took was the cause of endless hearings and interminable, pointless investigations. Some commentators, like Rush Limbaugh, accused Clinton of murdering Vincent Foster and raping of his underlyings. Military actions he took were roundly criticized, always on political grounds. There was never any proof of anything except Clinton was a bad husband. There were never any consequences to these attacks on a sitting President.

These events did not occur during the Edwardian era, this was just six fucking years ago. And now, even as Clift cedes Bush's unpopularity, she claims that an attack on him will not succeed, because... why? Because he's popular? No, all polls have him in the 33-38% bracket. Because attacks on him will make him more popular? No, it's no political misstep to remind the public, which has concluded on its own that Bush is an obvious boob and twit, that the Bush administration has openly broken the law. Because he has broken the law. He admits it.

Her conclusions are of someone so deep inside the Washington beltway that she has forgotten how ordinary people think and react. Bush is an incompetent and incurious man, who cannot do his job. This is becoming a hardened belief among a majority of Americans; but Clift acts like we secretly love the guy. We don't. An attack on Bush will not necessarily rebound on the attacker, no matter how much the Republicans go into their Br'er Rabbit routine, and no matter how craven the Democrats are in not taking up Feingold's motion as their own.

In her most maddening paragraph yet, Clift ends her essay with this fart in the elevator:
Brzezinski, a hawk during the Carter administration, has emerged as a hero among progressives frustrated by their party’s unwillingness to take a stand. Democrats have been "silent or evasive" on the war, he said, offering no alternative, which is "a form of political desertion." If Democrats don’t want to talk about censure, they could change the topic in an instant with a credible exit plan from Iraq.
This is simply imbecilic. When Representative John Murtha (D-PA) gave a speech in November with a credible exit plan from Iraq, this brave man, with decades of service, was openly and immediately attacked as a coward and a traitor. I obviously wish the Democrats would take on Bush in a more direct way, but it is clear there is an instant cost to doing so. You would never know this episode had happened from the way Clift ended her essay.

The Republicans have inmeshed the country in an unwinnable war that will forever sully our national honor, the Republicans have spent us into a 9 trillion deficit after an orgy of spending combined with tax cuts for rich people, and the Republicans are now conspiring with the Bush administration to overlook admitted crimes. As the polls show, people are starting to notice.


Anonymous wrd said...

Feingold would have helped the cause more had he shown the censure motion to his fellow dems (and getting them to sign on) before releasing it. Maybe he did? Anyway, even though Feingold's points are right, he came off looking like a one-man band. (Only Prince can pull that one off.)

Monday, 20 March, 2006  
Blogger travis said...

yes, he definitely did weaken the overall effect and the chances of a censure ever passing by going solo in this manner. It may have worked out perfectly for him, in that his popularity went up 30 points in one day. It would also naturally work to irk the big zoo of egos that it is the senate.

I wondered if he was specifically trying to get the news out before Hilary Clinton could respond. Whatever happens, he is associated with the censure motion, not people with greater name recognition.

And of course, the liberal end of the blogosphere swooned as soon as he did this, so he has increased his early-money advantage over other 1998 candidates.

Monday, 20 March, 2006  
Anonymous rle said...

Not so sure here, or at least he had a convincing cover story about why he went out on his own. He's argued (in much more subdued tones) that Democrats would have kneecapped him if they knew what he was up to. Have to agree with him, and now the CW seems to be shifting about how useful this is for Democrats.

Tuesday, 21 March, 2006  

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