Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Ramping Up the Rhetoric Won't Do It Anymore

Having thought it through, the White House has decided that describing a majority of the U.S. Congress as accessories to murder might be going a bit far.
The Washington Post reports that White House press secretary Tony Snow said yesterday that he "overstated the president's position" in using the word "murder" in describing the stem cell research bill Bush just vetoed:
Snow described Bush's position last Tuesday, the day before the veto. "The president believes strongly that for the purpose of research it's inappropriate for the federal government to finance something that many people consider murder. He's one of them," Snow said from the White House. "The simple answer is he thinks murder's wrong."
There is something about how the brain is wired that leads some politicians to ramp up the rhetoric when things aren't going their way. Simple minds seek simple answers.
Take Newt Gingrich, who has a rather sophisticated political mind, but tends towards the simplistic in his rhetoric. Our Iraq misadventure drags on, 1,181 days after Mission Accomplished Day. So what does this statesman suggest we do? As reported in the Seattle Times, he thinks that we double down and declare World War III.
"This is World War III," Gingrich said. And once that's accepted, he said calls for restraint would fall away.
Of course, this isn't merely a matter of statecraft:
There is a public relations value, too. Gingrich said that public opinion can change "the minute you use the language" of World War III. The message then, he said, is "'OK, if we're in the third world war, which side do you think should win?"
Gingerich wants to take us back to the rhetoric of previous election cycles, when Republicans kept telling us that Democrats either don't have the spine to protect our national interest or just couldn't be bothered. The trouble with this line of argument is that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their ilk have made a mess of things and can hardly blame those who dared to disagree along the way for the way things have turned out.
If you're in power, it's not enough to say who you think ought to win. It's your job to see to it that our national interest is advanced by designing and executing a winning strategy.
The Washington Post's Dana Milbank writes of one (anonymous) Republican senator understands the difficult position his party is in:
The candidate, immersed in one of the most competitive Senate races in the country, sat down to lunch yesterday with reporters at a Capitol Hill steakhouse and shared his views about this year's political currents.
On the Iraq war: "It didn't work. . . . We didn't prepare for the peace."
On the response to Hurricane Katrina: "A monumental failure of government."
On the national mood: "There's a palpable frustration right now in the country."
It's all fairly standard Democratic boilerplate -- except the candidate is a Republican.
More bellicose rhetoric isn't going to help when the problem for Republicans is that they've been in charge, and they are facing an electorate increasingly inclined to hold them accountable for the way they've run the country.
Update: ABC News has the story that Michael Steele of Maryland is the anonymous GOP Senate candidate.


Blogger jason said...

...and they are facing an electorate increasingly inclined to hold them accountable for the way they've run the country.

And yet I heard Rush the yesterday and caller said that Clinton was responsible for Iraq because he "degraded our intellengence capacity."

I don't know how some of these dolts manage to button up thier shirts in the morning.

2:15 PM, July 25, 2006  

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