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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Some Reason from EJ Dionne

Normally getting me to blog about an E.J. Dionne column is pretty easy. I just toss up something like "E.J., WRONG AGAIN", etc. Then I read his column this morning "Beyond The War Spin" and actually agree with a bunch of it.

He wonders in the first paragraph where the conversation on Iraq goes after the elections this week, which is a legitimate though. He figures there are two options, one is to discuss fixing (his word is salvaging) US strategy, or spinning to not offend voters.

Here's a bet on the triumph of spin. Politicians, especially Democrats, will be discouraged from saying what they really believe about Iraq for fear of offending "swing voters." Slogans about "victory" and "defeatism" will be thrown
around promiscuously.

He's correct right there. Member of both parties are going to walk on eggshells for the next 11 months over how to address Iraq to not look weak, not look defeatist, and if they are Democrats, not look like a Bush supporter.

Of the new GOP "White Flag" ad that has garnered so much attention, and hatred from most of the folks on the left, Dionne writes:

Attacks of this sort on Democrats are effective because Democrats help make them so. Democrats are so obsessed with not looking "weak" on defense that they end up making themselves look weak, period, by the way they respond to Republican attacks on their alleged weakness. Oh my gosh, many Democrats say, we can't associate ourselves with the likes of Howard Dean or Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader who recently called for a troop withdrawal within six months. Let's knife them before Karl Rove gets around to knifing us. Talk about a recipe for retreat and defeat.

He misses the other reason this particular ad is so effective, it uses their own words. No one is putting them in to their mouths, they said them. Attacking their words always leads to the standard Democratic strawman, that by attacking their idea (or lack of one) you are attacking their patriotism.

They've been using that argument for a number of years now, since Max Cleeland was defeated in his house race. John Kerry resurfaced it last year for the Presidential election, and now of course they use it anytime someone says John Murtha's idea is bad. What they haven't figured out is that it's a bad argument that hasn't won them a race yet. If anything it has cemented their reputations as whiners.

Dionne goes on to point out that the Democrats biggest problem is they are divided on the war, so getting a unified message out is pretty tough. He also points out that polls show most of the general GOP population (voters, not elected officials) are also divided, but not getting nearly as much press. That may be because the GOP leadership is more unified on the war effort, the Republicans don't have Bill Frist yelling one message, Denny Hastert another, and the President a third.

Now to the part I disagree with. Dionne makes reference to the President's speech yesterday, saying that his admission that "things did not always go as planned" in Iraq and that last January's elections "were not without flaws." From an administration that never admits mistakes, that's progress.

The fact is, if EJ wants to go back and look at the last two years of speeches the President has consistently said that this is not going to be easy or quick, and that there will be rough spots. I guess he's been getting all his coverage through the filtered front page of the paper he works at.

His final lines in the column is disguised swipe at the GOP ad:
Message to Democrats: Buck up. Message to Republican ad makers: Democracy is about improving government through the uninhibited exchange of ideas. And, yes, our soldiers and enemies are watching.

He is correct about the uninhibited exchange of ideas. What he forgot in that paragraph was to tell the Democrats to come up with some realistic ones.

Murtha's plan sounds good in sound bites, but when you look at the details you realize it won't work. His "over the horizon force" would be stationed in Okinawa, which isn't exactly "in the region" as he says in his speeches, in fact to move 15,000 marines from Okinawa to Iraq would take 2-3 weeks, probably longer since no vessels to move them are stationed there.

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8Comments:

Blogger Freedomnow said...

Good catch calling out E.J. on this statement, "From an administration that never admits mistakes, that's progress"

Bush’s critics continually spew lies over and over in the hope that they will be accepted as truth. Among the radical Leftwing they have no problem achieving this result and they have a certain degree of success with those in the center.

The truth is that Bush was quick to admit that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that mistakes were made in the post-liberation period.

What they are trying to do is to discredit the determination of the Bush Administration. In order to win this war we need that kind of hardnosed Winston Churchill styled determination.

Bush's critics are afraid of the persistence that he has shown because it could win the war. Winning the war would be a disaster for Bush's critics.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Jeff H said...

Just once, when one of those idiot Dems whine about someone attacking their patriotism, I'd like to hear a reporter ask them, "Can you prove you're a patriot, other than by claiming that 'dissent is a form of patriotism'?"

11:46 AM  
Blogger Rebekah said...

It's a shame that even when people like Dionne double-cross us and decide to make sense, they have to throw in ridiculous caveats like those. I have a theory - maybe when they make sense it's a plan - to give their caveats more credit. Y' never know...

4:05 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Freedom... You are correct, however, the MSM hasn't given Bush much credit for the fact he's admitted mistakes in Iraq. The guys on Fox have occasionally whacked a few liberals with facts, and it dumbfounds them, and then they scream BUSH LIED!!!

Jeff, I always want them to ask "What was the exact phrase that attacked your patriotism?" The only answer would be crickets chirping.

'Bekah, I actually think you are probably right. Hell, I do it here. I admit I agree with certain (but few) of the Democrats principles and people. It makes you look like less of a shill for one side or another if you can point out that you don't go "lockstep" with a single group.

5:40 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

I wonder what they will by saying when Iraq is a stable democracy (be it a year from now or 10 years).

8:56 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

They won't acknowledge it until there is a Democrat in the White House.

Just like Kerry used to call Viet Nam "Nixon's War", even though it was entered into by Kennedy and acclerated by Johnson. They will call a stable Iraq "Whatever Dem is in office's Iraq".

8:59 PM  
Blogger The_Bos'un said...

John "Jack" Murtha was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1974. Murtha appears to have had a liberal voting record on economic issues and then supported the military on military issues. Murtha was the chair of the defense appropriations subcommittee before the Republicans took over the House in 1994 and was one of the pork barrel democrats. Murtha has not been a "barn burner" and led a rather non-descript career until he thrust himself into the limelight with his irrational ranting of late. We know that the extreme left wing has hijacked the Democratic Party and they, the Dems, have not been quite rational since.

Why has Murtha being billed as the "hawkish" democratic congressman by the mainstream media (MSM)? He voted for the war initially, as did most other Dems including John "The Waffle" Kerry. However, Murtha is on record starting in 2003, as having reservations about the war. Murtha cranked up his anti-war rhetoric in 2004.

True, Murtha is a decorated Marine with about seven years of active service. Murtha spent the remainder of his career as a drilling reservist and was promoted to the rank of Colonel before he retired. Murtha was a citizen - soldier. Murtha deserves a strong "thank you" for his formidable seven years of military service. But, he should leave the running of the military to the Commander in Chief, Sec Def, Joint Chief, and military personnel. For sure Murtha does not deserve a pass on the insults he has thrown of late about military readiness and publicity stunts that he pulled on our President. Our military personnel are currently in harms way and Murtha is essentially say let’s cut and retreat. His over the horizon ideas are asinine. As far as our President, he has been up front with us since the start. He said it was not going to be a cake walk and that the war on terror was going to be a long one. General Myers had made some very good observations about the Caliphate plans of our adversaries. The Dems are floundering and trying to seize at anything to regain their power base. They are the dangerous ones, that’s for sure.

1:49 AM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Bos'n I agree with you on thanking Murtha, and also that service doesn't make one immune to critism. I find it funny some one the left have beaten up Danny Bubp (Cowards Cut and Run, Marines Don't!) because he only had 6 years active duty, the rest in the reserves.

4:14 AM  

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