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Sunday, June 25, 2006

ALTERed Reality

Jonathan Alter has an interesting op/ed piece in this weeks Newsweek Magazine, "How To Beat Cut and Run". It is not, as the title suggests, a way for the Democrats to beat the charge that every Iraq policy they've proposed has been the equivalent of cutting and running. Instead, it's a look at how he feels Karl Rove can beat the Democrats by turning their Iraq strategy into a political liability, and getting them to ignore it.

The problem with Mr. Alter's column, though, is the altered state of reality it uses as a basis for most of it's charges and innuendo about Rove.

For example, this line, "...that thousands of ailing Americans will ultimately die because of Bush's position on stem-cell research".

The reality of the situation is that Bush is doing something no president before him did, fund embryonic stem cell research. For an outstanding history lesson on embryonic research, and the laws controlling it, click here.

The truth on Bush's policy is that he's allowing federal funding where none was available for embryonic research previously. The caveat that has everyone up in arms is that he deemed that "existing lines" of embryos from invitro fertilization that were available prior to August of 2001 to be the only ones eligible for the funding.

The standard tactic of confusing folks by not differentiating between adult and embryonic stem cells is one thing, but the charge that folks will die is another. Alter fails to note that there have been exactly zero breakthrough treatments in the world with embryonic stem cells. Adult stem cells have been used in dozens, and have seen funding go up during the Bush administration.

He also doesn't mention that of the 400+ 'lines' of embryos available in Aug. 2001, less than 10% have been used for research since then.

Another interesting point in his article concerns the "swift boating" of John Kerry. While he doesn't implicitly blame Karl Rove for the actions of the Swift Boat Veterans for truth, he implies that it was a 'Rovian plot'.

Again, truth screws up Alter's perception. John O'Neill, the biggest critic of Kerry, has been challenging Kerry on his Viet Nam record since 1971, hardly Rove's era. Real Clear Politics laid out a very convincing case against Kerry, again, earlier this month, questioning the media's handling of the case.

So what is Alter's strategy for beating Rove at his own game? Forcing Democrats to ignore Rove, and concentrate on Iraq. As I mentioned a few days ago, that could become a dangerous strategy for them.

The Iraqi Prime Minister today presented parliament with his plan for reunification of the country, and the slow the insurgency. If, after debate in Iraq, the policy proves to be a success, any Democrat who follows the Alter/Kos strategy for winning in November would be on the wrong side of the issue.

Alter, like the folks at Daily Kos, and Senators Kerry, Feingold, Levin, and Boxer and Rep. Murtha would suddenly find themselves defending the "cut and run" policy, when "stay the course" turned out to be the right solution.

While many of them make constant reference to "poll show that....", the truth is, if the insurgency is quelled over the next few months by the new government, polls will immediately go the other way.

In fact, one of the difficulties Democrats, and liberal pundits like Alter seem to have with George Bush is that unlike his predecessor when the words "polls show" are uttered he doesn't suddenly change policy.

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Blogger shoprat said...

The high-priests of the left have declared that Bush=Hitler. Therefore all facts that do not fit this paradigm are irrelevant. Surely you know that.

5:50 PM  

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