Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wtih Enemies Like These, Who Needs Friends?

Republicans and their allies just don't seem to get it. Nothing that they do actually works. Don't get me wrong--they can be successful in the short term at winning elections and enriching their fat-cat friends. They can scare and defraud enough people into voting them into office a couple of times; they can stop American action on global warming for a decade or invade non-threatening countries in the hopes of delaying peak oil.

But like a CEO who manages only with an eye toward better stock prices for the next quarter, everything that Republicans and their allies do is counterproductive over the long term--not only to the American people, but to their own interests as well. This is not only true of their self-destructive policies (the immigration disaster being chief among them), but even of their political tactics.

There's an old saying in politics: "You meet the same people going up the elevator that you do on the way down." The message? Be honest but civil; be direct but courteous; don't stab people in the back or subvert your alliances.

It's a message that has been completely lost on Republicans during the Karl Rove/Tom Delay era--presumably because they had themselves convinced that they would never be coming down that elevator again as they ascended toward a permanent Republican Majority. Unfortunately for them (and fortunately for the rest of us), the price of ignoring that wise dictum has been that their own greed and hubris has ensured the arousal of an activist, motivated population just itching bring them down a notch and see them fail. Now, like desperate villains trapped in quicksand, their every frantic move only hastens their own demise.

Nowhere is this more true than in the tactics of hatred, division and greed that they have used to earn their short-lived and ill-gotten gains. What used to work so well for them in the past now only brings them misery.

Three cases in point stand out most obviously:

1. The Joe Lieberman Fundraiser.

Republicans have been eager to use pathetic old Joementum as a wedge against Democrats. Joe's eager willingness to betray Democrats not only on policy but in the media has been legendary, and led to his eventual expulsion as the Democratic nominee in the Connecticut Senate race and his electoral rescue by the Connecticut Republican voters. The GOP and Lieberman apparently thought it would be a good idea for Joe Lieberman to host a fundraiser for the embattled Susan Collins, one of the two Republican and supposedly moderate Senators in Maine.

It was a severe miscalculation. Instead of turning into fundraiser gold and an opportunity to show the division among Democrats and the supremacy of Broderist/Mickey Kaus-style Centrism, it turned instead into a show of force by the progressive netroots for Collins' Democratic challenger, Tom Allen: by the time it was all over, had raised over $355,000 for Allen, while a 24-hour ActBlue dkos fundraiser put on by multiple kossacks including myself netted over $23,000.

While no tally is available for the actual Lieberman-Collins fundraiser, it obvious that the event totally backfired on both Lieberman and the GOP, raising substantially more money for Collins' challenger than for Collins herself.

2. Coulter's vicious attack on John Edwards

By now everyone has heard of Ann Coulter's latest idiotic and nerve-wracking statements about John Edwards. First she famously called him a "faggot". Then two days ago in an interview which can be seen here, she said the following:

Coulter: Oh, yeah -- I wouldn't insult gays by comparing them to John Edwards. That would be mean. --laugh-- But, you know, around the same time, Bill Maher was not joking when he wished Dick Cheney had been killed in a terrorist attack. So I've learned my lesson: if I'm going to say anything about John Edwards in the future, I'll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot. --laugh--

Now, we can argue about whether this constitutes an actual threat to John Edwards or not. What is inescapable and unarguable, however, is the new publicity, positive imagery and fundraising ability it has given the Edwards campaign. John Edwards' much-beloved wife Elizabeth got the opportunity to attack Coulter on TV with much more restraint than I could have mustered; CNN has the story up on its front page; and the Edwards campaign is using Coulter yet again in fundraising letters as a method of propping up and increasing what would otherwise have been a middling Q2 report.

To make a long story short, the more Coulter and her ilk attack Edwards, the more likely they are to be saluting him as their next Commander-in-Chief.

3. The Money Game

Republicans have long been instrumental in ensuring that as much money as possible sloshes around Washington--the better to ensure corruption and hand-outs to their corporatist paymasters.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the Capitol: conservative mismanagment of government has combined increased political activism made possible through the Internet and the appearance of increased numbers of small donors (as well as some very concerned big donors) to change the balance of power of money game.

Today, Democrats are not only outpolling the GOP in every way, we are also (with the lone exception of the RNC/DNC battle outraising them by substantial margins. As Markos says:

It's not just the DSCC kicking ass anymore. The DCCC is also running ahead of its Republican counterpart -- $26M to $23.6M. Throw in debts, and the NRCC is at negative $5M while the DCCC has nearly $7M -- a $12M advantage for the good guys.

Meanwhile, at the DSCC, the advantage is also big $22.7M versus $12.4 raised this year. And taking debts into consideration, the DSCC has about $9M compared to the NRSC's $4.3M.

Of course, one can hope that once Democrats are fully in power, we will drive the money out of politics through publically financed elections. Until that day comes, however, the Republican insistence on putting big money into elections has only helped ensure that Americans rich and poor alike are donating as much as their beleaguered wallets will allow toward the removal of said GOP operatives from public office.


Every day and in every way, it seems that the noose grows tighter and tighter around Republican necks. Worst of all for them, they don't seem to know any political tactics beyond those of hatred and division. Those twin tactics have now played themselves out to the point where every time they are used, they do little but backfire on their own kind, just as has happened with the deadly immigration football. Every political action they take generates as much blowback domestically as have their foreign policy actions in the Middle East. Just about everything they do, in fact, just puts them further and further into a corner.

I say, with enemies like these, who needs friends?

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Blogger Liberality said...

You are cheering me up with this post and that some days is just hard to do.

2:01 PM  

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