Archive for the ‘political strategy’ Category
On Saturday, Alan Grayson posted a video on DailyKos in a fundraising diary. The video had a fake George Bush, complete with his legendary wordsmithery, claiming he was going to Florida to fight against Grayson. Most commenters loved the skit, but some claimed it to be over the top. Apparently, such use of caricature and name-calling is demeaning and reduces us to the level of right-wingers and their teabagging minions.
As with most matters, I don’t see this as a black-or-white question. In general, it should be advisable to live by the Golden Rule: treat others as you would have them treat you. Which means that absent intervening circumstances, it is best to stick with logical and civilized debate and eschew personal attacks on one’s ideological adversaries.
However, that does not mean it is necessary or even ethically advisable to hold to that premise in the face of such intervening circumstances. I propose three criteria where, if met, incendiary tactics are justified:
1) The debate is continually muddied and progressive priorities are handicapped by a radical force with no interest in deliberative democracy;
2) Talking points exclusively built on logic are not effectively cutting through the clutter;
3) Any direct attacks must be reality-based and appeal to a higher morality.
So does that mean Grayson is justified? I’d say so, although it’s not 100% cut-and-dried. The first criterion is clearly met here – that point is pretty established. The second is also pretty clear, as the media and most establishment Democrats are unable or unwilling to call out the right wing hordes for what the radical, violent, antidemocratic force that they are.
The third, however, it not quite so obvious. Is using George Bush and parodying his speaking style necessary to get this point across? Does that serve any particular purpose, and on the other hand does it escalate the antagonistic dynamic in the state of political discourse?
I don’t really see the value-added beyond effective fundraising for Grayson, but I also don’t see the harm either because the discourse is already in such an overheated state. Given that Grayson has already exhibited inflammatory behavior in the past, and repeatedly so, it would actually be intellectually inconsistent for him to abandon that bare-knuckled strategy now.
From Carrots and Sticks buddy and advisor David Waldman:
In case you missed it — and very few of you did, from the looks of things — Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) has issued a call for reform of Senate cloture rules both on the floor of the Senate, and in a diary right here at Daily Kos.
You can review the Senator’s diary for a run-down on the logic behind what Republicans called the “constitutional option” when they were threatening to invoke it in 2005, during a fight over President George W. Bush’s stalled judicial nominations. The facts and the history are correct, and will give you a good general background on where Udall is coming from. And in case you were wondering, one difference between what we knew as the “nuclear option” and Republicans called the “constitutional option” was that the scholarly writing (PDF) which gave Republicans their preferred name for this maneuver was very, very clear about the conditions under which the option was justified under the precedents: at the beginning of a new Congress. Republicans, of course, wanted to ignore most of the “constitutional” part, but keep the “option” anyway.
What I always say, and what I told David the other day, is that sooner or later the Republicans will be in charge and they’ll pull the trigger and end the filibuster. They took a run at doing that a few years ago despite the timing being illegitimate and the issue only being of moderate importance. If an important party goal was at stake and reconciliation couldn’t be used they won’t hesitate to weather a few rounds of media condemnations.
Beyond speculation on the future the Republicans have already end-rounded the filibuster via reconciliation to explode the deficit, so unwillingness by the Democrats to use the reconciliation process on deficit reducing bill like health care creates a substantial disequilibrium in the system.
This article seems a little thin on what exactly Republican donors are about upset that Michael Steele is doing:
Steele, who has been making regular television appearances, said Monday that he did not believe Republicans could win back their congressional majorities in 2010. “Not this year,” Steele told Fox News Channel, saying he was just beginning to look at races, even though the party has been recruiting candidates for many months. Believing that Steele’s off-the-cuff remarks threaten to damage the party’s brand — at the very time when Republicans are trying to capitalize on a national political environment that may hurt Democrats — senior aides to top Republican leaders confronted Steele’s staff on a conference call Wednesday.
“You really just have to get him to stop. It’s too much,” a top congressional aide said on the call, according to others on the call, adding that Steele was hurting morale among Republican members of Congress and candidates.
The call turned into “a bickering match,” aides said Thursday, as one top congressional staffer accused Steele of launching “a Republican apology tour at the exact wrong time.” Another congressional aide said Steele was appearing on television “unprepared and unknowledgeable.”
I mean OK his job is to say we’re great and we’re gonna win, but the approval ratings for the GOP are terrible (Dems are only a little better) and they want to him act as if everything is normal? Steele’s ‘we lost our way’ message seems pretty basic and unavoidable.
Additionally a lot of their complaints could be leveled at Sarah Palin (book tour, unscripted remarks) or Mike Huckabee (book tours and his campaign staff used to say the Republicans lost their way and needed a strategy all the time). Maybe these donors where never that supportive of Steele in the first place?