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August 24, 2006


from the WaPo, to illustrate the point:

Christopher F. Gelpi, a Duke University scholar whose research on public opinion in wartime has been influential in the White House, said Bush has little choice.

"He looks foolish and not credible if he says, 'We're making progress in Iraq,' " Gelpi said. "I think he probably would like to make that argument, but because that's not credible given the facts on the ground, this is the fallback. . . . If the only thing you can say is 'Yes, it's bad, but it could be worse,' that really is a last-ditch argument."

actually, counting Afghanistan, Bush is losing three wars.

The worst argument is saying, "if we leave now the American who died shall have done so in vain."

Of course continuing will result in MORE having died in vain.

Really an open thread question: If it actually is a trend, I'm not pleased that D's are running away from party labels as R's are. What do you think, DemCt, is this really happening, or is it a selective media "story"?

there's some suggestion it's true, but i don't know if doing it in TN is relevant.

Like you say about TN, Dem -- a state whose only elected Dem in the last decade-plus hardly fits the national Dem profile.

Kevin Phillips has always said he views party ID as a lagging indicator. Let the Dems have some big wins this year and '08, and run the country well...then you'll start seeing people happy to identify themselves as Dems. In the wake of Smith/Hoover, people weren't that anxious to call themselves Democrats in 1930, either; by 1934/36, they were alot more vocal.

The political gallop to the November finish line is heating up and the race is certain to tighten. Get ready folks, we’ve just rounded the final turn and we’re now headed into the homestretch and that horse making a big push on the Democrats’ right flank is none other than the GOP’s Secretariat, Karl Rove. With his legal troubles apparently behind him, Rove seems to be focused like a laser on once again wearing the floral blanket. In his most recent public appearance in Ohio, Rove reiterated the talking points of the strategy upon which the GOP intends to run.

Mr. Rove, a White House adviser and the architect of Mr. Bush’s winning presidential campaigns, peppered Democrats on taxes and national security, invoked the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and called the Iraq war “the heart of the battle” in a global war against “Islamic fascists.”

The 20-minute speech echoed Mr. Bush’s 2004 campaign themes. He said Mr. Bush would not abandon the war and said of terrorists to the audience: “Who thinks if we come home, that they’re not going to follow us?”

The important thing to note in the 2006 strategy is a minor, though significant, shift in the GOP framing…a technique that has been the hallmark of their success. This week the President gave a candid answer to an oft asked question…on a topic that has been the source of repeated Democratic criticism. He was asked what Iraq had to do with 9/11 and he quickly replied, “Nothing”…but then went on to explain that he believes the lesson of 9/11 was that we must take threats seriously before they materialize.

Herein is the shift. Republicans realize that the conflation of Iraq and 9/11 is no longer the viable tool that it was during the 2002 and 2004 elections. In a classic counterintuitive Rovian shift, they have taken the Democratic strategy for 2006 and incorporated it into the GOP’s new framing. When Bush uttered “Nothing”, the revised strategy was revealed. Simply stated, the new GOP strategy is to incorporate the Democratic message into their revised rhetoric. This isn’t the first time that the Bush administration has co-opted the message of the opposition when it became apparent that they were perilously close to a position of checkmate.

Not only do they now want Democrats to make voters consider leaving Iraq, they will take it a step further and insist that voters consider the potential consequences and risks…once again invoking the power of terrorism in order to create voter doubt…all the while framing the Democrats as the object of that doubt. The goal is to make the doubt about leaving Iraq (the terror threat) greater than the dissatisfaction about the conduct of the war. Forcing voters to move beyond the GOP’s past poor performance is essential and can be achieved by refocusing voters on other more ominous potentialities.

Read the full article here:


Rove is given far too much credit for taking lemons and making them into someting totally unpalatable.

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