Thursday, September 20, 2007


D'ya think maybe is beating at least a tactical retreat?
Just days after the group's political action committee caused a firestorm with a full page New York Times advertisement calling General David Petraeus "General Betray Us," MoveOn has launched another commercial using the "betrayal" theme. But this time the group is firing away at a safer target: President Bush.

In an ad titled "Betrayal of Trust" released this morning, MoveOn has scripted a fairly rudimentary commercial that flashes "130,000" several times to reflect the number of troops that will still be in Iraq next summer under Bush's redeployment plan.

“He’s given us a sham draw-down plan," said MoveOn spokeswoman Nita Chaudhary. "30,000 troops by next July is not a plan to end the war. "
Nobody ever suggested it was, Nita. If you truly wanted to "end the war," you'd be fully behind the invasion of Iran and the destruction of its theocractic, neoNazi regime. But, of course, that would be a victorious end to the war, and you don't want any part of winning, do you?

This tacit, defiant, unrepentant "apology" isn't gonna fit the bill, methinks, if even the mildest-mannered of presidents was provoked into saying this:
REPORTER: What's your reaction to the MoveOn.Org ad that mocked General Petraeus saying he cooked the book on Iraq. Would you like to see Democrats including presidential candidates repudiate the ad?

PRESIDENT BUSH: I thought the ad was disgusting. And I felt like the ad was an attack not only on General Petraeus, but on the U.S. military. And I was disappointed that not more leaders in the Democratic Party spoke out strongly against that kind of ad. That leads me to come to this conclusion - that most Democrats are [more] afraid of irritating a left-wing group like MoveOn.Org, than they are of irritating the United States military. That was a sorry deal. [It's] one thing to attack me - [it's] another thing to attack somebody like General Petraeus.
"B-1 Bob" Dornan used to say that Pappy Bush was "beautiful when he's angry". It never came across publicly or in his policy decisions, but I think the trait is more true of Bush the son, on those rarer-than-hen's nipples occasions when he loosens up and lets a bit more of the testosterone flow. Perhaps if he'd "taken the gloves off" a tad more frequently over the past six and a half years, he'd have had more cred with his base that could have better withstood his second-term pratfalls with Harriet Miers, Katrina, and immigration amnesty.

You may be wondering what any of this has to do with the next president of the United States. Just be patient, we'll get there eventually.

We'll draft Brother Hinderaker to do the segue:
In Congress, meanwhile, the Democrats are maneuvering to protect MoveOn. Senator [John] Cornyn [R-TX] has offered an amendment supporting General Petraeus and condemning MoveOn's scurrilous attack. The Democrats don't want to go on record supporting MoveOn, so they are trying to add an amendment that would link condemnation of the MoveOn ad to condemnation of political ads in Max Cleland's 2002 Senate campaign and John Kerry's 2004 Presidential campaign (i.e., the Swift Boat Vets).
Next, Generalissimo Duane fleshes in the details:
Last week, after the reprehensible full-page ad ran in the New York Times, Senator Cornyn offered an amendment to the transportation and housing bill, a simple sense of the Senate to condemn the ad, which essentially called General David Petraeus a traitor. The Democrats, eager not to have to cast that vote, at the direction of Senator majority whip Dick Durbin, made a motion to the Chair to rule the Cornyn resolution not germane to the current bill. Freshman Senator Jon Tester of Montana, a recipient of at least $88,000 dollars of MoveOn money in the 2006 election cycle, according to Congressional Quarterly reports, ruled to kill the amendment.

This week, Durbin, who argued so fervently a week prior against resolutions that were not germane to bills, offered his Dream Act legislation, basically an amnesty for [illegal alien] students, as part of the Defense Appropriations bill, equally as non-germane as the Cornyn bill from last week. But late last night, Cornyn resurrected his amendment, and also tied it to the Defense Appropriations bill, where it is now germane, and actually got the Senate to vote today on it, with stunning results.
Well, not so stunning, really - it passed by a whopping 72-25 margin, with all forty-nine Republicans voting "yea" and the Dems splitting (almost) right down the middle with three abstentions (two of which were Joe Biden and Barack "Operation Pakistani Freedom" Obama, who apparently recognized a PR trap when they saw one).

The one genuinely stunning result? Hillary Clinton voted "nay" - as in endorsing's vicious, despicable slander of General Petraeus.

I don't think this vote is quite the "watershed moment in her campaign" that Mr. Patterson does, any more than Hugh Hewitt's belief that the moveon ad itself has now "defined" the 2008 election. Even if the Republicans did take his advice and harp on Mrs. Clinton's obeisance to the fringe left nutroots for the next fourteen months, I doubt it would change very many minds in this polarized electorate. There's ample time for the Clinton machine to bury it and, failing that, define and frame it in a way that helps Hillary and damages her critics. It's what they do, and nobody's better at it.

Where this does hurt Senator Thunder Thighs, I think, is in the sense of a golden opportunity lost. "Opportunity for what?", you may be asking. For Mrs. Clinton's "Sister Soldjah moment," that's what.

You'll remember from the 1992 campaign, back during the primary season, when Bill Clinton publicly took to task a rap singer named Sister Soldjah for the rauchiness of her lyrics. Naturally, he didn't mean a word he was saying - heck, he probably tried to bed her at some point - but the country outside of Arkansas hadn't yet learned what a pathological liar Mr. Bill is (and never did care after it did), and took his quasi-moralistic rebuke to be a healthy sign of traditional cultural sensitivity and responsibility (a hand-in-somewhere fit with Tipper Gore's like crusade for warning labels on records and CDs). It put him over as a "conservative southern Democrat" and positioned him advantageously for the general election campaign.

It was never any secret that Hillary voted in favor of the de facto declaration of war against Saddam Hussein five years ago in order to build up her cred as a "centrist" Democrat who could be trusted on national security during a time of protracted war. The same motivation fueled her seeking and receiving a seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee. She wanted to be as well-positioned as humanly possible for her eventual, inevitable, secret-as-a-hairlip presidential run.

That calculation didn't take the rise of the far-left nutroots into account. The Kos-hacks and Sorosians and moveon.orgers, impatient with all the Clintonoid machiavellianism, threw all that aside and began their perpetual shrieking campaign that finally came to fruition last November. Firmly convinced that their extremist agitating both "bought & paid for" the Democrat Party and restored it to power in Congress, they now demand unconditional obedience from its presidential candidates as well.

I maintain that Hillary is one of them, and that deep down, the nutters know it. I also believed that Mrs. Clinton would swiftly put them in their place by following the tried & true Clinton Machine "triangulation" strategy that she had, for the most part, been following over the course of her time in the Senate. She alone of the Donk field would have the clout, and therefore free hand, to give the appearance of crossing the Far Left and still cruise to the Dem presidential nomination. The lesson would be clear: "I'm one of you, but remember who the boss of this movement is." Hint: It ain't Markos Moulitsas.

Instead she has flip-flopped back and forth, never making any noticeable gaffes but not really enhancing her appeal to so-called "moderates" and "independents," nor whittling down her stubbornly high negatives.

The Cornyn amendment was a high-profile chance for her to do just that: to create the impression of a line of unequivocal demarcation from the anti-war crowd while still retaining her "responsible" criticism of the Bushies' conduct of the war. The proverbial "six degrees of separation" that would insulate her from the traitorous crazoids that she doesn't need hanging around her jowly neck in "red" states, at least a couple of which she'll need to flip a year from now. Her "Sister Soldjah" moment.

And she threw it away.

All of a sudden burgeoning Donk anxieties about losing the congressional "red" state gains they made last year have a lot more credibility:
The Era of the Red State Democrat will have suffered a very short reign if Hillary Clinton wins her party’s nomination next year, at least according to the fears of some members of her party. While 2006 saw impressive Democratic wins on traditionally Republican turf, most notably Jim Webb in Virginia, John Tester in Montana, Nancy Boyda in Kansas, and Heath Shuler in North Carolina, some red-state Democrats warn that the “Hillary drag” may eviscerate their ranks in 2008....

The argument that rural America has driven Democrats’ recent gains, and that risking their advantage there may cost them control of the House, carries some weight, according to results of a survey by the Center for Rural Strategies. According to their June poll of 804 rural likely voters, these voters currently deliver a narrow plurality to a generic Democratic candidate for president, 46% to 43%. (For comparison, in 2004, President Bush won the rural vote in 2004 by nineteen points.) At the congressional level, voters prefer Democrats 46% to 44%.

But the poll also found that rural voters remain more conservative than the nation as a whole, and it is accurate to say that Hillary Clinton is about as popular as illegal immigrants among these voters. When asked to rate their warm or cool feelings towards figures on a “thermometer” from 0 to 100, the “warm” (positive) rating for all three top Democrats was in the low thirties, but the “cool” (negative) rating for Obama was 34, for Edwards was 36, and for Hillary Clinton was 52. The only comparable cool ratings were given to George W. Bush (44) and illegal immigrants (55).
Some Dem strategists believe that having Mrs. Clinton at the top of the ticket could endanger as many as thirty-seven House seats (the GOP would only need sixteen to retake the majority) and three "red" state Senate seats (Mark Pryor in Arkansas, Mary Landrieu in post-Katrina Louisiana, and the ailing Tim Johnson in South Dakota), as well as killing off their chances for other "red" state open seats in Nebraska, Virginia, Idaho, and Colorado.

Not to be the perpetual voice of partisan pessimism again, but I consider these opposition worries to be overwrought. Given how prohibitive a favorite Mrs. Clinton is to win it all next year, I just don't see how that squares with decimating the remainder of Dem tickets across the country. I think it's far more likely that, like her husband was, she'll be irrelevant to those lower races, and they'll unfold independently of what happens at the presidential level.

At least one "rural House strategist" on the Dem side took his worries one step further, and probably his life in his own hands to boot in the process:
If [Fred] Thompson’s the nominee running against Hillary, I don’t think she can beat him....

Everybody says he’s lazy, or he didn’t start out well, but I’d say look at his announcement video. That scared the hell out of me as a Democrat. He’s got this gut-level connection — he’s the southern-fried Reagan. He’s got the voice, the gravitas built in… Huckabee scares me too sometimes. If you had a Thompson-Huckabee ticket, it would be sort of a reverse Gore-Clinton, Tennessee and Arkansas. And if you’re Hillary, what are you gonna do against that?
Or, put another way, he's an articulate, conservative George W. Bush, another two-term president the Left detested precisely because they could never beat him.

I'll need to see a lot more before I come off my prediction of Hillary in a landslide, but stupendous goofs like her vote on the Cornyn amendment, and Donk candor about the fear of Fred (anonymous or not), is, despite my better judgment, building a small reservoir of hope - and ought to provide some food for reflection to those on the GOP side who wouldn't recognize electability if it bit them in the ass.