Oooh! Aren't the Democrats Scary, Boys and Girls?


Newsweek's Howard Fineman reports on Karl Rove's forward-looking free-market agenda for the midterm elections—make the Democrats scare the crap out of you.

The way I read the recent moves of Karl Rove & Co., they are preparing to wage war the only way open to them: not by touting George Bush, Lord knows, but by waging a national campaign to paint a nightmarish picture of what a Democratic Congress would look like, and to portray that possibility, in turn, as prelude to the even more nightmarish scenario: the return of a Democrat (Hillary) to the White House.

Rather than defend Bush, Rove will seek to rally the Republicans' conservative grass roots by painting Democrats as the party of tax increases, gay marriage, secularism and military weakness. That's where the national message money is going to be spent.

The liberal blogger Digby basically nails this: "Can someone please tell me how this differs from any Republican campaign of the last 25 years? Bush was at 70% in the last mid-term and the whole campaign was about how Democrats like Tom Daschle and Max Cleland were in cahoots with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein."

But this strategy definitely represents some panic and retrenchment in Republican ranks. They started off the second Bush term labeling Democrats the "party of no"—a collection of ragtag girly-men (and girly-girls) who were obstructing the terrific agendas of Denny Hastert and Bill Frist. (Conservatives apparently liked this slogan enough to google-bomb it. See what comes up when you search "party of no.") That line of attack might have helped scare the Democrats out of blocking John Roberts and Sam Alito, but as closer to 70% of the country turned against Bush, it stopped making sense.

Not that this strategy is so brilliant. It seems weighed down by the beltway-centric mentality that's sent Republicans further and further out of touch since they took power 11 years ago. A lot of the plan rests on making radical Democrats like John Conyers into household names. Everyone in DC knows that Conyers is a bitter loon who wants to pull a Neil Young on Bush-Cheney-etc—soon, so will those rubes in the flyover states! But this is the kind of stuff Democrats tried with Tom DeLay when he became majority leader in 2002. It went nowhere for years—DeLay connections didn't hurt Republicans at all in 2004. Most voters didn't watch "Crossfire" or read The New Republic and they didn't care who DeLay was. The chances of turning John Conyers into a Goldstein with only six months of PR are probably even slimmer. (They might get somewhere with Cynthia McKinney, though.)

If Rove's strategy works, it will be because the Democrats, once again, flee in terror from their own shadows. If a flag burning amendment comes up, they'll grimace and vote for it. If a gay marriage ban comes up, they'll grimace and vote for it. They'll match the Rovian "rev up our base" strategy with a Terrence Howard in "Crash" strategy. That's probably well underway as we speak.

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  1. Nothing new here. The repubs will be portrayed as uniquely scary on the civil liberties front, uniquely fiscally irresponsible, and uniquely dishonest. It is how campaigns are run.

    They probably should be able to get some traction out of the dishonest thing, but they will overreach and we will have a close election between two people we hate.

  2. Neither the Republicrats or the Demupblicans will address the REAL issue of the CENTURY–immigration. We need to stop the ILLEGAL INVASION on our southwest boreder. And we must REPEAL the SUCIDAL 1965 immigration act. Just look at this story if you don’t believe that following current immigration laws are NATIONAL SUICIDE:


    Its TREASON and we must take DRASTIC ACTION!

    Lets stand up to our Globalist Masters and Liberal Elites and keep America a FIRST WORLD COUNTRY.

  3. IR, please go peddle your racist, xenophobic crap somewhere else.

  4. Yeah, where’d that come from?

  5. I think it came from last night’s “savage nation” or possibly from Pat Buchanan’s 1998 book “I hate ‘dem ‘fureners: Dey Tuk R Jobs”.

  6. I smell a troll. Well at least one nice feature of lunatic rantings like that of Immigration Fabulist is they tend to have lots of capital letters which makes it quite easy to recognize which comments you shouldn’t bother reading.

  7. Ack.

    Is there really any way of avoiding President Hillary at this point? We’ve already seen the first neocon rat hit the water (Fukuyama) and the rest will follow once the S.S. Bush is nose up and Hillary puts out the life rafts by proclaiming that she believes in social engineering inside the U.S. AND outside (as if she hasn’t made this perfectly clear already). At that point, the Weekly Standard will swing full force behind her, and she’ll name several prominent neocons to foreign policy positions in her cabinet.

    It’s clear to me what’s coming. It’s like a speeding freight train. But I don’t see anyway that it can be stopped from within. The only thing that can stop it is Imperial bankruptcy. But I don’t want to have live through that.

  8. So, when the hispanics take over and turn this into a third world nation, does that mean I won’t have to put up with taco bell commercials?… or middle aged white suburban women talking on their cell phone and running over pedestrians with their SUV they don’t know how to drive?… Or Harry Konik Jr.?

    Maybe there is a bright side to the whole country being taken over thing.

  9. quasibill,

    I still think Rudy or McCain could beat Hillary. You suggest that the “neocons” and the “Weekly Standard” are important constituencies; they were totally in love with McCain in 2000.


  11. Same bullshit, different century.

    Once, it was the Irish were going to take over.

    Then, it was the Italians.

    Next, the Swedes.

    Then the Chinese.

    Today, the Mexicans.

    The one thing that has changed is that we’ve gone and made their presence here illegal this time around.

    Fucking brilliant. Now, instead of integrating (over a generation or two) into the famous “melting pot” that has been America’s great strength, illegal immigrants have to stay in the shadows, and are reluctant to do the things that invest them fully in American society — like buying houses, building up their businesses, perhaps relocating to a better part of the country, etc., etc.

    Talk about your unintended consequences. We’ve succeeded in ghettoizing the current wave of immigrants to a degree never before seen in American history. That is something new.

  12. The liberal blogger Digby basically nails this: “Can someone please tell me how this differs from any Republican campaign of the last 25 years? Bush was at 70% in the last mid-term and the whole campaign was about how Democrats like Tom Daschle and Max Cleland were in cahoots with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.”

    Jesus this whining is so tedious. There are about 100 Democrats complaining that their patriotism is being questioned for every 1 Republican who skirts within half a mile of doing so.

    Eventually, they’re just going to have to accept that National Security is a legitimate campaign topic, and engage the Republicans by saying how they’d do better. You’d think that wouldn’t be such a hard thing to do.

  13. “I still think Rudy or McCain could beat Hillary. You suggest that the “neocons” and the “Weekly Standard” are important constituencies; they were totally in love with McCain in 2000.”

    By themselves? No. But they can be the swing bloc, if Hill promises enough goodies to the traditional Democratic constituencies to get out their vote. Especially if the small government and/or religious right constituencies wise up to the fact that the Republican party has been lying to them for years and either stay home or vote third party.

    Rudy’s got a TON of baggage that doesn’t get much airplay – yet. It’ll get plenty if he tries to run, though. McCain? Possibly. But he won’t energize the two constituencies I noted above.

    No, I think Hill’s love affair with all things “benevolent hegemon”, inside and out, is a juggernaut that will inevitably get its hands on the tools the Bush admin has created…

  14. AMERICANS are become a MINORITY in AMERICA!

    It’s worse even than that: There’s only one Real American IN MY HOUSE – RIGHT NOW! ONLY ONE!

    When my wife and kids get home it will still BE ONLY FOUR AMERICANS – REAL AMERICANS! – IN MY ENTIRE HOUSE!


  15. Rudy has a long long history of Marital Infidelity. It’s really quite amusing.

  16. What is up with the trolls today?

  17. Believe it or not, I actually know what is going to happen in 2006. However, I am very wisely not going to tell what that is.

  18. Well, Rove’s got one thing right:

    I generally despise this administration and what it has done and its enablers in Congress. I tend to think that being out of the majority for a couple years might (though I’m not holding my breath) bring republicans back to some sort of sanity. But every time I think about it the image of batshit-crazy Speaker Pelosi creeps into my head and I shiver. It’s not going to make me vote republican this fall, but it’s there, and I’m probably not the only one.

  19. So quit jerking off, Jim, and go see a movie. Sheesh.

  20. Oh, and liberals complaining about republican attack tactics are like conservatives whining about liberal media bias. Sit down and shut the fuck up already.

  21. Both Rudy and McCain would drive away traditional Flyover-Country Republicans.

  22. You Immigration LIBERALS won’t find my comments so funny when the ILLEGALS move to YOUR neighborhood.

    How many MEXICANS do YOU live next to?

  23. If the Republicans use that strategy, it wouldn’t surprise me. What does surprise me is that Count Floyd is a Republican. The way he drank, I figured he had to be a Democrat.

  24. Several. Nice folks. Take better care of the place than the anglos they bought it from.

    Don’t know if they’re legal or not — and I don’t give a flying goddamn. It’s not my business.

  25. “Believe it or not, I actually know what is going to happen in 2006. However, I am very wisely not going to tell what that is.”

    C’mon, tell me. I won’t blab. I just want to get a little money down on a sure thing.

  26. Man, that piece you linked to for ‘Goldstein’ was one badly written article. But probably heartfelt.

    Each man did many evil things and was responsible for the deaths of millions — even hundreds of millions — of people. Their deaths, indeed, were good things and all have left a legacy of evil.

    Maybe he was really (really) tired. Or his editor died.

  27. Democrats as the party of…secularism

    Oh no! The horror…the horror…

  28. I LIVE on the SAME STREET as a HISPANIC FAMILY that still SPEAKS SPANISH and I’VE NEVER had any SORT of problem WITH them. There are ALSO a bunch of MEXICANS who harvest the TOBACCO CROP here every AUTUMN and IT’S not any big FUCKING DEAL.

  29. quasibill, mediageek,

    you’ve both mentioned or alluded to some baggage being held by giuliani/mccain.

    what are some of these issues – particularly with giuliani?

    i’ve just heard about this baggage before and i honestly don’t know what it is. it’s always just referred to as baggage w/o elaboration – not that it surprises me that it exists.

    and by baggage you mean some sort of dirty laundry not policy differences (campaign finance, etc.) right?

  30. Seeing as I hate both sides, my question in all of this is:

    Where has the democratic opposition been for the last 6 years? They bitch, whine, moan and groan, but when it comes down to it, the only thing they’ve attempted to block is what, a judge?

    Way to be. Stand up fellas there.

  31. IR:

    You have a way of assuming that everyone else is as racist a pig as you. It will not help you in your quest for American Purity.

    It just so happens that I watched my neighbors across the street get raided yesterday. All I could think was that, you know, I hope they did something really wrong. If not, they busted in a door, bagged a bunch of private property, took two vehicles, interviewed mom on the front lawn while the 3 kids cried just inside the storm door, and eliminated the livlihood of a guy who worked for a local homebuiler while he tried to get his own roofing business to float – all so that people like you don’t have to hear no durn furiners.

    You have the right to think whatever you want, but I’d rather you didn’t assume everyone else shared in your bigotry.

  32. How many MEXICANS do YOU live next to?

    It’s even worse than that for me. There’s one Mexican dude who’s actually managed to invade my apartment and set up residence. Every day, he stares at me from the Pringles can with that evil mustachioed look of his. I know that it’s only a matter of time before he jumps out of the can, decapitates me while doing some kind of demonic Aztec ritual, and proceeds to take my job, which he’ll insist on doing in Spanish and at minimum wage.

    I’d kick him out, but those potato crisps are just too damn good.

  33. Would anyone else like to join me in giving Immigration Realist a round of golf applause?

    His parody of a xenophobic isolationist is just beyond precious.

  34. downstater,

    I, too, am curious about Giuliani’s alleged “dirty laundry.” New York college professors I know seem to think he abused one or both of his wives in some way, presumably something worse than cheating on them. (Hitting them, I have to guess.) I don’t believe most of what I hear from New York college professors, though.


    Some believe Rudy’s forays into tranvestism or his friendships with gay people will drive away Southern or MidWestern Republicans, but I think all the 9-11 stuff inoculates him from that. Also, I think Rudy is a pretty good speaker, and comes off on TV vastly better than, say, President Bush or Senator Kerry, both of whom got nominated.

    I don’t know what GOP Southerners and MidWesterners could find objectionable about McCain. Like Rudy he comes off well on TV, and even though we might hate the whole campaign finance thing, he can play that as “I’m able to compromise and work with the other side.”

    I think Rudy and McCain have good shots at the nomination, and to defeat Hilary, or whoever the Democrats nominate.

  35. “you’ve both mentioned or alluded to some baggage being held by giuliani/mccain.”

    “what are some of these issues – particularly with giuliani? “

    Most of the Republicans that I know are of the old-school variety. Big on fiscal conservatism and individual liberties like gun rights.

    Both Guliani and McCain are Republicans of the new school, and there is a feeling among these old school conservatives that they’ve been fucked for the last eight years.

    Personally, I would never vote for Guiliani purely because of his stance on gun rights, nor would I vote for McCain because of his contempt for both the 1st and 2nd Amendment.

  36. Mitch, I’d heard stuff about Guliani’s infidelity, hadn’t heard the transvestism.

    Quite frankly, I couldn’t care less. My objection to Guliani is on the grounds that he’d just be more of the same. He may be a Republican for New York, but he’s certainly no champion of the values that used to make the Republicans worthwhile.

  37. At midterm elections, the Dems will take the House.

    Come 2008 presidential cycle, they will see for themselves what it’s like to have statists in office…

    No help from Rove needed.

  38. mediageek,

    The transvestism thing was sort of a joke; he has appeared in drag at fundraising events and the like. But the photos of him in drag, some have believed, could turn off conservative voters.

  39. Wow… Speaking of your modern-day examples of Two-Minutes-Hate-a-thons: you spring a Lew Rockwell link about the “trumped-up” Islam problem… That must date from the New Era (post-1999). Nice work, Weigel

  40. Not only have SEVERAL MEXICANS moved into MY APARTMENT COMPLEX over the past couple of years, but SEVERAL INDIANS (as in from INDIA, where they aren’t even CHRISTIANS) have moved into my VERY APARTMENT BUILDING. I am one of ONLY TWO WHITE MALES in my building. And come to think OF it, there are THREE MEXICAN DUDES living right across the way from me. I AM A MINORITY IN MY VERY OWN APARTMENT BUILDING. And as a RESULT of all this so-called “IMMIGRATION” I now have a PRETTY GOOD MEXICAN RESTAURANT and a PRETTY DECENT INDIAN BUFFET within walking distance of MY HOME.

    ALSO, all those INDIANS are turning this country into a THIRD WORLD, COMPUTER-PROGRAMMING, NETWORK MAINTENANCING HELLHOLE. Not TO mention THAT now people IN my laundry room ARE now always having conversations IN foreign languages THAT I can’t even undeRstand. Also NOW I’M HUNGRY FOR BOTH BURRITOS AND CURRY and I don’t know which TO choose!

  41. Girth, could you (or someone else) explain what it is about Nancy Pelosi that makes her “batshit crazy”?

  42. Well, Ted, for starters, she believes Bush and Cheney have somehow raised the price of gas across the country in order to increase the profits of their pals in the oil patch. I quote:

    “We have two oilmen in the White House. The logical follow-up from that is three-dollar-a-gallon gasoline. It is no accident. It is a cause and effect.

  43. Pelosi’s remark mistakes correlation for causality, but is not “batshit crazy.”
    Or were all those energy company execs who supported Bush/Cheney in 2000 a bunch of ignoramuses who just got lucky?

  44. Hmph, apparently Rove and Co. forgot that we already KNOW what a Government controlled by Democrats gets us, so trying to scare is with that is a waste of time.

    Both of these parties are a bunch of tools, and all I ask is, when will the long, national nightmare be over?

  45. “We have two oilmen in the White House. The logical follow-up from that is three-dollar-a-gallon gasoline. It is no accident. It is a cause and effect.

    Man, she’s onto something. Remember when we had a nuclear engineer in the whitehouse: We got 3 mile island!!!

  46. How many MEXICANS do YOU live next to?

    I used to live next to all of them. Now there’re a few states between me ‘n them.

  47. The way I read Fineman’s article is that he isn’t reporting (as you reported) but reading tea leaves. And then you offer speculation based on his extraordinary skills at seeing into the future.

    I’m no Republican apologist but unless I woke up in some alternative universe this morning, I understand that McBushitlerstein and company (with of course his evil overlord Rovan the Terrible) invaded Iraq (after using the Israeli ordered attack on 9-11 as an excuse) in order to keep cheap oil flowing and enrich his friends in the oilwell fire extinguishing business and then continued this enrichment by actually causing a massive increase in the price of oil after shamelessly torturing innocents in various secret as well as publicly known prisons and ordering an unprecedented invasion of the privacy rights of all americans that surely signals the end of our republic. All while managing to oversee a Jobless economic recovery. Did I miss something?

    That’s the world I went to bed in last night.

    But you are saying that the republicans will use negative campaigning? Wow, that’s scary.

  48. Also NOW I’M HUNGRY FOR BOTH BURRITOS AND CURRY and I don’t know which TO choose!

    That’s a tough one. I’m thinking. Not yet.


  49. Just FYI, this THREAD made me hungry for MEXICAN FOOD, and I ate dinner at a restaurant that employs ACTUAL MEXICANS, so I.R. can blame HIMSELF for making me put AMERICAN MONEY into the hands of FOREIGNERS instead of REAL AMERICANS.

    P.S. I had a BURRITO.

  50. Dammit! Now I want burritos too! Only when America is rid of all tasty foreign foodstuffs can we get down to business without being distracted by reconquista ploys to fatten us into submission.

  51. Perhaps libertarians and Immigration Real Nutcase can agree on one thing: Repealing the tax on CAPITAL LETTERS and exclamation points!!!

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