I remember Ken Mehlman. I remember the rugged, toothy, focused-like-a-laser-beam super-Republican who was going to work hand in hand with Karl Rove in keeping the GOP majority alive until long after man has decamped to Alpha Centauri. Has Ken Mehlman really been reduced to this?
Look, the fact is that our mission in the war in Iraq is critical. We agree on that; we agree it's wrong to cut and run. But look, we're not coming in and saying "Stay the course." The choice in this election is not between "Stay the course" and "Cut and run," it's between "Win by adapting" and "Cut and run."
Who's the smartass who gave the White House site a search button? April 2004:
I just met with Specialist Chris Hill's family from North Carolina. You know, I told the family how much we appreciated his sacrifice—he was killed in Iraq—and assured him that we would stay the course…
Some critics continue to assert that we have no plan in Iraq except to, "stay the course." If by "stay the course," they mean we will not allow the terrorists to break our will, they are right.
It's pretty clear that the RNC did some focus grouping and saw that "stay the course" had lost its Outlaw Josey Wales appeal and pull. Pro-war candidates aren't getting a boost when they say their opponent would surrender to terror while they "stay the course." Hence the new slogan. Twelve weeks before the election. Mehlman's hard sell of the new meme is suprisingly inept.
But hey, Rich Lowry likes it.
This is a huge improvement. The last thing you want to say about a war that's not going very well is that you are going to keep doing what you're already doing–so "adapting" is much better than "staying." Also, it's important to get the word "win" in there. This is nice word-smithing, but it's conditions on the ground that really count.
Who's saying the war isn't going well? Rich Lowry, have you met Rich Lowry?