Wednesday, February 14, 2007

No More of the Hapless Victim Routine!

OK, this post has been building in me since last week. It's an elaboration of a comment I made on Big Brass Blog in response to a post by Chet Scoville. The pseudo-controversy over the Edwards campaign hiring two people who were bloggers has finally come to a conclusion, with Amanda of Pandagon and Melissa of Shakespeare's Sister resigning. This saddens me for the lost opportunity for two good people, but it also has me completely fed up as well. So here goes.

Mr. Edwards, you have lost my vote. You have plenty of time to regain it, but I am dubious that you will be able to. The reason could have been the way that you tiptoed your way through the recent controversy, but that wasn't it. It could have been that you chose to apologize, and had Amanda and Melissa apologize, but that wasn't it. Here's the thing - if you aren't capable of defending yourself or those who work for you from low class bullies, you have certainly given me no confidence that you are capable of leading our nation. Hell, you weren't even able to stand up for yourself, Amanda and Melissa in a battle of words; you certainly don't appear up to the task of making Amanda and Melissa feel secure in their persons or families against the threats of death and violence that they have been receiving. And that's why you will lose!

Say what you will about President Bush (he's stupid, obstinate, arrogant, dishonest and incompetent, but I digress), at least he has shown that he will stand up for the people who work for him. This is true even long after the jury has come in about them. Witness Donald Rumsfeld's tenure. This makes Bush appear to be a stand up guy. He and Dick Cheney have no problem getting out in front of the media and fighting back against any accusation or negative comment made about them - even if it's true! Watching the Wolf Blitzer interview where Cheney denies having said things in the past which he most certainly did, and telling Blitzer that discussing Mary Cheney's pregnancy is out of line, which it most certainly is not, you can see how they play the game. Poor Wolf was left stammering. They can stand up to media critics successfully, even when they are patently wrong!

Time and again, Democrats have been the hapless victims of right wing thugs and a biased media. You know what? Hapless victims don't win. You certainly are deserving of, and do receive sympathy. You just don't receive sympathy votes. Nobody ever gets sympathy votes. You get votes because you convince people that you have the cojones to lead! In 2000, when the right wing thugs sabotaged McCain's primary campaign in South Carolina by accusing him of having a biracial child out of wedlock, he could have kept going if he fought back like hell, but he didn't. And in so doing, he lost. In 2004 when the right wing thugs did the same to Kerry, the infamous "Swift-Boat Vets," he could have fought back like hell, but he didn't. And in so doing, he lost. This is where things like false accusations of scandal or dishonorable conduct succeed - not in that the accusations are false, but that you don't fight back!

Here's a great idea: from now on, any and every Democratic candidate, officeholder, and spokesperson, upon encountering an example of the right-wing hit machine doing its thing, don't waste your time explaining and defending yourself. Instead, immediately point out that this is an extremely partisan player once again performing a hit job, and that the media giving this person air time is yet another example of "Right-Wing, Fox News Type Bias" or "Right-Wing, Fox News Bias." All caps. Repeated as loudly and as often as possible, and in every instance of any wingnut doing another hit job. Make absolutely certain to include the Fox News reference between the words "Right-Wing" and "Bias." We want Fox News to become synonymous with bias. This is exactly how the right wing hit machine works, and it has proven very effective.

So when Nancy Pelosi is accused of ordering a large luxury jet for herself to travel in, the correct response is not to defend herself from the charge. The correct response is to say this, and only this: "It is outrageous that the media is giving air time to such an outrageous and obviously false story. This is yet another example of Right-Wing, Fox News Type Bias." And that's it. No further comments, no explanations, just that. This leaves the media with just this tape to run. Nothing else. They can't cut out the parts they don't like, and leave in the ones that support their spin. They either run with this, or they go with no tape at all, just talking heads in front of a photo giving their own spin.

Of course, Fox will go ballistic about being referred to this way. They will respond with the talking heads in front of a photo, spinning furiously. However, since they are already a highly biased right-wing news organ, it's not like they weren't already going to do as much damage as they could. Just look at the "Barack Obama went to a madrassa" debacle. I can't imagine anyone daring to attempt that with Bush or Cheney - certainly not since Dan Rather destroyed his career with the false evidence of Bush failing to fulfill his Air National Guard obligation. And yet, I haven't heard of any repercussions of the false Obama story.

So, seriously, to all you Democrats out there - stop rolling over for the right wing hit men. Regardless of the bloggers working on the Edwards campaign, Donohue was never going to vote for or endorse Edwards, ever. Neither was Malkin. Responding to their machinations in any way other than pointing out that they are highly partisan cronies without a shred of credibility does you little if any good. So take back some control of the discourse!

At least you will look like you have some backbone! And that will get votes!

Update: Jeffrey Feldman has a post which is far better than mine, and is well worth the read.


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