November 25, 2005
Are the Democrats Fox Crazy?
Donald Sensing provides one of the best arguments for an increasingly popular theory about the recent Democrat political machinations. He thinks there's method in their madness:
So, knowing that the plan was to redeploy troops beginning next year, the Democrats decided to get in front of the wave: Demand the troops be sent home NOW and then when the Pentagon announces the plan to redeploy, take credit for it.
The two prongs of the attack serve two purposes. The "Bush lied us into war" wing satisfies the huge numbers of the party's base suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome. The "declare victory and go home" attack preserves, however weakly, the party's appeal to traditionally patriotic Democratic voters, of which there are also huge numbers. Doubtless the Dem leadership sees the attacks as a two-fer.
The appeals to both wings are intended to garner huge dividends in November 2006.
With any president but George W. Bush, they'd be wrong. But GWB is the easiest president to blind side that I have seen in my life.
The lynchpin of Rev. Sensing's theory is the observation (accurate in my view) that the Bush administration is composed of politically inept strategists and tacticians (more the latter than the former). So, if that's all it takes to give substance to his theory then he's home free. But there are a couple of nagging doubts:
1. For the Dems to have planned and strategized this dramaturge they'd have had to have the same opinion of the Bush political team as Donald and I. I just don't think that's the case. They've, for instance, expended huge portions of their political capital over the Plame case just to take out Rove, whom they regard as an evil genius with nearly invincible political acumen. And they, if anything, have lost ground as a result (thanks especially to Bob Woodward). And with such an overblown respect for the Rove "machine" they simply would never have considered the rope-a-dope script feasible.
2. It'd be easy to deflect such a strategy by simply observing, loudly and repeatedly, that what the President preserved was our discretion, in case conditions demanded a different draw-down rate. Yes, he always intended to draw down. He just wanted to keep our options open, as would any good Commander in Chief. Therefore a fixed draw-down wasn't a bad plan because the rate was either too fast or too slow, but because it was fixed: non-modifiable.
The Dems might, however, attempt to exploit the situation Rev. Sensing describes. it's true that their opinion of the typical American voter is so low that they don't believe voters capable of the nuance suggested in "2" above. But when it gets right down to it I just don't think they're right. The distinction between putting on blinders and keeping the blinders off isn't that hard to grasp. Besides I'd rather bet otherwise... because if the Dems are right about the voters we'll lose no matter how good the plan happens to be.
No, I think VDH is right. The smart Democrats haven't invested in the "Bush-lied-so-get-out-now" rhetoric, because the opposition's hand is far too strong and there's too much to lose.
(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia)