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news & opinion with no titillating non-news from the major non-news channels.


I am: progressive, not a wild-eyed Progressive; liberal, but shun liberals and Liberals; conservative, but some Conservatives worry me; absolutely NOT a libertarian. I am: an idealist, but no utopian; a pragmatist, but no Machiavellian. I am a realist who dreams.


I welcome all opinions.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Negative campaigning in 2006:
   One Democrat's strategy

E.J. Dionne, Jr advocates a 2006 salt-the-earth campaign for the Democrats at workingforchange.com. Dionne thinks it is a winner. But it is just the same ol same ol that has cost the Democrats election after election.

The only thing I agree with is that 2006 is "immensely important".

Elections at midterm can be low-interest affairs or immensely important. This fall's congressional elections will be a big show with large consequences because 2006 is looking a lot like the political years 1958, 1966 and 1978, all of which heralded major political transformations.
conservatives can't win elections on their own. They need moderate votes, and significant support outside the old Confederacy.
Bush and Rove's careful management of the politics of moral issues — show the religious conservatives you're with them without alienating moderates — collapsed during the Terri Schiavo controversy.
The president's Social Security privatization proposal reminded many blue-collar and middle-class voters why they had once voted Democratic. Such voters did not trust the free market enough to agree to cuts in their benefits.
The increasing unpopularity of the war in Iraq has struck at the heart of Bush's appeal to the center.
Three strikes and you're out: The social-issue right can't help Bush if its support drives away too many moderates. Pro-business economics can't help if it drives away many in the middle class. And the war on terror doesn't help if Bush is seen as managing it badly.
It is customary in columns of this sort to say somewhere around now that the Democrats will need to come up with a plan, a message, a program, etc., etc. I'm all for such things. But in 1958, 1966 and 1978, the out party gained ground largely by exploiting the failures of the party in power and exacerbating the contradictions in its coalition. If the Democrats prosper in 2006, it will be because whatever program they come up with achieves those goals.


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