Thursday, November 17, 2005

Counterattacks, Dirty Tricks, and Hard Questions

The GOP has put out a new ad, attacking the Democrats for attacking Bush's handling of prewar intelligence. It uses quotes from high-profile Dems (Dean, the Clintons, Ted Kennedy, etc) favoring the removal of Saddam. On a purely visceral level, it's damn effective. It's dirty, but effective. The ad does a good job of making the Dems look stupid. That, combined with Bush's open assault on Democrats at his Veteran's Day speech, amounts to a major counterattack by the President and the GOP.

Bush can't really vindicate himself on the current status of the war in Iraq, or his handling of it, but the plan seems to be to diffuse the "Bush lied" argument (an argument I never supported- Bush didn't deliberately make up intel), and say that "hey, the Dems were wrong, too, and now they're trying to play politics, and it's hurting the troops."

The Democratic argument is that Bush had special intel that the Congress didn't have, and thus made the decision to invade based on that intel, and he went to war on flimsy grounds. The fact is, unless this is true (meaning Bush had more intel than Congress), the Democrats have a problem. They have to take a lot of the blame for giving the President the authority to go to war (if they're going to criticize the handling of prewar intel, or the case for war). It;s not fair to blame Bush for esentially coming to the same conclusions that a lot of other Democrats did. However, it's entirely legitimate to criticize the conduct of the war, and considering the mistakes made and still not owned up to, even pro-war hawks like myself ought to expect that. Of course, this should lead to actual results-meaning that it should help us win in Iraq, and not just bash Bush.

That being said, this won't really help Bush gain support for Iraq. The CIA-leak case is a bog problem whether you supported the war or not. But, this will hurt Democrats, unless they can come up with a consistent alternative to Bush's approach, that hopefully doesn't involve artifical timetables for withdrawal. And hopefully Bush will seriously consider coming to terms with the reality in Iraq, that hopefully goes beyond the "stay the course" mantra we've all become accustomed to hearing.

Also, in another dirty ad from the far-right side of the aisle comes a particularly nasty ad in support of Judge Alito. This ad is standard form in the crusade against "activist judges," so I'm not surprised. To be fair, the pro-choice group NARAL did put out that vicious ad attacking Chief Justice Roberts, but all that shows it that both sides can play dirty.

Although the right seems to do it a helluva lot more often.

hat tip: Ann Althouse

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