Monday, October 03, 2005

The Stealth Candidate and Blog-Fouled Powder

Well, gee, this was predictable. The Democrats have been blathering on and on and on about "keeping their powder dry" in accepting Roberts as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (I still can't get over that- what job is more important?) and now have, as their target Harriet Meiers...

...a woman who, by all accounts, impossible to get a read of because she's a loyalist who's done precious little to deserve this weighty post. As a politico, she has no public positions that can be used for or against her, meaning that Bush can essentially invent her background and positions at will. She can be all things to all people: he can insist that she's "moderate and qualified" to the Dems seeking to criticize, while heading under the radar to tell the red meat crowd that she's one of them.

(That she's the second nominee suggests that she's almost certainly the latter; Bush loyalists are not, on the whole, known for liberalism.)

So now what the hell are the Dems supposed to do? They have all this dry powder, but they have no targets to fire at. At best, they can nail her for being a loyalist and being underqualified, but the Republicans can just haul out Rehnquist's background and be done with the latter; the former is a vapourous target even in these post-Katrina times, as the President can just say that she's loyal due to good judgement or shared beliefs or whatever other twaddle he and his handlers can conjure up.

In the end, though, it's the Democrats that are to blame for this. They (and, yes, their aligned bloggers) have been prattling on and on about their strategy for all to see and hear, and don't expect the Republicans to exploit that?

Hopefully they've learned that even if they're engaged in a political strategy, they should shut the hell up about it, and dress it up their political strategies in the same ideological and policy-based clothes that the Republicans so carefully maintain and lovingly employ.

In turn, talking about partisan strategy on the fucking Internet is an idea that I'm starting to wonder was a bad one in the first place. I'm not a Democratic strategist. Neither is Matthew Yglesias. Nor is Josh Marshall. Nor is Atrios. Nor is Kos. To the extent that strategy should be discussed, it should be discussed in private, not on a blog with every Freeper taking notes. I'm not saying that it should be verboten entirely, but that liberal bloggers stop acting like they're all Democratic strategists and start actually stating real opinions about real issues like real people. The real Democratic strategists need to shut the hell up and do their job.

I'm not attacking analysis. Analysis is fine and good; Jack Balkin's analysis of Miers was an excellent resource that I'm happy to link to. What I'm dissatisfied with is this increasing tendency to play the media's game of focusing on the game. Politics isn't a game, and it isn't a war, and it's not all about what you'd do if you were the Democratic Karl Rove. it's about people, and power, and how said power is best used to help said people.

And we can start by ending this stupid habit of attacking passion in the name of strategy. Mass protest has a long and storied history of accomplishing change that pisses off conservatives. That's why they attack and mock it, Matthew et al, and that's why it's wrong to do conservatives's job for them.

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