Not Even Retro Chic
I can think of any number of metaphors to describe this article and recent Democratic Party strategy memos (scroll about halfway down Sirota's page for the .pdf's).
Dropping the Ball--then Kicking it out of reach.
Missing the Wave/Wipe Out
Striking Out on Three Wild Pitches
It's Duck Season--Fire!
512K is Good Enough for Anyone
etc. etc. etc.
Onto the evidence:
"Americans' approval of President Bush's handling of Iraq is at its lowest level yet, according to an AP-Ipsos poll that also found fewer than half now think he's honest. . . .
"Approval of Bush's handling of Iraq, which had been hovering in the low- to mid-40s most of the year, dipped to 38 percent. . . .
"A solid majority still see Bush as a strong and likable leader, though the president's confidence is seen as arrogance by a growing number. . . .
"Bush's overall job approval was at 42 percent, with 55 percent disapproving. That's about where Bush's approval has been all summer but slightly lower than at the beginning of the year."...
Froomkin notes that dissatisfaction with Bush is based primarily on--you guessed it--Operation What-Dubya-Thinks-is-Steely-Resolve-Looks-to-the-Rest-of-Us-Like Pigheadedness--Particularly-When-Shrubelroy-Squints-His-Little-Pig-Eyes. I mean, duh--wingnutters can tangent off into ever higher soaring flights of fantasy when they insist the true cost of war was articulated back in 2002, but this is more a matter of collective airheadedness on their part than anything remotely resembling fact...and people who don't make keeping up with events their hobby are nonetheless more and more aware that the lemon of a war they were sold was packaged as the sleekest of sports cars.
Now that the sports car is demonstrating it's true colors--cheap fenders that dent too easily, "some rust," broken door handles, engine problems, electrical problems, exhaust problems--and parts take six weeks to get to the shop--it's not all that surprising they don't exactly have kind words for the salesman or the shop.
And yet, the competition, i.e., the Democratic Party, stubbornly refuses to take note of this dissatisfaction:
On the issue of the Iraq War, the disconnect between the Washington, D.C. Democratic Party establishment and political reality in America is growing by the day. Case in point is the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's attitude towards the tremendous special election run by Paul Hackett in the staunchly Republican Cincinnati suburbs.
Hackett, an Iraq War veteran, made headlines in the campaign for taking a strong position against the original decision to go to war in Iraq, even calling the President of the United States an SOB.
And while it's true, Hackett didn't support full withdrawal from Iraq, few would deny that his position opposing the war was a key part of his campaign.
Ultimately, the anti-war position defined his candidacy, and was the clear reason he was able to do so well in such a Republican district. That should be no surprise: polls have been telling us for months that America agrees with Hackett in believing going to war in Iraq was a mistake. Meanwhile, Americans' view of President Bush's handling of Iraq is at its lowest level ever.
Incredibly, however, in a memo sent to all Democratic House Members about what Democrats should learn from the Hackett race, the DCCC makes not one mention of the Iraq War and its effect on the election. Not one. It is as if the party is going out of its way to deny the importance of Democrats taking a strong position against the war, or making the war a serious issue in their campaigns.
WTF?!? Yes, it's true the heavy hitters on Team Donkey allowed themselves to be swept up on the Rove Tide--but geez, is it really all that hard to defend their vote? Sirota offers the following advice: "tell the truth, admit they were lied to, and acknowledge that they made a mistake."
I wouldn't even acknowledge the mistake (although I would never have voted for such an idiotic war)--the vote itself didn't force Dubya to war, it merely gave him an additional option when dealing with Saddam Hussein (an option, it turns out, he was dying to use--or maybe it's more accurate to say that he was willing to see others die). Hell, I don't think it's all that big of an issue anyway--from the beginning, this has been the neo-con war, and the neo-cons have haughtily dismissed anyone suggesting that it wouldn't necessarily be the cakewalk they thought it would be.
Now, with the war hanging around the collective neo-con necks like a fetid albatross, the Democrats want to CHANGE THE SUBJECT? Geez. If that's the strategem, then they might as well just pack it in and admit that their only concern is providing a modicum of opposition--window dressing (or, more appropriately, gravesite flowers) for a democracy that no longer exists.
All but THE most deluded can see the handwriting on the wall--and it's a lot of ugly crayon scratchings. The war is LOST--there's no magic formula for regaining any support among the Iraqi people, and without that support, the occupation forces simply can't function at their present size (the other option, increasing the size of the occupation force, is equally impossible without massive wingnut enlistment, and I think we know that ain't gonna happen). And the blame for this debacle rests squarely on the shoulders of one George W. Bush.
So, pin the blame on the tail of the pig--it fits.