Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Bush Jujitsu
Carpetbagger today has an item about Bush's latest smears against Democrats on national security during a series of recent campaign events. It's the usual bleating: weak-willed, passive, waiting to get hit again, and deedle-deedle-dee.

The blog has a laugh at Bush's growing irrelevance, measured by the lack of a Democratic response, which Carpetbagger thinks is a sign that the Dems don't consider Bush worth a response at this juncture. But I think he somewhat misses the point that when Bush makes these appearances--always Bubbled, of course, so he's just speaking to the faithful, with pre-canned and probably pre-queued applause lines--the real point isn't what he says, but what he does. What he did yesterday, in the course of making his dim remarks, was raise $400,000 for Richard Pombo, the thuggish Republican congressman from California. Later, he raised $600,000 for the Dickensian-named (and, of course, corrupt) Congressman John Doolittle, and still later he raised $1.3 million at an RNC event. The Pombo appearance triggered a protest of about 150 administration opponents, which merited a one-line mention in the Yahoo! story from which I drew this information.

What I want to know is why there isn't a mobile operation run either by the DNC or the two congressional campaign committees, or by an independent group, that shadows Bush when he makes these appearances, working with the campaigns on the ground. I see two big benefits from such an operation:

1) Use the heightened level of Democratic/progressive disgust at having the First Asshole in town to raise some coin for the local opponents of whoever is about to receive the Bush-generated largesse.

2) Conduct "War Room"-style rapid response to get our message into the local press and rebut the inevitable lies and half-truths that Bush's monkeys pen for him to spout.

Basically, such a rolling effort should provide support for the local candidates, who themselves can give the quotes and otherwise go on point as "standing up to the President." Given that majorities of all voters, including a large number of self-identifying conservatives, distrust Bush--and that progressives just loathe the guy--an aggressive pushback to his appearances will force those candidates he's supporting either to tie themselves to an unpopular president and all his perceived failures, or to disassociate themselves, which in turn will lessen their support from the RNC.

The Democrats have a rare opportunity to get maximum value out of Bush's unpopularity and can use the president himself to make their case of tying every Republican to this failed administration. Some campaigns on the ground have done this--but they all should be doing it.

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