In a political climate where the loudest, most brash assertions are often given
the most credence, it's easy to get knocked off track. What's really the truth is often lost amidst a torrent of spin, obfuscation and misdirection. Who's really who and what's really what disappear. Confusion reigns.
What's more, phony shows of strength have come to be synonymous with actually being
strong. Case in point: The Republican Party.
Never has a weaker group of abject failures succeeded more at being portrayed as possessing political strength. Never has a party been aided more by a servile media in appearing in charge and in control. Never has the case been further from the truth. And never have the stakes been higher.
It's an open secret that Karl Rove's
plan for the fall elections is to turn the Democrats' greatest strength - the Republican Party's massive incompetence and failure in Iraq - into its greatest weakness. Rove's tactics, which were already on display in his recent denunciations
of John Kerry and Jack Murtha, represent a shameful return to the petty politics of fear, smear, division and distraction. Rove's goal, accordingly, is to trick the Democrats into avoiding the war. If his plan works, he will have steered the Democratic Party away from their strongest selling point. And if it works, it will have done so built on a foundation of lies and panic.
More often than not, over-the-top shows of strength like this mask the fact that the displays are coming from places of absolute weakness. Such, of course, is the case here, as it's easy to recognize that the Republican Party is in full-on panic mode
. One day they're crowing over the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and the next they're mourning the brutal mutilation and murder
of two American soldiers. One day the president is dropping in on Iraq for an impromptu visit and the next he's using rhetoric that his closest advisers can't back up
. One day Republicans in the Senate are accusing the Democrats of not supporting the troops and the next they themselves are voting to support the torture, mutilation and murder
of our troops.
It got so bad for the Republicans that some have even resorted to trotting out already proven-wrong
claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Rick Santorum, down big in his re-election race and headed to near-certain defeat, breathlessly reported that we had, in fact, found WMD in Iraq. Too bad he was proven wrong nearly instantaneously. By the administration.
And you know it's bad when Santorum was embarrassed on live television by the likes of Alan Colmes, who surprisingly took a turn embarrassing someone other than himself or liberals for a change.
Of course, the Republicans have been getting a massive assist in Campaign Confusion 2006 by the Beltway media
, a group as out-of-touch with America as the Republican Party itself. Listening to the likes of Norah O'Donnell
this week has been a nauseating experience. Watching the Washington press corps largely try to salvage anything
from this nose-diving administration is an exercise in insanity. O'Donnell has spent the week on "Hardball" lobbing softball questions to Republican guests and accusing Democratic guests of nothing short of being terrorist-emboldening surrender advocates. Joining O'Donnell in buying into the right-wing spin have been several other reporters, who've made false assertions
about Americans' hesitation to support the Democrats' Iraq policy, specifically calls for phased redeployment.
But the complicit media, like the Republicans they're so dutifully protecting, are wrong. Dead wrong.
Contrary to what the O'Donnells of the world would have you believe, the polls aren't on the Republicans' side. They're on our side. More than two-thirds of Americans feel the nation is headed on the wrong track. Those polled recently by the Washington Post
are pessimistic in the policies Bush will pursue in the coming year and now trust Democrats over Republicans on each of the 10 issues pollsters queried. Specific to Iraq and the war on terror, a majority and plurality of Americans, respectively, support the Democrats. People are personally optimistic for their future but remain distrustful of the president and his party and are pessimistic for a Bush-led future.
What does this all mean? It means the facts are on our side. So, too, is the American sentiment, which may be more accurately described as being ahead
or our side, at least as far as elected Democrats go. Now isn't the time to buy into Rove's head fake, hook, like and sinker. It's the time to attack the Republicans. Attack them hard
. Exploit their
weaknesses. Exploit their
panic. Exploit their
failures. America has already made its mind up about this incompetent administration and its accomplices in Congress. The door is open and it's up to us to kick it in.
Congressional Democrats, there's nothing to fear but fear itself. Rove isn't a mastermind. He's a petty criminal and a walking national security threat. The Republicans' failures in Iraq are theirs and theirs alone
. America wants out of Iraq, sooner rather than later. They see through the right-wing rhetoric and are ready, willing and waiting for our next move. They're waiting to see Democratic leadership on the issues, especially this one, the most important issue of our time. They recognize that projecting strength isn't the same thing as actually being strong. But it's up to us to capitalize on the Republicans' weakness. The move is ours.