I understand the "woe, woe to us" calls in the left blogosphere of late. Obviously everyone's upset about the prospect of Alito on the Court, and are yelling and screaming that if the Dems don't get up and fight then they'll bolt to the Greens or withhold fundraising money or any number of other vindictive expressions of backlash.
But they're missing the point to an extent. The best way to stop Alito, and those of his ilk, are to win elections. And the Dems are not only well-positioned to do this, they're about to launch an frontal assault right at the beginning of the election cycle.
Do you know what's about to happen Wednesday? There are about 100 high-profile speeches and meetings scheduled, where prominent Democrats will, in a unified way, assail the culture of corruption, offer their own proposal to reform Washington, and promote their slate of candidates in 2006. This is right from the old Republican message management playbook, and Howard Dean is at the forefront of these efforts.
This is from today's LA Times,
and while it still portrays some of the bullshit media narrative (insinuating the ridiculous claim that Harry Reid is caught up somehow in the Abramoff scandal, for instance), try to ignore that and look at the content of what the Dems are about to do:
...Democrats have embraced the idea of reform with a degree of unity unseen in recent years on any other issue. The Democrats' rollout Wednesday will include speeches and news conferences nationwide involving Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and others. The coordination contrasts with Democratic congressional leaders' recent desire to distance themselves from Dean, who has a penchant for verbal gaffes. (ridiculous editorializing within the article -ed.)
On Capitol Hill, Reid and Pelosi will detail legislation calling for a ban on Congress members' acceptance of trips from corporate lobbyists and for a clamp-down on lobbyist gifts, including meals and entertainment.
In Ohio, Dean will deliver his address outside the office of Gov. Robert A. Taft, a Republican who is under fire for accepting golf outings and who is at the center of a scandal over $10 million in missing workers' compensation funds that had been invested in rare coins.
How fucking smart is that? Let's go right to the heart of Republican corruption in the swingiest of swing states and deliver a speech. This is especially resident because it's the home state of Bob Ney, the only Rep. mentioned in the Abramoff plea agreement. Framing the overarching narrative by connecting disparate events in the voter's minds: that's classic GOP strategy. Only we're doing it.
The Times got some excerpts of Dean's Wednesday speech:
In his Columbus speech Wednesday, Dean plans to say that "the Abramoff scandal is the tip of the iceberg," according to excerpts from his address provided to The Times.
Dean will argue that the Abramoff scandal is a specifically Republican embarrassment, kicking back at GOP assertions that Democrats share culpability. He will catalog ethical questions facing Republicans including Rove and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, who is under scrutiny for possible insider stock trades.
"The Republican culture of corruption must come to an end," he plans to tell his audience, a theme to be echoed by Pelosi and Reed in Washington and by leading Democrats in Minnesota, Montana, Utah and other states.
Yeah, Utah. The reddest state in the country in the last election, I believe, or close to it. It matches Harry Reid's forceful editorial comparing the GOP to the Mob, printed in Tom DeLay's hometown newspaper. The fact that the Democrats are blanketing the country with this message, leaving no local paper behind, is salient and fearless.
In addition, this is the smartest thing I've seen Democrats out of the Beltway come up with in years. Here's why they're doing this on a Wednesday:
Democratic Party strategists are also targeting Norquist and his Wednesday Meeting of activists, the center of the K Street Project.
The DNC plans to videotape participants as they enter and exit Norquist's downtown Washington office building. DNC Communications Director Karen Finney said the idea was to call attention to the project and to the ties between conservative movement leaders and Abramoff.
"We want to hold Norquist and the K Street Project accountable as well as Abramoff," Finney said.
That's fucking brilliant. It's very similar to something a Kossite did by installing a billboard
in front of the Wednesday meeting after Hurricane Katrina. The DNC is expanding on ideas from the netroots, and understanding the value of political stunts to raise awareness about what goes on in Washington. The fact that Kenny Boy Mehlman delivered a speech that the GOP will be the "party of reform" in 2006 AT Norquist's Wednesday meeting, attended by a parade of lobbyists and fundraisers, shows just how vulnerable they are on this issue.
The Democrats, at least in some small way, are starting to get their shit together. Maybe not on everything. But they understand that in this media landscape, you need to forcefully push a competing narrative into the public eye in order to gain any currency with the voters. If it carries an agenda, all the better. But the dirty secret is that framing your opponent WORKS. And that's what this media event is all about, and we're doing it all over the country, on the same day, with a unified and narrow-cast message.