The "party of ideas" readies for a smeargasbord
By Lee Russ
Tuesday, September 12, 2006 at 04:53 PM
Yes, our self-proclaimed "party of ideas" has just come up with two more good ones.First, they are planning a smorgasbord of smears--a smeargasbord, if you will. According to a piece by JIM VANDEHEI and CHRIS CILLIZZA (emphasis added)
Republicans plan to spend the vast majority of their sizable financial war chest in the final 60 days of the campaign attacking Democratic House and Senate candidates over personal issues and local controversies, GOP officials said.
The National Republican Congressional Committee, which this year dispatched a half-dozen operatives to comb through tax, court and other records looking for damaging information on Democratic candidates, plans to spend more than 90 percent of its $50 million-plus advertising budget on what officials described as negative ads.
The hope is that a vigorous effort to "define" opponents, in GOP operatives' parlance, can help Republicans shift the midterm debate away from Iraq and limit losses this fall. The first round of attacks includes an ad that labels a Democratic candidate in Wisconsin "Dr. Millionaire" and notes that he has sued 80 patients.
With polls showing the Republicans' House and Senate majorities in jeopardy, party strategists said their best chance to prevent big Democratic gains is a TV and direct-mail blitz aimed at raising enough questions about Democratic candidates that voters decide they are bad alternatives.
"When you run in an adverse political environment, you try to localize and personalize the race as much as you can," said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla.
In a memo released last week, Cole, who is running to succeed Reynolds at the NRCC, expanded on that strategy.
The memo recommended that vulnerable incumbents spend $20,000 on a research "package" to find damaging material about challengers. "Define your opponent immediately and unrelentingly," the memo said.
Republicans plan to hit Democratic candidates over their voting records, business dealings and legal tussles, the GOP officials said.
And this great new "idea" comes from the same place that spawns most GOP "ideas"--desperation to save and reward their own butts:
Republicans are alarmed by the large number of House and Senate incumbents trailing or tied in their internal polling. Many are attracting the support of less than 45 percent of likely voters -- a danger zone for any incumbent 60 days before an election.
Second, the one and only Mort Kondracke, one of Fox's less reliable "analysts," has now written a piece saying (emphasis added)
GOP officials acknowledge that the "environment is not favorable," but Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman nonetheless predicted flatly to me that his party will hold both the House and Senate.
"No. 1," he said, "the playing field is relatively narrow" with just 20 GOP open seats at risk. "Two, we are going to have more resources, and we're going to target them better. While it's true the Democrats have done very well at their Congressional committees, we will spend more than has ever been spent on House and Senate races and more than make up the difference."
Bush and Republicans also have lost support from self-identified independent voters, who split almost evenly in 2004. Now, independents disapprove of Bush's performance by a margin of 58 percent to 36 percent and plan to vote Democratic in November by 45 percent to 35 percent. Republicans must hope that this group does not show up at the polls.
The title of this masterpiece? Low turnout best GOP hope to hold Congress
Things are not likely to get better in this country politically until the people see through this crap. And people are not likely to see through this crap on a consistent basis until we do something about the amazingly pervasive propaganda machine that works night and day to convince ordinary people that up is sideways, down is evil, and gayness is next to devil worship. And we are not likely to get rid of that machine without sane, workable rules on fairness in broadcasting and campaign financing.
In other words, grab your boots and face away from the fan.