Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Where are the Ads?

John Hinderaker at Powerline had a private conversation yesterday with a “senior, elected Republican official.” During their talk, the GOP leader noted that Democrats, more than ever, are the party of special interests, as reflected by their perverse policy decisions. He offered several, often-cited examples:

* They want to destroy the secret ballot in union elections, the cornerstone of labor democracy. Why? Because they are owned by the unions.

* They allowed our ability to spy on terrorists to lapse for a period of time, thereby threatening our national security. Why? Because they are owned by the plaintiffs' lawyers who were determined to sue telecoms.

* They try to block energy production, even though they know that the effects on our economy will be disastrous. Why? Because they are owned by the Sierra Club and other "environmentalist" groups.

What Mr. Hinderaker finds surprising isn’t the fact that Democrats can be bought, but rather, their sustained treatment as the “home team of politics by essentially every reporter and editor in the business.”

We beg to disagree. When more that 80% of the national press corps pulls the lever for a Democrat during each presidential election, you can expect fawning coverage for the media’s favorite political party.

But there’s another elephant in the room (pun intended), that’s ignored by both John Hinderaker and that unnamed GOP official. Why haven’t Republicans mounted a more spirited challenge to these Democratic positions—and the special interests that support them. Some would argue that the GOP has done that; the recent FISA extension bill was a major victory for President Bush, crafted on his terms, not those of Democratic special interests.

However, the Democrats still dominated the public debate, depicting terrorist surveillance as “spying” on ordinary Americans. Recent opinion polls show that many voters still have misgivings about the program, despite proven success in identifying terrorists in our midst.

Each of the issues identified by the Republican leader positively cry out for a devastating TV ad campaigns, highlighting the dangers of these Democratic positions. Unfortunately, such ads are few and far between, even in an election year. And it’s not a shortage of cash; the RNC has more on hand than Howard Dean and the Democrats.

The real problem is a lack of political willpower. GOP leaders are unwilling to take on Democratic special interests with any consistency, fearing that some members of those groups will vote against them, or (worse yet) The New York Times might criticize them editorially. Memo to the GOP: Get over it, and get on with it. Those interest groups will never vote Republican in substantial numbers, and the Times won’t support you either.

Meanwhile, there are millions of voters who want Republicans to take a stand in favor of expanded energy production, lower taxes and winning the war on terrorism, among other issues. But effective counter punches on those issues have been relatively few and far between. One of the first rules of boxing (and politics) is the need to jab and counter-punch; in those areas, the GOP remains woefully inept.

That’s another reason that Tony Snow will be missed by the conservative rank-and-file. As presidential press secretary, Mr. Snow was an incredibly effective advocate for Bush Administration policies, and willing to take on the press corps in defending them. In many respects, Tony's daily briefings were the administration's most effective bully pulpit, and no one, repeat no one, has been able to duplicate his performance.

Will the next Tony Snow please step forward? Better yet, will someone tell the GOP that Barack Obama's flip-flops (and the Democrats' disastrous energy policies) represent political issues that are prime for exploitation, if the Republicans will rise to the occasion.

Appearing on Fox News last night, Dick Morris observed that "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less," was the first position the GOP had successfully articulated in the last four years. Such is the state of Republican leadership. With all due respect to Mr. Hinderaker's friend, the GOP would be better off trying to exploit political openings, and worrying less about the same old special interests that have controlled the Democratic party for decades.


davod said...

" Why haven’t Republicans mounted a more spirited challenge to these Democratic positions—and the special interests that support them."


RPB said...

probably because they are more fearful of democrats launching attacks on their special interests groups too. it'd get real nasty real quick and im not sure the republicans would come out on top given the media clout the liberals carry

Dave Rickey said...

I usually don't expose my leftist leanings here, but you realize that all three of those statements are to some degree a lie?

"Destroy the secret ballot in labor elections." No, they want to force employers to recognize unionization when 51% of their employees vote in favor of it, rather than being able to stiffarm them and pretend they aren't unionized until things get bad enough 99% have joined the union and they can stage a strike. That requires keeping track.

"Allowing the ability to spy on terrorists to lapse." No, they allowed the ability to *illegally* spy on whoever the administration wanted to lapse, because they wanted there to be some kind, *any* kind, of judicial review of the cause to believe they were actually terrorists (FISA was always in effect, and they could always go to the FISC). That's important, the telecoms demanded immunity because they broke the law, and knew it when they did it. Nobody, including the "trial lawyers" from the EFF and ACLU that are working the cases, actually cares about any potential civil judgement, it was always about exposing the illegal actions of the telecoms and administration, and protecting the rights that are supposed to be the focus of the Oath of Service.

"Block energy production." Have you thought through a few basic facts, like how it takes 5 to 10 years to bring an oil field into production, that the oil companies have millions of acres of leases they aren't exploiting, and that the drill ships it would take to work the coastal fields are booked solid for the next 5 years (so it would take that long to even *begin* opening those fields)? The reality is that we've hit "Peak Oil", and those fields may be worth far more *strategically* 20-30 years from now, as an internal source of oil, than their value for an extremely unlikely "psychological" effect on the markets in the short term (since you're assuming oil buyers, sellers, and speculators can't do that math). Even if they had all been opened 10 years ago, analysts say it wouldn't lower the price of gas now more than 25-50 cents a gallon. That's if any oil company would have been interested in that capital outlay back when crude was $20/barrel (they wouldn't, that's why they have all those idle leases).

The GOP leadership is lying to you. They've been lying to you for years, hitting your hot-buttons and knowing you'd stop questioning when they did. And you've been listening to them demonize the Democrats so long you don't even stop for a basic sanity check of what they're telling you.

I'm not saying the Democratic leadership or rank and file legislators and activists are angels. But you can at least *consider* the notion that some of their actions are dictated by reason and principle. I realize it's heresy to suggest that some of the GOP's actions are the result of being "owned" by various interests, so I won't make your head explode by pointing out which of those stands to gain from each of those lies.

Wanderlust said...

spook, I was surprised to not see something from you in regards to Senator Helms' recent passing; all the more so after having read this post. I am sure you will recall that Senator Helms began his career in radio, back in the early 1950's.

I have been wondering why Republicans seem to have put their nads away in a jar on some dusty shelf these days; living as if they are practically afraid of their own shadow, much less the NYT. Perhaps it's true that the Party of Reagan has slid back into the genteel, milquetoast ways of the Party of Ford. It's disgusting to watch, IMHO.

Contrast this current failure of the Republican Party to communicate or hold to their principles with that of Jesse Helms. He carefully differentiated between items that reflected his core principles and those that were his preferences. On the principles side, he never once backed down, in all the 30+ years of his Senate career. When the NYT and other papers castigated him, he took their scorn as a badge of honor, including reminding his staffers that no one who cared about him would care what the NYT had to say about him. And in all those years, not once did Helms besmirch his office with so much as any hint of scandal.

As for dave rickey's comments above, it's obvious to me that he neither understands the controversy surrounding the existence of FISA (including both Carter's and Clinton's choosing to ignore it when they wished), nor basic economics regarding futures pricing in the oil industry. If he understood economics, and tracked the fall of oil prices that occurs with every announcement of a major find (yes, dave, announcement, not commissioning or production), he might be encouraging his party of 9% to pull their heads out of their a$$e$ and drill. Now.

Unknown said...

Sorry to say that Dave Rickey is simply wrong. A lot of "information" is clearly liberal, socialist slanted. The business of the oil drilling is especially ridiculous.
I just watched a wild-catter state on tv, "We can bring in oil in under 4 months". The issue is so insanely obvious that it is amazing there is any kind of debate. We need to start bring in the oil beneath our feet, not the oil from around the other side of the globe.
and what nonsense about "illegal" spying on US citizens. Anyone who takes the time to look at the actual use of surveillance quickly realizes that it is a powerful tool for the protection of the society.
His comments sound precisely like the liberal media whining we hear daily.
finally, the GOP leadership is "lying" to us? Oh... and that wouldn't in any way apply to the annointed one, Barack Hussein Obama?

He ran as an outright socialist to get the nomination and has been lying ever since to seal up the election. The dems have been in control of the congress for two years and have accomplished absolutely nothing. Unless of course you count driving the approval rating of the congress down into the ground.
Turn this country over to a pampered elitest socialist with no practical experience whatsoever?
I pray every night that we don't do it.

Jumper said...

" A lot of 'information' is clearly liberal"